Revolution Not Reform
All the world's big movers and shakers were meeting this week at Davos, Switzerland to discuss the future. Much of their pronouncements were rather bleak, but Jeff Jarvis, formerly of the company that does Masslive, was there and found a ray of hope - as well as further sound reasons to defeat the awful Obama stimulus bill:
At one of the still-lavish closing parties, I said to a top banking executive what I’d said earlier in this space about the week in Davos: that the leadership here had to take responsibility for their failure. He sneered at me. There’s no need for that, he said. He will be the last to open up, the last to change.
But back at the workshop I was leading, the three dozen machers who came mainly from investment, technology, and education said something different: The stakeholder is taking control. That stakeholder had to be informed. And that requires transparency.
It was under those rules that they reimagined retail, education, and government.
The day before, I went to a session on educating entrepreneurs with Cisco’s John Chambers, Intel’s Craig Barrett, and other leaders in worldwide movements to train the people who will start businesses and create jobs and true value, in large economies and small. They recited statistics about the value that comes from giving young people the tools to start businesses. They argued passionately that we must change education to enable such creation. Then I hung out with fellow blogger Robert Scoble, who has been arguing that the way out of our mess is to start a million companies. And I went to Yossi Vardi’s annual sabbath breakfast with Israeli President Shimon Peres, who made a forceful argument that the future will be secured with investment in technology (including biotechnology) and education (which he as much as said was the next thing to come after the internet wave).
But instead, the governments that are flexing their muscles here to announce that they are now in charge are giving trillions of dollars to the incumbents, to people like that sneering banker. And he and his peers here in Davos are, as I said in my earlier posts from here, are circling their wagons, refusing to take responsibility, and change.
We should, instead, be investing our money in entrepreneurs and technologists, the people who will change old industries, reimagining them under new rules with new people - us, in the long run - in charge. I leave Davos thinking that more often than not, we need to look at replacing rather than just repairing these broken institutions. Entrepreneurs and educators do that.
We are bailing out the past. Instead, we must bail out the future.
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Meanwhile, the full ramifications of the stimulus bill are now becoming known, and we must quickly realize that we are hurtling towards a disaster of unprecedented proportions. We can't be afraid to face the tragic truth that President Obama is falling flat on his face right out of the gate and we cannot allow his failure to drag us all down. You must watch the following short but scary video to understand what I mean. Indeed you have a moral responsibility to do so.
The multi-talented Paolo Mastrangelo considers himself a paparazzi and here is a picture taken in New York City of his sister's friend with actor Steve Buscemi.
Steve Buscemi is the actor most people say I resemble, but I don't know whether to take that as a complement or an insult.
This afternoon I was at my nephew Brett's birthday party in Belchertown. He's 15, and damn that makes me feel old.
The anti-social Uncle Tom spent much of the time engrossed online.
Rebels for Romance
I like this bumpersticker on a car parked in Northampton.
One of the recurring controversies of the 1980's music scene was over the exact nature of the relationship between the chart-topping duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates. Were they gay? The pair themselves were always coy about it, neither confirming nor denying a sexual relationship. Their sexual ambiguity was brave, since in the 80's proof of a gay relationship would have ended their careers because straight people wouldn't buy a love song if they thought it was being sung to a person of the same sex. Rolling Stone came as close to outing the pair as they could without provoking a lawsuit.
What was John Oates' role anyway? On stage he simply danced around or strummed a guitar and sang harmony. Rumors persisted that his real use to Daryl Hall was not onstage but in the hotel room after the show. The mystery is unsolved to this day. John Oates eventually married a woman and had a son, but then so did David Bowie. In 2008 Daryl Hall marched in a gay parade in the Netherlands, but do you have to be queer to march in a pride parade? Whatever their relationship, no critic ever denied that Daryl Hall was one of the greatest white soul singers of his generation, as amply proven in today's video.