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March 2nd, 2007

My Take on the Tech Policy Summit

This week I attended the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose.

The summit was a gathering of prominent leaders from the private and public sectors, examining policy issues affecting technology innovation and adoption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Congressman Howard Berman, Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz and the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg all participated in various sessions.

From a communicator’s perspective it was a learning experience, I’m not regularly exposed to tech policy work in my day-to-day job. However, despite being new to the discussion, it was clear that little of what was being discussed was ground-breaking stuff, and many were left wishing the speakers and panelist had gone just a little deeper into tech policy debates, particularly in the areas of patents, the relationship of security and privacy, and strategies in broadband delivery. Unfortunately, the closest thing to a debate (that I saw) was when Walt Mossberg leaned on AT&T’s James Cicconi to answer why AT&T and other wireless phone service providers continued to limit choices in hardware devices and software on their networks.

Another highlight was Walt Mossberg’s discussion with Jonathan Schwartz about green tech and energy conservation. Clearly a lot of companies are latching on to green tech, but Sun is one of the few companies that can actually provided some practical examples. I also thought it was interesting to hear that Google’s highest expense after people is energy which is why it’s looking to locate its datacenters near naturally cost-efficient hydro-electric plants.

I’m glad I could attend, I learned some good stuff, surface stuff I know, but it was helpful nonetheless.

Check out the Tech Summit Blog for more insights and detail.

/Ben Hohmann

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