Tech Community Worthless to Economic Recovery

One of the most notable things about the dot com bubble burst is that the innovations and technologies established in the late 90s and early 2000s spurned the comeback of the economy and the establishment of a new economy of business and internet value. We called it, for better or for worse, Web 2.0 and it was marked by stark innovations in human interaction driven largely by the glut of bandwidth provided by undersea cables laid in the 90s. The technology that, arguably, caused the downturn that resulted in so many dot-com bombs, became the impetus for a new generation of business and spending.

Unfortunately, this new generation of internet technology, technologists and startups is so far not demonstrating any ability to lay the groundwork for the economic recovery and innovation. Instead, we continue to focus on “teh Twitter”, and marketing gimmicks played out by celebrities like Ashtun Kutcher and Oprah. We talk about the new look and feel of Friendfeed, seen Friendfeed focusing on making what we know better, but ignoring the very impetus for economic recovery proven time again – innovation. Something new. Something radical. Something that challenges the basis of the cultural and societal problems in existence that generate the economic problems affecting everyone, not just a subset of the population existing in a subset of the worlds geography.

In the 1930s, the United States (and by proxy, the world) faced the worst economic crisis in modern history (one could make the argument that the Dark Ages were actually centuries old and worse than anything generated by modern economic recessions). It wasn’t until society was forced to innovate, via programs instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt, that the economy began to recover.

Silicon Valley, as bubble-like as it is, has been the center of innovation in the technology world, for several economic cycles now. In every case in the past 20 years, the impetus for technology growth and recovery, can be categorized by new ideas, new companies doing new things. They don’t rehash the same cycles. They haven’t focused on the same ideas. They start over building from the plateau left from the cycle before – utilizing prior technologies and developing completely new things.

This is innovation and this is not what is happening in this cycle. Instead, the technology world talks about celebrity races to 1 Million Twitter followers. They talk about the mainstream adoption of these technologies. We live in years of yore, still conversing about how Obama won the White House using social media – as if that fact will somehow change our world.

We still talk about advertising on blogs, as if advertising sales are somehow going to spur economic recovery, despite a regression in advertising spending across the board. We still build companies based on an idea that free is a valuable asset.

BREAKING NEWS: The economy spins out of control while people keep spinning stupid ideas worthy of 2001.

It’s time to get smart about business. It’s time to start applying the entrepreneurial spirit that we claim as important to our culture. It’s time for the technology community to actually be important to the economy. It’s time to stop expecting that the President will call upon us as a community of change and innovation, when all we can do is talk about publicity stunts by celebrities.

Grow up, people. Get real about making a difference. Maybe we can actually get this country and this world moving again if we stop being stupid. Maybe. We are not necessarily the chosen ones. That right must be earned.

But Once You're Gone, You Don't Come Back

Here’s the question of the day. If your name is mentioned in some kind of conversation, whether on the internet or offline, how do people identify you? Are you the founder of a company that does something? Are you a blogger? Photographer?

When they hear your name, do they associate you with a movement? Are you an expert in something? Does your reputation put you in a position of leadership or authority? Are you, like the guy I met a few weeks ago, an I.T. Project Manager?

Does your job identify you? Do you find your value – heck, do others find your value – in what you do or what you are associated with?

If the answer to any of these questions are “Yes”, you have failed. The good news is, that’s not the end of the story. More after the jump
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Tax Day Open Thread

Today is April 15th, one of the worst days of the year for Americans. It’s the day that the tax man comes calling. If you’re lucky, you’re getting a refund. If not, you owe the government. The problem, of course, is the tax code. Taking up over 57,000 pages, the taxcode is altered yearly. Pieced together and never built with a cohesive, all-encompassing forethought, it is filled with complications and confusion.

Clearly, the tax system in this country needs to be rebuilt. Ground up. Simplified. I, for one, support the idea of a flat tax, but I understand that some call that regressive, so I’m open to ideas. Something needs to happen though.

In the comments below, sound off on your feelings on the tax system in the U.S. Comments will only be moderated if things get too personal or hateful, but otherwise, I’m staying out. This is your time to be heard, and I guarantee, this post is being watched by politicians, and media organizations. Around the nation, today, the Taxpayer Teaparty movement is also occurring. While, I share some of the concerns and motives of the Teaparty movement, this action is not to be construed as associated with that movement.

With that said, the mic is now open.