Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been quietly working on a project that he describes as a “10-K for government,” a reference to the annual filing that public companies make with the Securities & Exchange Commission, chock-full of data for investors to evaluate the performance of businesses.
Ballmer’s interest in applying the same approach to government is one of the tidbits in a great interview by Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff with the excitable L.A. Clippers owner, optimistic Twitter investor, and rabble-rousing Microsoft shareholder. Ballmer dishes on his life as an NBA owner, his relationship with Mark Cuban, his thoughts on what Satya Nadella is doing with Microsoft, his belief in Twitter’s potential, his interest in angel investing, stake in a sports-tech company, his post-Microsoft life, and more.
Asked by Rosoff about the “10-K for government” idea, Ballmer says he has been working on the project almost since the time he left Microsoft, first on his own and now with a group of people, and they’re developing a website with additional data.
“It’s mostly an exercise that I find might be thought-provoking,” he says in the interview. “Right now I’m pretty fired up and there’s some interesting stuff in there.”
“It actually turns out to be much harder to really understand government across state local and federal. … But if you were CEO for a day at the government, would you have tools and reports and wherewithal to look at government the way a business would look at its lines of business, its spending, its revenue?”
Ballmer stops short of calling the project a startup or a company, noting that it doesn’t have a name. However, a quick check of Washington state corporations filings shows an LLC under his name called “PolPat,” first registered in November 2014, with a mailing address in Bellevue, Wash. One former Microsoft corporate finance executive, Brandt Vaughan, lists himself as CFO of that organization on his LinkedIn profile.