Who would have ever guessed 25 years ago…20 years ago….10 years ago…even 5 years ago, that I would have been part of a group invited to speak at a meeting at The White House? Certainly not I. Regardless of your political inclinations, there is something awesome about being invited to such a historical place that is still the home of our Executive Branch of government. And then the very next day, heading to Capitol Hill to speak with folks at the Legislative Branch?
The group that arranged these meetings on my behalf is The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), a lobbyist group. Now before you get all worked up over a “dirty word”, lobbyists are not all what you think. Many groups, such as this one, give a voice to issues that pretty much all of us agree on.
These are a few things we spoke about, both at The White House and on The Hill.
- Entrepreneurship- this takes many forms and is anything from protecting my intellectual property and that of my clients to better STEM education for our kids, all the way from K-college. This can also cover the current state of patents/trademarks and international piracy (for example lots of folks in China have read our books, but I’ve never sold one there).
- Spectrum- most people don’t even know what this is. I had a vague knowledge prior to my work with ACT, but am thankful for their education of me on the issue. The wireless airwaves only have so much space and most of it is not open to commercial use. The big companies (AT&T big, not just Google big) have said that they would put money into infrastructure if they have the opportunity. We need to let them. You know that random dead spot on your cell? The sudden death of your navigation/mapping app on your phone? No more unlimited data plans on phones? Yup, that’s spectrum. At some point devices won’t be able to make up the difference for lack of spectrum and our innovation with stagnate on mobile.
- Privacy- online and mobile privacy is a hot topic for all. But what most people don’t realize is that the mere collecting of information doesn’t really put your privacy at risk. Most folks that make apps have no interest or incentive to DO anything with your details that they may gather to enhance your app experience. They quite honestly wouldn’t know what to do with it either. I am all for protecting our kids, but I know we need to take it slow and regulate BEHAVIOR not technology.
I guess all I have left to conquer is the Judicial folks, but I would hope that in my idealistic brain, I would have zero influence over The Supreme Court, but I would love a visit nonetheless.