The head of one of Earth's most valuable companies will be joining the First Lady at Tuesday's State of the Union address. But his star may be outshined by the one on Bobak Ferdowsi's head.
On Monday afternoon Bloomberg News confirmed reports from the San Jose Mercury News that the Obama administration invited both Apple CEO Tim Cook and systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi, popularly known as NASA's "Mohawk Guy," to join Michelle Obama in watching the president's annual address to Congress.
If Barack Obama's Reddit AMA didn't fully establish the the president's technology cred, these two guests might do the trick. Cook, who announced in December that Apple would be making some computers in the United States, might be trotted out as an example of a tech executive investing in American manufacturing. Ferdowsi, who became Internet-famous for his winning looks and hairdo during the Mars Curiosity mission, might be a stand-in for the success of the space agency as a whole.
Obama has a few other tech initiatives that might be easier to address with Cook and Ferdowsi in the audience. On Monday, Bloomberg News reported that Obama is preparing to issue an executive order setting up a voluntary program that companies (like Apple) can join to meet cybersecurity standards. In addition, Obama recently endorsed the creation of a special class of visas for foreign-born entrepreneurs. HuffPost has chronicled the trouble some tech startup founders have trying to stay in the U.S. because of their immigration status.
Clues can also be gleaned from last year's State of the Union, when the First Lady sat next to Laurene Powell Jobs. Referring to her and her late husband, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Obama said "an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country," according to Apple Insider. He went on to cite equal pay and support for "every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs" as necessary for a strong economy. Laurene Powell Jobs returned the favor, donating exclusively to several Democrats (including Obama) during the 2012 elections.