The New Industrialists – Datacenters and Rebuilding the Economy

Driving that final spike in the Transcontinental Railroad.

Driving that final spike in the Transcontinental Railroad.

I had a great conversation last week with one of my direct reports and our CEO.  As those of you who know me well, you understand that I am a traditional capitalist.  I understand the depths of industrial risk and expansion that helped build the US economy into a powerhouse.  And I understand the opposite.  What Ayn Rand accurately named “moochers” in Atlas Shrugged.  Those so called industrialists that failed to take on the challenge of building their dreams, on their own dime, assenting to their own risk and rather relying on a system of ties to the public sphere to shield themselves from risk and pass it along to an unknowing public.

In our conversations we discussed some of the great industrialists in history and some of the incredibly gutsy moves they made to build industries.  Whether in literature developing a new steel alloy despite the risks or in reality challenging different modes of electricity distribution or pushing forward into the cloud before anyone said it was wise.

I have in my bones the DNA of a builder.  And I am thrilled to have the ability to tap into those roots once again in my new role at Digital Realty.  But as I explained during the discussions it is much more than that to me.  It is an opportunity to rebuild our economy.  Not just in the US, but the global economy.  In ways reminiscent of the railroad builders of old.  Or those who built the US Interstate system.  Or the Panama canal.  Or buried cable across the oceans.

You see, data is the currency of this century.  But it lays upon a foundation that is not sustainable.  Enterprises that continue to build their own datacenters are burning the capital that their sales teams generate.   While the value of data is now top of mind to every CEO, COO and CFO, that value is being eaten by inefficient deployment of capital to build, operate and maintain the datacenters that support the workload.

There has arisen a new industry that eliminates that waste.  Datacenter providers can manage capital more efficiently, rabidly consolidate their supply chain, invest in new and cutting edge technologies, focus on opex maximizing PUE efficiency and deploy new technologies with speed that mirrors the new time to market requirements globally.

But its more than the elimination of waste.  The creation of multitenant datacenters by companies like ours opens up new construction projects in areas of cities that often lay dormant.  Creating family sustaining, pension building, building trade jobs.  From Sheet Metal to Carpentry, from Bricklayers to Operating Engineers, all will benefit from continued reliance on these companies to build in areas in need of development bringing construction, and then clean datacenter, jobs to the area.

And so there we are.  A grouping of companies sitting at this generations version of the birth of the Overland Route.  Creating a new pathway for the commerce of the day.  An efficient route for data to flow, in high performance datacenters, without waste and overhead holding back hiring in enterprises.  The risk is ours to take in building out this future.

Lets drive that final railroad spike!

Related posts:

Not Cloud First, Cloud Now: Stand up and Fight for Citizens #gov20 #opengov #abouttime

Not Cloud First, Cloud Now #gov20 #opengov

Not Cloud First, Cloud Now #gov20 #opengov

IDC recently released a study that resulted in interesting coverage from GigaOm.  They found that the folks in government that could benefit most from cloud computing are actual those with the highest degree of resistance – local governments.  States were not far behind.  This release happens at the same time that the Federal Government is staring down a fiscal cliff that promises to reinstitute a deep recession that will damage our economy for years to come but also will result in significant service shortages throughout the country for those who can afford such delinquency the least.

I have been preaching about the cloud for years.  And for multiple vendors.  As well as inside government as a Chief Information Officer.  I have met all the resistance from security to privacy to job elimination to control.  The excuses have gone on and on for years.  But this past few years, the game has become very real.  And not just within IT.  The pain is being felt, in terms of budget pressures, at every level and layer of government.  The missions that folks were trying to protect are now simply under fatal assault as they moved too slowly to adopt more efficient technology to accomplish their goals.  The time is certainly upon us, to demand an end to governments paying for hardened silos, underutilized infrastructure, poor security, massive data center expenses and an operational budget that is embarrassing.

The data is screaming for us to do this now.  The report above from GigaOm is joined by the now infamous Forbes article showing $12B that could be saved in the Federal Government (enough to fund NASA), or Winvale’s piece showing that DoD could save $37B with the cloud, TechAmerica showing that all government could save between 25% and 50 %.  Or the Brookings Institute showing that the savings could range from 37% to 99%.

At the same time all layers of government are facing huge budget shortfalls.  In their current accounts alone, States are seeing budget shortfalls across the country from .8% in Virginia ($145M) to nevada with a 36.2% shortfall ($1.2B).  On a pure dollar basis, California is topping the bunch with over $15B in gap to makeup.

According to Deltek, the State of Florida will spend nearly $900M on Information technology in FY13 and is facing a budget shortfall of over $1B.  On the conservative side, if they could save 50% they would nearly cut the shortfall in half.  What could they save?

The proposed and actual budget cuts were deep.  Here are some examples.  $300M was cut from the University System.  The Florida Clerks of Courts were cut by $31M and the eligibility age for state sponsored tuition for foster care students was proposed to be lowered to save $11M.  Budget cuts have also caused a $4M shortfall to cover Floridas Infectious Disease Control Efforts (while TB was on the rise).

Those are just SOME of the examples in one state.  And remember the potential savings would top $450M! The suffering that is being felt, across government, and more importantly by citizens not being served, is now a much deeper one.  The objections that have masked other intentions simply cannot stand.  The protection of favorite vendors that create and sustain this unfair budget situation must end.  Those advocating for a move to the cloud need to embrace the comparison of objections to these cuts in citizen service, environmental protections, educational attainment and economic growth.

All levels of government have a set of secure tools, across multiple vendors, providing incredible potential, huge flexipbility and the budget savings that budget directors need.  And that citizens are dying to have.

It can no longer be just cloud first, it must be cloud now!

Related posts:

Why the NY Times is wrong on #datacenters, especially in consideration of #gov20

NY Times Article on Datacenters Misses Huge Points - #gov20

NY Times Article on Datacenters Misses Huge Points – #gov20

It almost seems like piling on to attack the NY Times assessment of datacenters and their impact on society at this point.  When Forbes, InformationWeek, GigaOM, Wired and tons of other publications point out the weakness in the Times article, why add fuel to the fire?  Because they are missing an enormous piece.

You see data taken as a point in time always misses a vitally important context, movement.  If you take a point in time of the National Debt during the Clinton Administration, the number in abstract seemed shocking, but the trend was positive back then, eliminating deficits and targeting debt reduction.  If you looked at crime statistics in NYC near the start of the Giuliani era, the raw numbers looked bad, but the trend was positive after implementation of the “broken windows” policy.  Similarly, looking at datacenter energy consumption without context (not even going into the 2006-era data that was used), is not only a bad idea, but it paints the industry in such a light that true progress, continued progress, is threatened by the very piece that was penned presumably to move this industry forward.

I will not point out the logical fallacies, old data, cherry picked information to provide the allure of depth issues with the Times piece, but I will point to a vitally important piece that is not covered as deeply as needed and provide a bit of color from my career which can provide some insight into the progress the data center industry has made and how ill-timed and wrong-minded the Times piece is.

The Industry Cares about PUE (and you)

I was actually a bit shocked that the treatment of energy use in data centers seemed to completely avoid the industry’s use of standard measures to help improve utilization.  The industry itself, without help from the NY Times or local, regional or national governments got together to develop metrics that would allow them to better control data center power consumption.  They developed the PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) and DCiE (Data Center infrastructure Efficiency) its reciprocal.  I want to stress that reliance on these measures is not sufficient to cover advances in energy utilization.  As with all metrics, this should be utilized as a way to engage in a conversation of efficiency not a simple target to be accomplished.

That being said, the industry’s embrace of PUE is an indicator of something very powerful.  And that is competitive advantage.  The data center industry has embraced the outcomes of decreased PUE, and more important holistic energy use control, as a competitive differentiator inside a highly competitive marketplace.  There is nothing more powerful in society than a highly competitive marketplace, targeting a measurable output, to put powerful pressure on that metric moving forward.  It is one thing for an industry to try to avoid bad press, negative consumer sentiment or regulation.  But for those of us who have worked in these environments, there is nothing like a smart, agile competitor working to put you out of business to motivate your company to provide better energy utilization across the board.  Bottom, and top, line control is vitally tied to decreased PUE in this industry as other competitive advantages are sometimes more difficult to land in a customer.  Therefore, over the past few years, this industry all by itself has been motivated not simply out of benevolence  but out of self preservation and competition to address the problems discussed in the Times articles.

And how have they done?  Overwhelmingly well.  Over at DataCenter Knowledge you can read about incredible advances in PUE ratings that were also coupled with build-out costs that were MORE efficient than previous efforts.  I know that the scuttle can be about folks misrepresenting the metric and greenwashing things, but understand that this effort lies within an industry that is self motivated by competitive advantage to provide its customers with real, reliable and true data on energy use.  And data that is easily proven once the data centers are commissioned and complete.  The market will resolve to the most efficient use regardless of pressure from the press.

And unlike reporters, I speak from direct knowledge.  As CIO for the State of Wisconsin I worked to authorize and build an enterprise class, Tier III data center for our state government.  I was subject to PUE claims from all types of vendors.  I saw it from our design/build firms, our PDU vendors, arguments from competing hardware vendors, and conversations with our utilities.  We did not build this in a right-leaning anti-green location.  We built it iin Madison, Wisconsin.  Arguably one of the greenest cities in North America.  And competition allowed us to select for energy conservation and to position ourselves better than we were before.

The Largest Movement is to Come (Government)

Which leads me to my final point.  Since working for Governor Doyle as his CIO, I have worked for a few places with an incredible impact on Datacenters, one of which was the center of the second Times article.  I was lucky enough to have worked for Microsoft as their GM for Worldwide Government, and currently work as SVP in Salesforce.com’s Public Sector group.  I have seen firsthand how the bifurcated data center market cares directly about energy usage and despite the challenges hurled at each in the Times article, I need to testify in defense of the customer side of data center practice.

I worked globally to push utilization of the public cloud at both companies.  I was, and continue to be, impressed at how seriously each takes PUE and more advanced metrics in terms of energy use.  Both companies press hard on their data center providers, both internal and external, to control energy utilization.  First as an effort to control costs, but more importantly, as outlined above, as a competitive differentiator.  I was part of multiple efforts to push for better PUE in order to leverage the data in an effort to more effectively move the market from internal on-premise data utilization to cloud based usage (including working directly with Microsoft’s first Chief Environmental Architect).  A trend that allows for incredible scale and more pronounced positive effect on PUE than any other shift.  As client companies decommission their internal data centers and push them to optimized and optimizing cloud based data centers, PUE is dramatically reduced across the entire data center universe.  And it is pushed by competition, not external pressure.  The more these efforts are embraced, and the benefits of multi-tenant cloud services are substituted, the more you will see all of us utilize data more efficiently.  Especially when you consider the rising number of cloud based startups that are able to take advantage of their larger predecessors like Salesforce that have made cleaner, lower-PUE data centers available due to their anchoring effect on the market.

You see, the Times data was point data.  Seemingly shocking.  But did not take into account where IT load was TAKEN from.  From inefficient “data centers” like the Facebook closet referenced in the first article.  From unvirtualized environments stacking up 20% utilization rates.  From siloed departments within one company being leveraged into an enterprise class data center to serve the global efforts of that same comapny.  You see, the movement has been away from those inefficient structures into highly efficient, and competitive, structures that place incredible downward pressure on things like PUE, and even better holistic measures, moving forward.

And the huge risk of demonizing the data center community right now, is the big domino has yet to fall completely.  The government space worldwide accounts for an unprecedented amount of compute capacity and data storage.  I know, I managed it.  If the efforts of this brave community are set out as demons, the pressure will resolve and advancement stalled at the worst possible time.  As the governments of the world currently stand ready to make an unprecedented shift to cloud computing, now we must highlight the good work, reward those pushing harder and make the case that the governments of the world need to shift their compute methodology to take advantage of not just the incredible costs savings evident in cloud computing and consolidated data centers, but to also embrace a much more positive effect on the environment as we start to shift more fully into a data consumer based society.

My friends in the Central Governments and Local and Regional Governments of the world often talk about their efforts as anchor tenants in the future.  They have scale unheard of and they have the possibility of pushing further an industry that has done incredible things in five short years to improved upon energy efficiency in data centers across the globe.  I hope that the onslaught of press coverage unearthing the challenges to the Times article continue to embolden the data center industry to continue its pursuit of energy efficiency with the competitive advantage argument propelling them forward despite the efforts to introduce unneeded external pressure upon them.

Related posts:

Fiscal Cliffs, Date Night and the Greater Fools – Uniting America

Rise Up.  Own this. Look for your Leader in the Mirror.

Rise Up. Own this. Look for your Leader in the Mirror.

I love my country.

A simple statement.  Overused across the board, devoid of meaning in most contexts and yet, loaded to the hilt right now.  At this point in time, before the 2012 Presidential Election, my love of country, our love of country, calls upon us to unite despite the calls all around us to divide and descend into a political black hole.

It is an amazing time to be an American.  From the standpoint of political infrastructure we are staring at the abyss, right now.  We are pushing on the walls and constraints of political discourse in ways that will resolve either in an incredible new experiment in democracy or the destruction of hegemony, devolution into disarray and a long walk through barren lands to hopefully return to a country slightly resembling the America our parents and grandparents built.  Sound overly dramatic? Stay with me.

Fiscal Cliffs

I watched during 2011 as revolutionaries took over control of parts of Congress and the minds of one of our parties.  I literally watched it unfold in my home state of Wisconsin which was undergoing a change that no political pundit would have predicted.  In the land that literally gave birth to AFSCME, public sector unions were on the road to being abolished, normally a “third rail” in Wisconsin politics.  In that context, national political leaders decided to start testing other “third rails”.  The “debate” over the debt ceiling in 2011 was a test of what was possible in terms of touching lightening and living.  And it happened.  The GOP threatened, at the behest of Tea Party leaders, to not authorize raising the debt ceiling as Republican and Democratic Administrations had done for decades.  For this faction, it was simple political calculus.  To “win”, they must capture the attention of the world.  Much as fringe elements worldwide do when they hijack planes, invade olympics or pull our citizens into dark places in Tehran, this fringe held our economy hostage.  Pointed a gun at our head.  Pulled the trigger and prayed, to test our resolve.

The Democratic Party utterly failed to respond.  In Wisconsin, in Washington DC, across the country.  Due to decades of living with the existence of “third rails”, the Democrats simply lost their sharpness in the debate.  The Democratic Party did not have the organization, willpower or resolve to take on the tough issue directly.  By failing to take the threat seriously, the Democrats failed not just the country, but the global economy.  This party was just as culpable in the situation that they might as well as pulled that trigger themselves.

But that lack of sharpness in defending recessionary government spending, Healthcare Reform, or Medicare, or Social Security, out of fear, threatened a much more devastating outcome.  By not having an organized citizen based backing to demonstrate support for a sane fiscal positioning, we, together, drove the country toward collapse (and really only took our finger off the trigger with sequestration now facing the country).

As I will get to, because we lacked an understanding of why I love my country, and why we all do, we are now approaching that gun again with our finger at the trigger.  The fiscal cliff is no joke.  At the worst possible time in the midst of this recovery, our politicians are staring down a barrel.  While we discuss “legitimate rape” on one side and birth certificates on the other, the only areas of concrete and productive spending will be at complete risk.  On all sides.  Citizens in need will suffer, our national defense will suffer and our economy will take a self inflicted shot to the head.  Unless we rise.

Date Night

In the midst of all of this controversy life goes on.  In America, as in all of the countries I have visited in my career, we continue to turn inward to our family.  For us, it is a weekly ritual for my wife and I to go to dinner, sometimes a movie or a show, or just a drive around our great city.  We did that this week again as I figure many american households did at the same time.  But we didnt make it to a movie.

Because of some books each of us are reading (some at the behest of my incredible 13 year old daughter) we started talking about America.  Whether we should aim to be the most powerful country in the world.  Whether we should have healthcare or education or a job as a right.  Whether a strong defense is the only path to peace.  The outcome of each of these debates was interesting but far more interesting was the conversation over what is it that still makes us uniquely American.  As a country.  And if there still was the unique American, what is it that is killing her and what is it that would save her.

It was an incredibly emotional conversation.  Are we really what the polls say we are?  Are we split hopelessly down the middle?  Do our republican friends really believe what they say?  Do our Democratic friends understand their arguments?  What issues bind us?  What issues drive us apart?  And who are pulling all those levers?

I admitted, as a lifelong political ally in some circles, to having lived out the problem.  And I consider some of my closest friends as continuing to live out the challenges.  I am responsible for parts of this problem.  After much reflection we settled on a simple position that captures the essence of the poisonous current discourse.

Our political world is tilted toward “winning” elections and not creating and sustaining “states”.

It has been part of my career to advise politicians on how to “win” elections.  I am actually pretty good at it.  As are my friends.  And we can understand why a faction in the political right would suggest and embrace the debt ceiling strategy, to win.  Why it makes sense to highlight a misstep of words to characterize the other party as waging a war on women, to win.  Why it is OK to suggest killing Medicare as we know it and at the same time tell the world publicly that your intention is to save the system, to win.  Why a campaign would attack Solyndra as a waste of money while understanding deeply the need to invest in risky startups to embrace and push forward new industries, to win.  We do, and argue for, these positions because, quite simply, it is how you “win” elections.  My job wasn’t to govern, but to win.  And that, is the crux of the problem.

But the answer isn’t far from us.  The examples, as my wife and I discussed, are manyfold.  Men and women who have bucked the current system, focused on building a state that works, caring for the craft, identifying and supporting truth speakers and making hard choices about a sustainable way forward and then to work ACROSS divides to unite us as a country in funding those priorities.  Our table talk surrounded who could rise to meet this challenge?  Marco Rubio?  Chris Christie?  John Huntsman? Hilarie Clinton?  Barack Obama?  Mitt Romney?

Our conclusion?  None of them.  What is required of folks to rise and succeed in the current political world is inconsistent with what is needed to change it.  The political and corporate leaders we each know well, lack the ability to craft a state.

But, we decided, each of us has that ability.  To rise up where we are, not look outside for some white knight to come in and save the day.  That the answer was to tap into our cross-party identity to activate in our own world. To advocate for our american family inside our childrens schools.  To advocate and forward those priorities where we work.  To agitate within our local city councils and neighborhoods to demand the type of civics that are suitable to be called American.  Not everyone has the unique set of experiences to allow them to become president, but each of us has the unique capability to take back our country from a poisonous discourse, by talking again to our neighbors, advocating for our neighbors and our own needs and ignoring the constant buzz of national politics.

So with the problems identified (“Winning” over “Statebuilding”) and a focus on the solutions needed (local leadership replacing national politics) the question remained whether there was this unique thing called America, that bound us together.  There was.

Through our conversations last night we uncovered volumes of cases when America showed her true colors repeatedly.  From individuals we knew that quietly supported folks who suffered unnecessarily, to examples from our own lives.  In Law School my house burned down.  We were a bit unsure what to do and where to turn and, to our surprise, our community came to support us.  With food, clothes, offers of shelter, anonymous donations of money, support from my school, from churches, from non-profits and others. When injustice happens in America, none of us bring our political convention badges.  We bring our soul.  Look at the outpouring of support for Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin this year as examples.  There were not Democrats and Republicans at the vigils, there were Americans.

And while I have given countless speeches about it, the most powerful example of this was, and is, 9/11.  I was in the towers weeks before they came down. I have and had myriads of friends who work on that beloved island.  And what I loved, in the midst of our darkest despair, is the way we came together in that week as Americans without political cover.  We all flew our flags, I watched bankers help laborers walk home from the towers, I watched needy left-wing citizens follow the guidance of a caring right-wing mayor.  I watched brave firefighters and construction workers, selflessly run TOWARD that collapse, in order to save even one more life while risking theirs.  To understand the true unity laying dormant in America you need only remember how you felt the day those proud towers fell.  Despite the centuries of political messaging heaped on top of who we were, that shot at our country instantly stripped it away, and lay bare what it means to be an American.  We are united, not divided, at our core.  Politics has led us in a different direction.  Statesmanship can lead us out.

The Greater Fool

So, the day after a great date night, it is often hard to keep the momentum going.  Great talk, do we act?  Are we still tuned in?  Sometimes, as my wife always says, the universe is giving you an answer, but you need to listen.  When I walked into my wife’s office after coffee this morning she had DVR’ed Newsroom.  We love the show, admittedly because we are left of center types and its fun to hear our thoughts in eloquent words.  But the season finale was about everything we had just discussed.  Everyone should watch it, so they get the conclusions below.  The central point of the show is a back and forth over the idea of “The Greater Fool”.  As an aside I have issues with the example myself due to its financial roots, but the wrap up lines in the show were perfect.

There have been many people with opinions about how to “fix” our country.  How to take us back.  Regain our beautiful history.  Become what we were.  I dissent.  We have never lost what we were.  It has simply been buried under decades of communications crap laid on top by politics.

We must embrace what we are.  What we truly are.  We must act on it.  Locally.  We must unplug from stupid national attempts to control what we think and demonstrate we understand our neighbors.  We must touch what makes us all American, fight like hell for that, and work together to resolve on the details.  It will be hard, impossibly difficult, unbelievably irritating and the challenge of my generation.  But as a boy, I watched Team USA, skate on the ice, unknown, with no believers, defeat what we used to call the USSR.  It is only the fool, the greater fool, that truly thinks we can do that now in politics.  Not by finding or building a candidate.  But by acting.  In our lane.  Running our pattern.  Fulfilling our role.  Never flinching in defense.  And understanding what makes us all American.

And later today I came across a great debate on Facebook about Voter ID.  A good one.  Sid Burgess asked a simple question about Voter ID.  Good conversation about it.  A few partisan barbs but really what seemed to be real people talking about an issue.  A vital one.  The right to vote.  The discourse was intelligent and civil.   And the source, a great republican passionately embracing walkability in of all places, Oklahoma City, helps to prove that this world, this conflict, has hope of resolution.  If this lifelong Democrat in Seattle and a self-described card carrying Republican in OKC can come to together to build a civic discourse, maybe we will succeed in building a new America.

“The Greater Fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed. This whole country was made by greater fools.”

 

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Looking for a few great State and Local CIOs

20120108-113445.jpg

In my career I have known some amazing public sector CIOs. As I return to a leadership position in global public sector at Salesforce, I want to pay things forward and embrace the new set of public sector technology leaders.

If we were to embrace a few state and local governments to work with deeply, in particular on the benefits of enabling their entire jurisdiction as a social enterprise, who would you think would be best? I have worked with large countries, global cities, tiny villages, water districts and others. All I want is suggested leaders in locations with great promise.

Nominations?

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Calling all authors: guest blog on innovation in government #gov20 #opengov

 
We will be bringing the blog back to life this year. I know many of you contacted me earlier to present your ideas on this platform and now really is the time.
 
Send me a note and I would be glad to have you post as often as you have great content.  Send me a note at mattmiszewski@gmail.com. Or leave a comment on the blog, send me a note on Facebook, LinkedIn or twitter. 
 

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Building the New World of Social Infrastructure #gov20 #opengov #ows

The New Social Enterprise Requires a New Social Contract #socialenterprise

The New Social Enterprise Requires a New Social Contract #socialenterprise

I am thrilled to be a part of a true revolution in technology.  Not just a promised revolution, or a politically motivated talking point, but a real shift in how we perform computational tasks.  It presents us with an opportunity to not only build great new loosely coupled systems to solve increasingly complex problems, but also an opportunity to build a whole new set of structures and partnerships designed to support the stability of this new set of systems for the next few decades.  In short, we have the desire to build an entirely new set of social interactions and personal empowerment for citizens, employees and partners.

I want to be clear that I have little interest in building individual systems that last (that is how we continue to have 30 year old legacy systems crippling business processes).  What I want to be a part of is embracing a global infrastructure that will allow for agile development (and the responsibility to kill systems quickly) of solutions that solve business problems.  This new infrastructure is more than the often overused idea of a superhighway for information.  What I am talking about is more like the transformation at the world’s ports when they stopped using manual labor to load and unload ships in transit.  To accomplish this switch there was an amazing amount of structural change that needed to happen.

But without a new paradigm, social contract or partnership, this change would never have successfully increased the flow of global commerce.  We needed a public commitment to the goal of global efficiency and a private sector commitment to embrace the new change.  We needed to make sure that each of the ports adopted an open standard so that the new machinery wasn’t different in each port requiring costly one-off adaptation or constant change.

NOTE:  Two major assumptions that the world seems to have accepted:  The cloud is how we will deploy infrastructure, software, databases and platforms.  I will leave it to legacy companies to continue to argue for our customers to build and operate their own datacenters so that these vendors can continue to extort their pound of flesh.  The conversation is over and these are merely death throws.  They may continue for another 5 or so years, but ultimately they are scheduled to die.  The second assumption is that our dominant paradigm will be social computing as the accepted UI.  Just as Xerox, Apple and Microsoft brought us the revolution of multitasking and windows as  a way to interact with computational power, now Facebook, Salesforce, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter have brought a new UI to us all.  The difference is that this paradigm has been brought to us as an open paradigm and not a proprietary one that will be used to concentrate power and profit but will rather unleash the power of computing on the masses.  Profit will, and should, drive the development of these technologies but we will not be locked into terrible technology due to propriety.  We will rather be engaged in an open standard conversation, occurring globally and in the open.  Progress will happen as a result of advancing the paradigm through providing value, not lock-in.

Structures

There are several things that need to happen in terms of structural improvements.  Network Ubiquity and Openness is required.  Much as we demanded universal delivery of things like the postal service and telephone service in many countries, we need to ensure that there is universal availability of broadband.  The dominance of broadband in cities is great, but we need to empower economic growth everywhere.  The existence of that pipe will bring economic development.  It will spur the advancement of the Social UI.  Without it, we will be dependent on the thinking and innovation in cities, which may not be bad, but we may be missing out on incredible thinking and productivity that lies dormant in other areas.  We can build better.  Their is unlocked growth potential in the more difficult to cover regions of the world, unlocked simply because no pipe yet reaches them.  The success of a child in rural India should not depend on their distance from Mumbai, it should only be limited by their aspiration, ability and drive.

Open Sourced Hardware.  As we look at a device driven society, we need to enable innovation through massively available hardware platforms as we did with software.  The Internet of Things will be driven by masses of people innovating sensors, displays, robotics, cameras and more.  Arduino is a great start, and Raspberry Pi promises to be incredible,  but we need to have more organizations embracing the idea of open hardware platforms.  As IBM helped to validate Open Source we need large corporate entities realizing the value that will come from embracing hardware as a new frontier in future computing.

Inexpensive, Open, Public Touch Interfaces.  Massive investment, both public and private, in the development and quick deployment of public touch interfaces (and non-touch gesture interfaces) will drive the new computing world.  They must be public so that the market created for them is massive and drives adoption.  If it remains open from the beginning we will have much more innovation and will avoid the proprietary tax that had developed in the past and locked down the true productivity promised.  By enabling this, we will embrace fully, in a public way, the cloud as the answer to true ubiquitous computing.  As we provide public interfaces in ways that folks have embraced (touch) we will drive rapid and massive adoption, which in turn will drive the costs of such initiatives down while continuing to provide the needed margins to the private sector companies that will arise to build them.

Partnerships

The new thinking that would go along with a shift to a new paradigm gives us the opportunity to create new and stronger bonds in society.  A few things are needed to form those bonds.  A Vibrant Public Sector is a necessary precedent for success.  The debate about the existence of a public sector and its validity needs to end.  Inside public sector organizations they have been understanding their criticisms deeply.  They believe transparency in operations will be the most effective way to accomplish the needed changes.  With a transparent and efficient public sector (with a deep understanding of the term efficient in a public sector context) the focus can be on what citizens want most from their government.  It will result in a refocusing of resources on growth oriented ideas. First, government should effort to create platforms for service delivery as opposed to direct delivery whenever possible.  When that is not possible, direct delivery of services should be accomplished with as low a cost structure as possible to accomplish the public good.  This balancing act will require wide spread and crowdsourced engagement to be successful.  This refocusing of resources will allow for the development of needed technological infrastructure whenever needed to accomplish the public good.  So, resources for ubiquitous broadband deployment can be achieved at a mill rate that is accessible to the average taxpayer.  Public touch screens would allow for efficient public transportation increasing regional productivity in the same fashion while allowing the private sector to deliver the actual applications that enable it.  Government as a platform will allow us to achieve greater and more rapid growth and will allow us to repair our public sector trust issues.

The refocusing of resources in the public sector will allow for a more efficient capital structure for private sector firms.  An Efficient and Growing Private Sector is also a necessary precondition of success.  Removing infrastructure barriers that can now be funded in the public sphere, the private sector will have a platform to deploy on, which is open, allowing for growth in both domestic product as well as in public goods.  A virtuous cycle is created allowing public investment to drive instead of frustrate private sector growth and that private sector growth will similarly drive the unity and progress of the public sphere.  The growth in the private sector will also result in extensible product lines that benefit from public investment but no longer require it to flourish.  The development of efficient public transportation routing, for instance, can easily be adapted to private logistic company needs generating a multiplier effect in the market.

Global and Local Crowdsourced Governance will allow the public to stay engaged in growth initiatives.  Decisions will need to be made regarding what items are platform related or intended for direct service delivery.  Local decisions can be driven locally and the open processes will allow the input to be gathered and shared globally.  The aggregation of multitudes of local decisions and systems will allow for an elimination of duplication waste in multiple governments while the ongoing agile development cycles will renew opportunities for the private sector, freeing them from making profits reselling existing solutions and instead put their capital to work on new and never ending issues to place into the public platforms or private initiatives.

New Social Contract (Public/Private Agreement) – An end to the war between the public and private sectors is the only way for us to have renewed and sustainable economic and social growth.  We must sit down and discuss and decide on a New Social Contract.  Citizens must control and drive the discussions.  The best part:  we now have all the tools needed to make this happen.  We have strong representatives on the side of the public sector and the private sector.  We have tools that enable broad based and open and transparent collaboration by public crowds.  This may drive wide ranging changes, from entitlements to tax shelters, from the nature of local government to different taxation structures.  It may preserve an awful lot of what we have.  But the one thing that will be certain is that we will all engage in a conversation about what we want, what we need and the future we want to build.  By driving this discussion to surround economic and social growth at the same time, we will be building a future we have consensus around and which will build a world our children can be proud to inherit.

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