JCL Blog

Clouds on the Horizon

Today I am in Los Angeles attending Mark Anderson's Future in Review conference - aka "FiRe".  I have attended this conference several times and it is always my favorite conference of the year.  Like many conferences is it a great way to meet new and interesting people.  This conference is different however because the subject of the future is quite broad and Mark does an amazing job of packing the agenda with a wide variety of subjects -- and all expertly presented in a No PowerPoint zone.  

We are half way through the event and I have a good ten pages of notes. It will take a while for me to distill all of this thinking into blog posts, but until then here are some initial thoughts:

There has been a good deal of discussion about how Cloud Computing will impact the world and how cloudy our future looks when considering the dislocating effects of energy and climate issues.

Energy:  Half the world does not have electricity.  Right now the worldwide production of electricity is 13 trillion watts -- most electricity is created from coal, and we have 2,000 years of coal reserves on hand. Do we make electricity more expensive (to discourage use and reduce carbon footprint) and in the process deny even more of the world population the benefits of electrification, or do we reduce the cost of electricity, deliver it to more people, but figure out how to produce it without such a large impact on the environment.  We need 28 trillion watts of innovation by 2050.  

Ray Ozzie:  It was around the tech world in 45 minutes in a conversation between Mark Anderson and Ray Ozzie that hit at least 20 topics.  Some of the points were:  

On creative destruction:  The amount of money in the system may just drop in the near term. The consumer will pay less, new revenues will be created (later).

  • On the shift to consumer (from enterprise): The more there is a consumer buyer of technology the more costly it will be for the enterprise.  This is both in terms of exception management and security. Any CIO should have a very clear view of threat model.  The insider threat included.
  • On the Cloud: The cloud = developer sit down, worry about coding - that is it!
  • On Privacy and Facebook: Facebook has a lot of momentum.  We as a society have never had to deal with privacy issues on the scale that we have.  We have business models that are fundamentally attached to intent and matching that with advertising.  It is very difficult to cope with.  Facebook is doing us a great service by pushing the envelope so much.

People, Learning and the Role of the Institution:  The core of most organizations is failing and the value is at the edge.  Return on Assets is trending to zero (because we do not know how to value the right things).  The cloud provides power tools for the edge. The edges collide and become centers with power tools and social tools. The edge pulls the core to the edge. There is deep thought going into how these networks are put together. The greatest innovation into how these communities are structured is happening in India and China. How can it be governed?  It is not always about technology.

I will be sending out updates on Twitter @jcleon.  Or follow the tag: #Fire2010.