I just returned from Dreamforce, a mega tech conference in San Francisco, which focuses primarily on cloud computing. They claim 90,000 attended and I believe it. Salesforce.com are the brains behind this event and it seems to grow each year. Cloud computing is the latest computer revolution sweeping the world. It is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation. (wikipedia) I worked for four years at Cisco/WebEx which was one of the first companies to embrace cloud computing technology. Salesforce.com was the other trailblazing company led by visionary Marc Benioff. While I attended some very productive break out sessions I realized how much technology is front and center in 2012. A shining light in an otherwise dismal global economy. As technology adds jobs, I did have to wonder as I saw the “increase productivity and cut costs” mantra over and over as I strolled through the expo. Is technology and efficiency eliminating jobs at the same time?
“The Internet Association is important to our customers and other employers as it is committed to pursuing policies that allow for economic growth and protecting jobs – not only jobs directly tied to the web, but also brick-and-mortar businesses throughout our nation. ” Read more on Monster…
I just read an interesting article in Politico about the presence of technology CEO’s at the Democratic and Republican conventions this year. Or should I say, lack there of. Many have donated but are too busy running their companies to attend. That brings up an interesting point. Tech firms and their CEOS have a history of being the least politically active compared to other industries. Apple’s Steve Jobs was proud of the fact his company never donated money to any political candidates. Many tech leaders are too focused on building their businesses and, for the most part, the tech sector has been hands off until recently with the SOPA fight. SOPA opened eyes in the tech community and reality set in: legislation and regulation CAN negatively effect us. Google has battled antitrust suits for years just as Microsoft did. Privacy is a decisive issue as of late and Facebook will be educating legislators in this area for sometime as well. Technology is beloved by millions of Americans and does not have that negative image say oil or tobacco has. Will this continue? Reports of Google and Facebook mining personal data in order to please advertisers has been making headlines for a while now. However, you definitely cannot put Google up there with Big Tobacco or BP as public enemy number one. Highly regulated industries are forced to pour money into political coffers. Will technology be required to follow suit? Time will tell.
The last week of the legislative session in the California State Capitol is upon us. There are hundreds of bills to be considered during this frantic final few weeks. I work with TechNet, an organization that represents the tech, biotech, and telecommunications industries and we have been very busy this legislative year. We probably monitor around twenty bills that range in topic from social media privacy to corporate tax issues. Technology is at the forefront in California as Silicon Valley is booming and hot button issues pertaining to regulation and job creation permeate policy discussions. TechNet, accompanied by a large and diverse coalition that includes eBay, California NAACP, Cisco, and Congress of California Seniors managed to assist in steering SB 1161 to Governor Brown’s desk for signature. We hope he signs this important piece of legislation designed to clarify the legislature’s role in determining policy for the Internet and keeping it free and open. This past year, I have done a good deal of legislative analysis and it was interesting to see how much legislation pertained to our members. It is obvious that technology is very much on the minds of legislators and their constituents and these bills reflect that. Facebook is cranking up their public affairs division now that they have gone public. They had a few bills to follow this past year with privacy issues in the news.