Living in a DIY World

Images My friend sent me the editorial that Tom Friedman wrote this week called "The Start-Up of You".  Over the past few years I have stopped reading the editorials like I used to for many reasons.  My other friend and I were texting and she said that I should read the article too and that I would love it.  I texted her back saying that I did and Friedman was spot on and she replied "We are living in a DYI world".  She is so right.

For the last week I have been thinking about a conversation that my brother and I had about the state of the world particularly the state of our Government.  This is one of the comments that Friedman brings up in his article.  The Government is living in a generation that doesn't exist anymore.  As a nation we started going digital about thirty years ago (beginning with the ATM card) and have been going a mile a minute since then.  Our Government is still living in an analog world. 

The Internet has changed everything.  It has changed the way people do business and it has changed the way people grow their businesses particularly ones that use tech as a platform or build applied technologies to transform the way we use the net.  In the first iteration of the web, companies needed a lot of cash to grow and a lot of people.  Now in order to create companies that have significant value, as in what the company is worth, you don't need that many people to make it happen or do you need that much cash to grow the organizations.  Most of the people who work in these "new" companies such as Google, Zynga, Tumblr, Twitter or even Dailyworth or Curbed wear many hats and are happy to do it.  They are of the DIY and 24/7 generation who continue to reinvent themselves and incorporate work into their daily lives and it doesn't matter what time of day or night that they get done what they need to get done.  It is culture of these communities.

Let's to back to the conversation with my brother.  How do we change the Government to think about change for the 9+% of Americans out of jobs.  How do we get the Government to be more efficient although in the short term there would be significant job loss if the Government actually went digital.  The majority of growth prior to the Obama years was created with Government jobs particularly in defense.

How about having Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Google and a few of the other large companies who are living in the present work together to bring the back end of our Government into the year 2011.  We would give them each significant tax benefits to do this vs many of the tax benefits that are given to companies that I am not so sure deserve them.  It would revolutionize our Government.  To me, this is no different than Obama attempting to give many of the states money to create high speed trains to change transportation in this country.  We need to think about the future and not live in the past or quite frankly the present. 

Years ago we went to a small event for a group of Senators.  When we talked about making changes today that would make a difference in the next 10 years, the answer was a resounding no because all the politicians have to think about getting re-elected today instead about tomorrow.  That is another problem in itself.  

In the world that we live in, the DIY world, a lot is rapidly changing.  Technology is changing our economy.  Soon we will see many smaller companies take out companies that everyone thought were too big to fail and btw, nobody is too big to fail.  The Government needs to take a step back and look at the youth, see how they are thinking about their futures, their careers, their communities and their families and how they see living their lives. 

Perhaps in the end, which is the beauty of capitalism, it will be the people that change everything way before the Government does but there will be a point where without change from the Government we will get too fat, too slow, and that 9+% of unemployment will grow to 15% and it will be hard to erase because there will be too big of a digital divide which is in turn creating a big have and have nots divide too. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. TanyaMonteiro

    i think of this gap btw the have and have nots allot right now. Am reminded of Jamie Johnsons documentary “the one percent”. Not sure allot of people are actually aware of how big this problem can be for our future or is it that it’s better to ignore it and hope it goes away? hat tip to you for putting the reality out there and encouraging thought and conversation. 

  2. Steven

    Hmmm…create jobs by giving tax breaks to wealthy corporations… sounds like Michelle Bachmann’s plan. 

    1. Gotham Gal

      nothing comes for nothing. if these companies can actually change the waywe operate as a country, they deserve to get paid and we don’t have the cashto do it so a tax break makes sense. giving tax breaks to company to creategrowth is total bullshit and that is what bachmann is calling for.

      1. Steven

        Actually the GOP (and Bachmann’s) position is lower taxes for the “job creators” (wealthy individuals and corporations). Money is fungible – “not having the cash so to do it as a tax break makes sense” is spending.  (As Wimpy said to Popeye – “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”).  Do you really think that tax breaks for google will create new jobs, make it more efficient or productive in any meaningful way – aren’t they already plenty motivated to do that? 

        1. Gotham Gal

          I wouldn’t give tax breaks to any company unless they did a Job for thegovernment like retooling the way it operates

          1. Steven

            Wether paid in cash or in kind through tax breaks I am sure many corporations would be in interested in obtaining a government contract. That said, i think paying for bridges, schools, health care etc. is probably a better bang for the buck (providing jobs and retooling needed infrastructure) than hiring google to retool the way the government operates by “bringing the back end of our government into the year 2011.”  What exactly does that mean? I apologize it is just that I did not understand your post today because I couldn’t tell what it is you think Google can actually do and before giving them tax breaks (yikes – tax breaks for the rich?!) I’d like to know – plus you obviously have a great deal of knowledge of the digital world. (what is the back end of government? – does that mean back office or did you mean it more genrally as in “drag the government’s tushy into the 21st century”? 

          2. Gotham Gal

            The government doesn’t have the experts to manage the revamping of thebackend office of the government. Everything should be on line per se.To get their tushes into 2011 would take another group of people to haveinterest in running