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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Or leave a comment on the blog, send me a note on Facebook, LinkedIn or twitter.
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.
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.
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.
As many of you know, I now work for an incredible company, Salesforce.com. One of the best parts about being a part of their revolution is that during this continued economic downtown, we are growing and continue to hire incredibly talented people. So, for any of you that may have reached out to me during 2011 about coming aboard, I apologize for not being able to respond to you. That time is now over and I am happy to discuss all of the incredible opportunities at SFDC. Go to salesforce.com/careers or just shoot me a note. We are growing in every department so regardless of how you are connected to me, take a look and lets get you on the right team.
Imagine working for a company that is intent on changing the world. We have already changed the technology landscape and now are fully embracing the social enterprise revolution. Imagine being a part of the fight to bring social technology to the public square. Those limits you feel, in your legacy company, with infighting all around, stock prices going nowhere, benefits being cut can all be removed. Come, join our revolution.
I was heartened to hear during my keynote (goto Login Tourism Speakers) and after at the T20 Meeting in Buyeo, Korea, that nations are taking technology adoption to a new level and will continue to drive it from within their national and local tourism bodies.
The Korean organization was particularly aggressive in pursuing new technology adoption to accomplish a number of tasks:
1) They have decided specifically to drive Government as a Platform and understand that without it the level of investment will be insufficient to support the tourism industry. They leverage public-private partnerships in ways I have only dreamed of. Charm Lee, in leading the tourism organizations for the nation is doing an amazing job.
2) They applications are forward thinking and full of rich media interactions. In this app, Korea is far ahead of the rest of the world in brand exploitation, sticky web app penetration and thought leadership. Create your own personalize itinerary based upon your feedback during an interactive movie? Brilliant.
And the audience attracted by this event was impressive. from members of the European Commission, to tourism leaders from nearly every major country on the planet, to the UN, the T20 meeting was an incredible success.
The #soc5 this week is really #soc1. I want to highlight some incredible public art that embraces the Social Enterprise ethic. The One & Other Project by Anthony Gormley in 2009 in the UK really exemplifies the magic that can happen when the Social Enterprise is unveiled. While it was a 2009 effort, the residue remains online today in significant ways and the current “Occupy” efforts could learn a great deal about how to organize a global resistance movement in a way that embraces their powerful message without the dilution of violence or active challenging resistance.
The project was incredible. It was a public art project held on the 4th plinth of Trafalgar Square. Citizens could apply to spend an hour on top of the plinth and they would rotate continually for 100 days in 2009. They did so in wind, rain and worse and the output was watched by the world. The interest was immense. They received over 35,000 applications and over 2400 people took part for their hour of fame. Flickr and YouTube were active during the event and remain active today. A community built up over the hashtag #fourthplinth and the experience became a great example of spontaneous organization which creates its own momentum and generates its own organization.
This project highlights the possibilities and the challenges in the social enterprise. It certainly entails a small amount of risk to the creator or sponsor. They need to give up the current illusion of control of information in any real sense and enable a democratized version of control. But the benefits are there too. By eliminating control techniques, the unseen value beforehand is uncovered. Much of the presentation was unanticipated. While some was surely frivolous, some of it was unexpectedly impactful. And that is the value. The benefits of the social enterprise are sometimes unseen going in but indisputable coming out. By accepting the small risk it becomes asymmetrical and the payoff becomes obvious.
On August 30, 2011, Mr. Miszewski began work at salesforce.com as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales, in the commercial sector for salesforce.com. Mr. Miszewski accepts this position after having reached an agreement with Microsoft Corporation to resolve all remaining issues in the lawsuit brought by Microsoft against him. Mr. Miszewski is pleased that this matter has been resolved, and will have no further comment on the matter.
I am re-reading, again, Albert Camus’ “The Rebel“. I’m packing it with me during the next month or so of travel to many corners of the world. Strangely, I find solace and hope in a man’s thoughts who are sometimes seen as critical of meaning in life, and I concur with others who say he is deeply hopeful and celebratory of happiness and joy.
At the same time I am reading “The Art of Community” by Jono Bacon. The connections are interesting and as many of you know, I do find compelling meaning in connections from different authors across multiple time periods. This is one such case for Camus, Bacon and our Government 2.0 Community.
Camus makes an interesting point about rebellion and revolution in the book. I am not sure I completely agree with his conclusions, but his analysis is interesting when you think about the current debates about Government 2.0. His point, at least one of them, is that rebellion is an act that does not necessarily have an end goal in mind but is rather an act of passion built up after living in an unacceptable condition for a long period of time. He points to slavery and ultimate rebellion as an example. At the point of initial rebellion the activity is a reaction to unjust activity that had been tolerated for too long and as such is absolute and filled with emotion. While ultimately this becomes an absolute position, it starts with a spark of highly emotional retort. Which is where I find our Government 2.0 movement today.
He juxtaposes rebellion with revolution. He places calculated planning and goal orientation squarely on the revolutionary and notably absent from the rebel. His point about revolution always leading to tyranny is connected to the times in which he wrote. I am not certain I subscribe to his conclusions but they are worth consideration as we start to deal with the concerns that our movement has no concrete goals, KPIs, measurement or end state. While the rebellion cannot have a connection to its end state, revolutions do. Revolutions are meant to replace dominant paradigms, not simply rebel against them. We certainly need to protect against the potential of tyranny as part of our goal set, but the mood of the community right now seems to be turning toward a need for more ultimate structure, so that we know when we have won (we will see the artifacts we desire – Government as a Platform).
So, what is the connection between Camus and Bacon? Good question…
In “The Art of Community”, Bacon pens a great point, “There is an important connection here in which imagination and opportunity are close friends. Imagination offers the mind a vision of how things could be. If there is a viable path toward this future, we build a sense of opportunity. If there is no viable path, we enter the world of fantasy.” I see our current endeavors dominated by imagination. Folks creating the new world in their heads and talking about it. Painting incredible pictures of what we could accomplish. The opportunity side of things is starting to spring up now too, which is great. As part of that cycle some will succeed, some will fail, at exploiting that opportunity. We need to be accepting of that cycle and continue to be accepting of both our imagineers and our opportunity seekers as both are necessary to create a true open government revolution instead of simple rebellion. As some of us paint the picture of the future, others must *show* that there is viable path.
This is the resolution of the “too much talk, not enough doing” challenge we have been discussing. We need to have both. Don’t get me wrong, I do favor the doing side myself (a la Cypherpunks Write Code). But I deeply understand, respect, and, when I give speeches, channel the imagination side of things. If we embrace both, we will succeed in building the foundations of a great and global society. If we fail, it may only be fantasy.