I hope everyone had some time these past few weeks of the Winter Solstice to enjoy some time off with friends and family. I had a great trip to New York City, got to visit my brother and his friends, went to see my friends in Michigan to celebrate New Years Eve, and see the world premiere of [LexiBaby], an independent film from fellow filmmaker Jonathan Petro.
Talking to people in New York, Michigan and Arizona gave me some perspective on what 2008 was like for them, and what they anticipate for the new 2009 year. Borrowing the meme from last month's Freakonomics contest[Got Six Words to Inspire America] and the book[Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure], I can summarize the responses I heard into three groups:
- Sadly, life is full of disappointment
- In holding pattern, checking fuel level
- Am I dreaming? Someone pinch me!
The latter of course from fellow IBMers, corporate executives receiving bailout money, attorneys that specialize in foreclosures, and the lucky few who will be in Washington DC for the US Presidential Inauguration.In addition to all the bailout money from banks, insurance companies and automakers that will be spent on IBM equipment and services, there might be additional funds from the US Government to improve our country's information infrastructure.In a recent Forbes article titled[The Tech Solution To The Recession], Andy Greenberg writes about US president-elect Barack Obama's ideas about a stimulus to the economy. Here's an excerpt:
"IBM, for starters, believes that a massive infusion of cash should go toward cutting-edge technology. Last month, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano presented a report to Obama's transition team from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) that argues that a $30 billion investment in universal broadband, health information technology and a smarter power grid could create 950,000 jobs.
"Those disparities, and IBM's argument for focusing a stimulus plan on technology in general, come from what economists have dubbed "network multipliers." The computing giant, and ITIF, argue that technology creates more jobs than other types of infrastructure by enabling new types of businesses.
"If you build more roads, people don't buy more tires or GPS systems, but if you build better networks, you create entirely new business applications," says Rob Atkinson, president of ITIF and an author of the think tank's report. "Something like YouTube could never have existed without broadband."
"Regardless of precisely how tech stimulus money gets spent, IBM will likely sweep up a significant chunk of those taxpayer funds, given the computing giant's diverse hardware, software and services businesses. Other IT infrastructure giants like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Oracle and SAP are also likely to vie for pieces of Obama's stimulus package aimed at technology.
"But among those tech companies, IBM has been especially active in driving home the need for national investment in tech systems. In a November speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Palmisano argued that that the U.S. needs to invest in innovation not just as a solution to our current recession but as a competitive measure in an increasingly integrated and technologically advanced world."
The concept and advantages of network multipliers are not new. For more on this, read the whitepapers[Segmentation, Network Multipliers and Spillovers: A Theory of Rural Urban Migration for a Traditional Economy by Vegard Iversen, and [Network multipliers and the optimality of indirectcommunication] by Andrea Galeotti and Sanjeev Goyal.
technorati tags: Winter Solstice, New York City, LexiBaby, Freakonomics, six-word, bailout money, Washington DC, Presidential Inauguration, IBM, information infrastructure, Barack Obama, Sam Palmisano, ITIF, network multipliers