The Reuters Digital Vision Program is a one-year fellowship at Stanford University for mid-career tech professionals. I'm blogging my experiences there: the amazing guest speakers, the interesting classes and discussion groups with other fellows, and thoughts on how technology can help reduce the gulf between the global rich and poor.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tech Policy Summit Conference

On February 26 & 27, I attended the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose. It was a really well run conference (props to organizer Natalie Fonseca of SageScape). The general intention was to bring together people from the tech sector, especially from Silicon Valley, with policy makers, primarily from DC. In spite of the cross-country flight, and horrendous weather in Washington on the 25th, causing many cancellations, it still seemed like the DC contingent was larger than the local one. I guess I'd chalk that up to mostly a questionable complacency from the techies that things political can be ignored as long as you stay focused on the customer/business/technology.

So I'll try to share my takeaways, from a largely "techie" point of view, hoping that others may be encouraged to learn more (podcasts are available) and participate in the future.

The Big Issues

Thinking back over the repeated themes that came up, I'd say the main topics were:

  • Patent Reform
  • H1-B visas and immigration
  • Privacy and data security
  • Net neutrality
  • Broadband access
  • Math & Science education
  • Tax policy (esp. R&D tax credit)
  • Trade policy (esp. monopoly /duopoly, anti-trust issues, in Europe)
  • Energy

I'll put together another blog post or two with the "content" highlights for these topics.

Overall, the tone was slightly alarmist. America has fallen or is about to fall out of the lead in critical areas of global competitiveness, and we need to take action.

The People

It was an interesting mix of different groups, with some impressive names from each.



Tech Executives

It was a good turnout of CEO's with a handful of others mixed in. As I was looking up bios, I was surprised that the most represented shade of red was not Crimson, Cardinal, or even Blood on Concrete (MIT), but Big Red. I've noted the Cornell affiliations below.

and representatives from "trade associations" (aka lobbyists).