Ballmer may not have been Microsoft’s most popular CEO, but that hasn’t stopped him from staying invested in business. Ballmer has a stake in Twitter and owns the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.
However, his next project is a little more unexpected, and perhaps much needed. USAFacts plans to present government spending data in a way that the layman can understand.
According to The New York Times, Ballmer has spent over three years and shelled out $10 million on the project. He’s joined by a team of Seattle-based researchers and some from the University of Pennsylvania, to which he gave a grant.
10-K For Government
The project will shed light on where the budget goes, and where it comes from. Ballmer describes it as a “10-K for government”. The website also ties in information like crime statistics, mental health rates, and more.
“I would like citizens to be able to use this to form intelligent opinions,” Mr. Ballmer said. “People can disagree about what to do — I’m not going to tell people what to do.”
According to Ballmer, it’s essential that citizens can view federal, state, and local data together. “I don’t care whether I give my money to A, B or C. I just want to know how it lands, how it impacts what’s going on,” he explains.
It’s clear that this project is something that lies close to Ballmer’s personal interests, rather than being a business venture. The former CEO says he’s willing to fund the website personally even if it costs him millions a year.
Despite this, the website is designed to be apolitical. Ballmer sees it as a resource for both sides and has given money to candidates of both parties. The data comes only from government data, not from any outside sources.
This means that some data had to be omitted. For example, the government isn’t allowed to report the number of firearms manufactured. However, Ballmer hopes that by opening the website, companies and researchers can take the data and tie it their own reports.
The website is currently available in beta. You can view the data yourself here.