A New Call To Industrial Growth

First NYC Subway created by Private Sector.

First NYC Subway created by Private Sector.

Continuing my ongoing call for the new industrial players to stand up and own growth, this post will deal with the concrete connection between technology deployment and concrete economic growth. I am differentiating deployment from research. And while I believe research and development is vital, I also believe the speed of the modern business environment requires that research by actively and instantly deployed to garner the maximum effect on global economic growth.

There are several reasons for this distinction. First, the gap between research and application creates a growing gap in productivity gains from research. Second, the nature of modern means of production eliminates the need for the separation as proven by cloud deployment models, rapid manufacturing and the agile methods of modern application deployment.

Instead of public policy simply pouring into funding random acts of research, if that funding could partially target actual deployment of modern forms of digital production the economic impacts would be profound. On top of actual productive technology deployments, see eBay example, environmental improvements could be more easily realized.  PUE gains in datacenters are often relegated to extremely large customers who can afford to acquire the risk of new tech deployments. Imagine what could be possible if multiple energy savings initiatives could hit the field in real projects where energy consumption could be radically reduced AND cost per kilowatt could radically improve data productivity.

And I need to be clear that there is little to no need for Government to get involved in the actual capitalization process.  Cash on the balance sheets of current enterprises could fund the initiatives in a very serious way.  And with zero bureaucratic overhead.  By leveraging expertise in multiple fields, including, of course, my chosen field of datacenter solutions :) , enterprises could indeed be building the infrastructure for a more modern society (and one that is more sustainable as well).

As an example, most people mistakenly believe that Government built the NYC Subway System.  When in fact Industrialists of that time did.  We need folks to stand up and invest in the most efficient deployments of datacenter capacity across the globe.  To ensure that capacity is there to support healthcare, public safety, commerce, entertainment, media, energy exploration and life saving big data analytics now and well into our mutual future.

It is time to blow past our political differences and get back to work.

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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!

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It is time

It is time.

A number of friends have talked to me offline about re-energizing FixingPotholes. I am thrilled to recommit to doing so and having it be a forum to double click on policy leaders thoughts on government and technology.

I am hoping that the regular writing will allow me a small slice of time to finish the book, Rebel Technology. Please keep your thoughts coming and let’s write an incredible reflection of how the world is leveraging technology to change our world.

It is time. To rise.

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Bridges to Revolution

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I have long believed in bridges. No, not just to get me across lake Washington, but to shoot the gaps.

A long time ago, in law school, I had the honor of being taught labor law by an incredible thinker, scholar and doer, Jim Jones at the UW Law School. In awe I asked him how he brought the country from not understanding discrimination to embracing the civil rights act. His response? Bridges.

My family and career is full of visionaries I said to him. They see what needs to be done and I want my life to be about making that change real. But I meet resistance. Often.

He taught me I need to think of the change as a series of connected islands with bridges connecting us from today to the world as it should be. Utilize tools to achieve the small changes that add up to the revolution.

I lived that this week. Discussing change with leaders in my new company and then taking those learnings to great customers in New York. I was thrilled as I met no resistance and in fact engaged deeply in a bridging conversation. Could our approach bridge one of the toughest divides in public sector IT?

Yes it can. And yes we will. And my promises to dr. Jones can be fulfilled. Thank you Salesforce.

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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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