Friday, January 23, 2009

Tech Snafus Hit Obama's White House Team -- Underscoring Country's Current State of the (Tech) Union

President Barack Obama represents change from the old guard in a myriad of ways -- including an administrative focus, for the first time, on significantly upgrading the country's tech infrastructure. Obama and his team, of course, harnessed the power of technology in -- it is safe to say -- revolutionary ways to conquer the Presidency. All the way from ground-up grass roots fundraising -- to the development of an ongoing relationship and dialog with supporters (and, for that matter, detractors) -- to his personal obsessive use and reliance on (like many of us) the Crackberry.

But, the "dream" and vision often, at least initially, slams into cold hard reality -- especially when government bureaucracy is involved. As reported in today's LA Times, Obama's vision to be "a sleek, new iPhone kind of future" instead "looked more like the rotary-dial past" on his first days in office. Staffers suffered all kinds of technical snafus -- from disconnected phone lines throughout the White House, outdated computer software, and security regulations that separate those staffers electronically from the outside world (read, no outside email accounts!). Even the President's brave new White House website failed to be up to date -- and the website represents a central pillar of Obama's communication strategy to bolster transparency to to the outside world (and bring the President closer to the people, making him more "real").

For digital media and technology buffs -- which, of course, are all of you reading this blog -- there nonetheless is hope. "Yes we can" finally give focus to our nation's broadband infrastructure so that we are competitive with the rest of the world -- and, ultimately once again lead the world in that regard. And, that kind of investment in technology, science, intellectual curiosity, and entrepreneurship will, of course, open up whole new opportunities and millions upon millions of jobs.

So, keep the faith that the White House's current "state of the (tech) union" will change. Remember, Obama still has his blackberry ... and it works!