Thursday, May 20, 2021
John Paul Farmer '97 is the chief technology officer of New York City. Upon his appointment to the role by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2019, Farmer said, “As CTO, I will work to ensure that technology and innovation benefit all New Yorkers, in every borough, from every walk of life. Simply put, we’re going to solve problems.”
Farmer received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his MBA from Columbia University in 2004. Prior to working for NYC, he worked for five years as Microsoft’s director of technology and civic innovation. In this role, he and his team established the company as a leader in the growing field of civic and urban technology through cross-sector partnerships and new product development.
Farmer served as senior advisor for innovation in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama, where he was responsible for the portfolio of technology-based reforms and improvements to government operations, including co-creating and leading the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.
He also founded the Innovation Project, a nonprofit with the mission of spreading innovation, and has taught at Columbia University as an adjunct professor. Early in his career, Farmer played shortstop in the minor leagues for the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
In his Breakfast at Blake presentation, "Behind the Scenes, Technology in the Big Apple and Beyond," Farmer discussed how Blake prepared him for his varied career and how it influenced his life’s decisions. Additionally, he shared how his role as senior advisor for innovation in the Obama White House and now as chief technology officer of NYC affect education and opportunity in the Big Apple and what that means for young people across the city. He also revealed some surprising facts about technology in a large metropolitan city and how critical it has become to daily life.