It's January 2017, a new president has been sworn into office, and, newly retired from public service, Barack Obama is enjoying his well-earned time out of the public eye by going to work in Silicon Valley. Sound crazy? Maybe. However, as the New York Times suggests, maybe not.
Silicon Valley has been the next step for many high-profile politicos in recent years — think Eric Holder, David Plouffe, Jay Carney, Dan Pfeiffer, and Lisa Jackson — and the paper of record thinks that Obama may follow suit. This isn't just idle chin scratching either, as many in the tech world see the move as a real possiblity.
“I would be surprised if he did not spend a significant amount of his post-presidency time and effort connecting the resources and ideas and capabilities that he has learned about in Silicon Valley with the kinds of causes that he will choose,” LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman told the paper.
And, hungry for political influence, you better believe the Valley would have him. “We’d happily hire him,” Y Combinator's Sam Altman told the Times. Altman, of course, has recently had a mini scandal involving his support for Donald Trump-backer Peter Thiel — something that would likely be quickly forgotten if he managed to bring President Obama on as an advisor.
AOL co-founder Steve Case was a little more cautious in his prediction, but he sees President Obama becoming a player in the tech scene as more than wishful thinking. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that was one of the key focus areas for him post-presidency,” Case observed.
As for Obama himself? Some early signs suggest that he may actually be interested. He just guest-edited an issue of Wired, for example, in which he asked Silicon Valley to address issues of inequality. Why be content to just ask, when in the future he could tackle those issues himself from within?
Whatever he decides to do post-presidency, with the end of his final term fast approaching, Obama 2.0 isn't that far off.