Saturday, May 30, 2009

World Affairs Council

At the end of the week, I took part in a presentation and panel discussion at the World Affairs Council in Seattle[1]. The presentation was not one of my finer moments, having a slide deck that wasn't supporting my train of thought--a train that did not fit the tracks! My colleagues were far more lucid. Pasteur got it right: "chance favors the prepared mind."

The moment of redemption came when we were asked to forecast where technology would be in five years for nonprofits and the countries in which we work. I said three things that echoed my remarks at the Microsoft panel earlier in the week[2]:
  1. We will likely get it wrong; we therefore need more humility;
  2. “good-enough” mobile phones will likely be the dominant technology platform; and
  3. innovations will likely come from emerging countries in a way that will drive innovation in the west, turning the development path upside down.
We will do well to look at emerging country uses of technology as a leading indicator. And I will take another look at my emerging slide deck.[3]
[2] See the May 19 entry, here:
See the revised deck on my presentations page, here:


  1. Ed, Microsoft and Google both have data centers that are the size of 11-12 football fields.. They are run by approx 35 people each and that includes the cleaning crew. How does this change IT in the next five years? Drastically! The cloud changes everything. :) IT becomes a whole different game and the game is not about owning hardware or employees, it’s about energy.. Hope you are well.
    Gavin Preis
    Training Intelligence

  2. The Cloud is very attractive as the new horizontal data center and server farm; it's also attractive for an open front end to extend your environment out to stakeholders, but it is not ready for prime time for vertical business applications. None of the vertical SaaS apps, for example, have passed our fundamental criteria yet. That will change, but is now the key gating item for cloud competing in the NGO sector. --Ed

  3. Have a look.