A week and a half ago, we launched the Copia Institute, our new business network/think tank. The two day event was really quite amazing, and tons of great ideas came out of the discussions. We'll be sharing some videos and some ideas from all of those discussions as we go forward, but wanted to start out by sharing the presentation I gave at the kickoff, explaining just what we were trying to do, inspired by the Homebrew Computer Club forty years ago. You can see the opening presentation here:
As mentioned in the presentation, one of the things that we're focused on is bringing together lots of smart people to think through creative approaches to big challenges, that don't require waiting for bureaucrats and policymakers to make some big decision -- and the number of great ideas that came out of the summit directly, and in a series of conversations since then, has been astounding. In fact, there are probably too many good ideas. However, in the coming days, weeks and months, we'll continue sharing with you the followup on some of these discussions, including additional gatherings, new research and new projects, all designed to help drive innovation forward.
I know that many of you who were unable to make the inaugural summit have expressed interest in staying informed and helping out as we launch various initiatives. Please, stay tuned, as there will be plenty of opportunities to join in the discussions and to help accomplish some amazing things.
As a therapist would tell a couple bickering over each others' working and spending habits, Republicans and Democrats now quarreling over the federal budget should change the framing of topic. Instead of focusing only on how much the government should tax and spend in the economy we know, the leaders of the opposing parties should look at what the economy could quickly become if government passed laws encouraging productive private sector investment in growing technology-driven markets.
Forbes Magazine has just run a cover story on how the $3.9 trillion education market--$1.3 trillion in the United States alone--is about to be radically transformed by a new breed of venture-backed disruptors. Almost half of the education venture deals in the last decade have closed in the last two years. Investments in digital health care start-ups in 2012 are up 73% from last year. Health care start-ups exceeded all other sectors, including software, as the largest recipient of angel investments.
Four major national carriers, and other regional firms, have raced to build the largest deployment of high speed mobile broadband in any large country. Cable, telephone, and satellite firms are offering faster broadband, with WiFi connectivity taking on new and better dimensions in innovative network architectures. On these new platforms, e-education, e-health ventures and all manner of e-services based on government data can proliferate.
For the two political parties wedded together against their wishes by the will of the voters, common ground for agreement can be found in asking how government can help more services be created more rapidly on the knowledge platform that already hosts the most exciting business developments in the economy. Here are four examples of a multi-step program for going along and getting along.
Step one: Congress should require the Executive Branch to implement the recommendations of a group of a high-tech CEO council that identified about $1 trillion in savings achievable by 2020 through better use of technology.
Step two: Congress should overhaul corporate taxation so as to reward job creation, expand research and development, encourage long term and sustainable equity growth, provide regular returns to shareholders, sustain sensible balances of risk and reward, and applaud success in exporting goods and services for sale in other countries.
Step three: Congress should require the Executive Branch to aggregate its purchases of bandwidth so as to drive increased capital into new networks, and to move all government services into digitized forms delivered to all broadband customers.
Step four: Congress should require that all classrooms and libraries have the opportunity to win major monetary awards from government for providing breakthrough e-learning capabilities to their communities.
Inside the Beltway, years of irresolvable debate have left many Republicans and Democrats discouraged and distrustful of each other. Their battles against each other have produced a war against new ideas that they both have sadly won. If they looked outside the Beltway, they would see an America brimming as never before with hope for technological change. Our government's leaders can surprise themselves and delight the country by passing useful laws and delivering an improved standard of living for all -- and full employment. Then -- just as occurred when a trillion dollars of private investment built Internet 1.0 in the 1990s -- a rapidly growing economy would do more to balance the budget than any imaginable combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
Reed Hundt was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997. Blair Levin oversaw the creation of the National Broadband Plan and is now a fellow at the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Their e-book, "The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama's Legacy" details the plans in this article. See www.politicsofabundance.com for a slide presentation and to download the e-book from any major e-publishing site.