Background to a Need -- or, How did I get here?

Jose Michael

I had the privilege to participate in the early days of the rapid growth of the Internet – post ARPAnet, pre-Web. At the time there was no widely adopted common networking solution such as TCP/IP, the lingua franca of the Internet. The major computer vendors were launching their own approaches to hooking different systems together, and there was a cumbersome international standards effort called OSI. TCP/IP emerged from the defense and academic labs and met the corporate buyers who were desperate for a good networking solution. This rich fuel mix ignited and everything changed in a VERY short period of time. Great technology combined with intense market demand backed by purchasing dollars is the surest way to see change happen FAST. (We’ll talk sometime about the early days of the auto industry and the resulting effect on the oil industry.)

Today we are seeing tremendous leaps in research and technology -- leaps that if applied well through exisiting and through new markets could be of widespread and profound benefit. We're also at a precarious time at which we need to make decisions that will support those efforts. Failure to do so could not only stall development -- it could knock us backwards.

I'm basically an optimist -- dark apolocalyptic visions have never appealed. But I also rely on data and analysis -- and I think that we need to address certain issues -- such as the need for sustainable energy -- with urgency and clear thinking.

My experience tells me that the way to do this is through focused education and discussion amongst the stakeholding communities. Online, offline, face-to-face. Educated buyers given an opportunity to buy or to use the best solution will opt for the best -- and help create something even better.

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