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If You Get Technology “Convergence” Wrong, Nothing Else Matters I came across this book during my most recent […]

In an extraordinary turn of events, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission appears set to implement strong new rules, later this month to enforce Net Neutrality on the Internet. If the new rules are implemented, it will have major favorable implications for future global Internet policy with the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland. This means simply that all traffic on the Internet will be treated equally and fairly, which is one of the founding principles of the Internet, since its invention by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vin Cerf and others back in the 1980’s.

It appears to me that the original vision and promise of the Internet, referred to by many as Digital Utopianism, is at severe risk of deteriorating into a “balkanized” World Wide Web.

National and political Internet barriers, censorship and ubiquitous surveillance seem to be the emerging new reality. Notable digital luminaries the likes of Vin Cerf and Bill Gates have been questioned on this point, and both have expressed no major concern about deterioration of the freedom of the Internet or with the original Utopian vision. The argument is that the World Wide Web cannot be effectively blocked or censored. As a long time Silicon Valley high tech executive, I understand this optimistic view, but the facts on the ground are now providing serious evidence that the Internet is under attack, and may not survive unless there is a significant shift in these new trends.

The Wall Street Journal has highlighted this commencement speech, and I thought it so good, I had to share it here with my UBC Management students. It is at least as good as Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement address, and it was also given in the same year, 2005.

I came across this book during my most recent visit to the UBC Vancouver campus. As good as I think this book is at focusing attention, in workbook style, on the importance of market and industry analysis, there is an issue that I think is not adequately addressed by any model or theory: not Porter, not STEEP or SWAT. Convergence is the issue.

I started this post to make a relative mundane point for UBC Management students about the importance of making their presentations easily understandable, particularly when they involve lots of numbers or spreadsheet data. But after mulling over the post for a few days, I realized that this is a much bigger story.

My UBC Faculty of Management students will recall that I said that Bill Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention was memorable. I also predicted that Clinton’s speech would be remembered and analyzed as one of the great communication events in recent years. Now that the dust has settled and the smoke cleared from the U.S. Presidential election, it is also much clearer what was important and what was not. It is even more clear now, with the passage of time, and the elimination of all the emotion. Below is the Wall Street Journal’s glowing assessment of Clinton’s speech. Coming from the WSJ, one must admit that their opinion carries even greater weight because a Rupert Murdoch owned publication is not expected to show much admiration for anything to the left of Karl Rove.