Former Microsoft CEO Launches New Tool For Finding Government Data

This Tax Day, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer launched a new tool designed to make government spending and revenue more accessible to the average citizen.

The website — USAFacts.org — has been slow and buggy for users on Tuesday, apparently due to the level of traffic. It offers interactive graphics showing data on revenue, spending, demographics and program missions.

For example, the site prominently features an infographic created to break down revenue and spending in 2014. Revenue is broken down by origin; spending is broken down by what “mission” of government it serves, based on the functions laid out in the Constitution.

It’s a big-picture view of where U.S. tax dollars come from, and how they’re spent. But click on a subcategory and you’re taken to a more detailed, granular view of that spending.

Ballmer didn’t create the site because he was an expert on government data. Quite the opposite, according to The New York Times’ Dealbook.

The Times says that Ballmer’s wife was pushing her newly-retired husband to get more involved in philanthropy. Ballmer said — according to his own memory, as he described the conversation to the Times — “But come on, doesn’t the government take care of the poor, the sick, the old?”

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Secrets To Success: How Supply Chain Services Tripled Its Business

Five years ago, Chip Emery, a retired big-business CEO, bought a small-time, 8-year-old reseller startup, Supply Chain Services.

At the time, the bar-coding VAR was profitable, with $9 million a year in revenue, but Emery, the owner and CEO of the company, simplified the business. Five years later, the company has just come off its most profitable year in its history, pulling in $25 million in revenue, and is set to make an additional $30 million this year.

So what radical changes did he make to drastically grow the company? Well, as Emery said, it was really quite simple. He just had the company focus on what it did well.

“One thing that we did when I bought it was to focus on where our expertise is,” Emery said.

“I learned very quickly that our expertise was in warehouse, distribution and manufacturing, so I made the leap of faith and decided, ‘Why don’t we focus on what we know and stop talking about selling to hospitals and municipal government, and point-of-sale equipment in the retail world, and health care? Let’s just stop all that stuff.”

Emery had the Minneapolis-based company focus its energy on just three major markets, as he said you can only do two or three things really well at the same time. If you try to take on more than that, you’re taking on too much, he said.

Read more at Secrets To Success: How Supply Chain Services Tripled Its Business

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