My Response to Milt’s Tweet

Milt Capps ‏@miltcapps Venture validation? #Nashville #startups & Tech talent so good they get bought and move elsewhere – natural, but not what we’re hoping for.

My response:

My major fear for a gigified Nashville (ATT, Google, Comcast, NES, whomever) is that managers|C-suites will not learn that geography doesn’t always have to matter. I feel|think that the telephonification of rural America could provide an apt parable. If we bring communication to the farm, that does not equate with the adoption of the technology. If farmer Brown insists on continuing to drive into the General Store to get his real time information then much of the value of the telephone is lost.

The European Enlightenment is another good case study. Tho @jhagel and @sgblank have caused me to more greatly appreciate the value of technology clusters (Silicon Valley) and while Michael Faraday needed the facilities of the Royal Society, today’s cloud|software products|services and tech talent often do not need a similar laboratory* (they, of course, often share a similar need for patrons). The Enlightenment spread, in part, by use of the printing press. While the coffee house effect was very important, publication allowed for non-face-to-face communication on a mass scale, for those willing to avail themselves of the opportunity. Here lies my point: just because one European city did not adapt to new technologies quickly, that didn’t mean that others (their “competition”) did not.

Now that we have the entréstructure, and the hope of gigification, it is time for us to put a laser light upon the education|modification of the Nashville legacy management culture’s reticence to adopt tech to its fullest or we are lost; lost, I say! (OK, it will continue to produce sub-optimal results).

*I find the trend of Library|MakerSpaces very intriguing

WorkIT Nashville • Hi Ed, thanks for sharing. How do you think tech could be used to change the healthcare landscape in Tennessee?

I’m open to your thoughts here because I could be way off base; I’m a teachable sort…

The Medical Banking Project (now part of HIMSS) studied this question for quite awhile. I blogged a series of topics awhile back ( ; ; ) and the HIMSS World Bank Task Force did a recent whitepaper (January 2013 – The Healthcare Payments Hub: A New Paradigm for Funds and Data Transfers in Healthcare – ). John Casillas could add a lot but the things that stand out to me are: 1) Insurers have to be willing to reimburse for eHealth, telehealth, video consults, etc. As CMS and other fedgov depts have taken steps in this direction private insurers will follow. 2) Paper needs to be taken out of the administrative process (standards for matching 835 and 837s, etc.); last stat I heard was about 94% of paper claims had to be followed up with a phone call (not sure how current that stat is). 3) In TN, for historical legal reasons, nearly all state funds have gone to folks with an intellectual disability leaving very few resources for those who have a developmental disability. Gov Haslam and the legislature have turned that around lately but a lot more needs to be done unless we want it to remain an “open secret” that if you acquire a disability, we’ll do our dead level best to dump you on the other side of any state line. My wife Deana can get anyone more details — see 4) The recent TN Broadband Summit spotlighted the reality the folks who can benefit most from technology (I’m thinking health over IP here) tend to be in those places where incumbent broadband providers can least afford to build out. The FCC e-rate program could theoretically help but right now it isn’t structured optimally. We’ll have to see what happens after Genachowski and McDowell are replaced. 5) The possibilities for economic development along these are stifled by tax structure (in just abut every state) because unless a project (which might hire many knowledge workers, in this case, healthcare related) actually causes someone to build or buy real estate (the way we capture revenue of the type that shows up in local econ dev employees metrics — and hence the way they keep their job, earn a bonus) it doesn’t count as “real revenue”. So you can have a situation like the Gig City where everyone could be using a software like BOINC or CPUsage for distributed computing on a superfast grid to build Glenn Ricart’s (US-Ignite) neighborhood supercomputer for medical research to cure cancer (say sponsored St. Judes) but under the current tax scheme that’s not a “real business”. Does any of this make sense to anyone else? 6) Obviously, I haven’t even touched mPayments coupled with mHealth. I realize I hop around here a bit from topic to topic — but maybe it will get a discussion a bit further down the path.

UPDATE: Just saw this – After FDA’s mobile medical apps final guidance, what’s next? –

Colleagues are something for which to be thankful

It is a mixed blessing being a technologist theist. The best part is that it gives you someone to be ultimately thankful to for the many assets provided in these times in which we live.

Colleagues are good things. Jim Long and the programmers at GM Spring Hill Manufacturing (Compuware, EDS, GM, Xerox before my time) taught me how to divide a software problem up into modules (functional concepts in classic VB); Mike Mancour and Lonnie Harriford how the same approach can be applied well to team programming. Greg Wernke taught me to QA with diligence. John Casillas pointed me in the open source direction with a comment while working with the late John Hardin on the COMBAT initiative. Mark Charleton crystallized the business case for adopting frameworks. Freddie O’Connell mentioned he thought of me when he saw an API story, a theme which continues to resonate. David Siegel, John Hagel, John Seely Brown, Kingsley Idehen have enlightened me re: the Pull approach. There are so many more of you (too numerous to mention) which make each day land in the hope side of the ledger vs. despair. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and thanks for the gifts you’ve already given me.

RANT: The Discussion is about local tax authorities, C-Suite conveniences, not job growth

Milt Capps @miltcapps
Nashville needs to have “gravitational pull” for IT pro’s, says @tractor supply CEO Wright @lipscomb NBJ event @kateo @entrecenter @ed_dodds

Ed Dodds @ed_dodds
@miltcapps sf & ny have “pull” – they also have much inter firm job hopping; time for management to drop geo-lock #Terabit #Ethernet #Fiber

What we need is a completely different way to think about capturing the national gray markets and organized crime revenues (the “cash” economies). A national sales tax which is proportioned by person so that my city gets x%, my county gets y%, my state gets z% could be a corrective. Some other tool might work better.

Why this matters
All cities and states are concerned about bringing HQs of businesses to their TAX JURISDICTION; they only care about job creation and growth in so far as it can be TAXED. This is a Zero Sum game between states and the US ranks lower in disclosure technology adoption than many other regimes, so it doesn’t bode well internationally either (from an investor’s standpoint).

Innovation isn’t geo-locked, tends to be collaborative — @BobMetcalfe talks about (single) research universities, @jhagel and JSB talk about Innovation Clusters like Silicon Valley (note: “innovation cluster” is shorthand for lazy VCs won’t hop on a plane or drive 20 minutes–and more realistically “a place with a track record of hefty DoD investment”). Kennedy spaceshots, explorations to Mars and Alpha Centauri — whatever builds the rocket engines for the contractors. Oh, weapons of mass distraction in Iran before a presidential election, you say?

The Valley and Wall Street definitely have benefits (the first of which is that’s where the VCs and hedge funds are). But if you look at the success of global open source distributed development model (which, of course, isn’t the only one) then you see that business geo-lock is a function of revenue collection, not what’s best for the foundation platforms upon which innovation is built. Again, as Jim Clifton of Gallop points out, innovation without demand is meaningless. Hence the reliance on DoD, the only bipartisanly blind part of the fedgov budget guaranteed to grow. [You want electronic medical record adoption, then militarize heathcare (or nationalize {Jed Bartlett}) see WorldVista, Va, DoD].

Current corporate goals are 1) concentration of compensation in the C-Suite (Chomsky asserts most wealth since 2007 went to the top .1%–I realize I’m conflating and sloppy logicing here due to anecdotes), 2) reduction of corporate investment in local social safety nets (workmans comp, other disabilities related charitable service support in proportion to employee utilization, shedding of legacy pension fund liabilities 3) taking advantage of globalization where regulatory laxity and judicial corruption literally allow a firm to get away with murder (see Apple and Foxconn suicides). Until “Say on Pay” is legalized in the US (with legal force not just “suggestions”–and stock holders grow a conscience), that won’t change.

Vote Technotarian ;-)

Next RANT: Corps refuse to invest in HR Innovation to take advantage of alternative learning path credentialing (I see you’ve graduated from Khan Academy, can cure cancer, but you don’t seem to have a four year degree ;-()

A: Because You Don’t ROWE Q: Why Can’t Tennessee Innovate? [Update]

Why Nashville Companies Are Targeting Tweens For High-Tech Jobs BY ALISSA WALKER | 07-09-2012

See here for news on ROWE in Nashville. Nicholas Holland demonstrates with his ROWE notes.

My older ROWE related posts here.

# # # #

Mar 13, 2012

What good do personal clouds and corporate data hives, aquihires and crowdsourcing to meet your needs (as HR continues to stumble around trying to hire long-term individuals for short-term projects, meanwhile preparing for the year-end mass layoffs which inexorably ensue) if your managers cannot get past their love affair of physical MBWA when your employees are enculturated to do their best work in virtual innovation clusters and collaboratories (see article comments) which take place in a SecondLife CoLab or some such? What good does it do to build a city-wide innovation grid  infrastructure or a country-wide innovation cyber space if you still expect your employees to waste an hour of their day driving to and from a cube which holds a desktop computer when they have a speedier, more robust laptop at home? 1) Learn about Results Only Work Environments. 2) Invest in them. 3) Use them.

Want Innovation? Study Israel

Why Israel?

Israel has evolved from a primarily agricultural economy to an enterprising technology innovator and producer. Home-grown entrepreneurship, effective government support and venture capital have combined to make Israel a research and development hub, with local industry complementing the approximately 220 R&D centers of multinational corporations, including Alcatel, Deutsche Telecom, Cisco, Google, HP, Merck, Microsoft, IBM, Intel. These global companies bring to Israel international standards for quality and service, and serve as training grounds for some of Israel’s top technological and managerial talent.

Israel spends 4.5% of its GDP on R&D, more than any country in the world. It has over 3,800 technology-based startup companies – more than any other country other than the US . Israel ranks second in the world in technology companies listed on NASDAQ, after the US, with over 70 companies per Israel’s population of seven million people. Venture capital funds worldwide have invested 2.5 times more funds in Israeli start-ups than in US-based ones.

With the world’s highest percentage of engineers and scientists in the workforce, Israel records the fifth highest number of patent filings per capita and leads the world in patents for medical equipment. In recent years, six Israeli scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize. The country is ranked third in the world in terms of quality of scientific research institutions, and first in total public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP.

Israeli home-grown technological breakthroughs include ICQ, which pioneered and popularized instant messaging; flash memory and the USB memory stick from MSystems (bought by SanDisk); CheckPoint, which invented the Internet Firewall; IP Telephony by VocalTec; ZIP compression technology by a pair of professors at the Technion, Israel’s Technology Institute; and the ingestible camera from Given Imaging.

The Israeli government played an instrumental role in nurturing this environment. Israel’s high-tech would not have gotten off the ground were it not for its enlightened government policies. Policy makers determined that the future of the country’s economy lay in knowledge-based industries and that the necessary R&D would be fraught with risk.

Text stolen from here.

Women Who Tech Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM (ET)

Event Details

The 4th annual Women Who Tech TeleSummit will take place on May 23, 2012 via phone and web. Just like our past three sold out TeleSummits, this one will be packed with some of the most thought provoking discussions led by the most passionate and talented women in tech, startups, and social media including startup investor Joanne Wilson, WordPress usability expert Jane Wells of Automattic, Shaherose Charania, of Founders Labs and Women 2.0, Shireen Mitchell of Digital Sistats, Elisa Camahort Page, of BlogHer, Kaliya Hamlin of She’s Geeky and many more.

Women Who Tech brings together talented and renowned women breaking new ground in technology who use their tech savvy skills to transform the world and inspire change. We provide a supportive network for the vibrant and thriving community of women in technology professions by giving women an open platform to share their talents, experiences, and insights.


Funding Your Own Startup

  • Joanne Wilson, Investor
  • Amanda Steinberg, Founder, DailyWorth
  • Pemo Theodore, Startup Coach
  • Amy Errett, Maveron

Failing Fast and Agile Development

  • Tara Hunt Co-founder of Buyosphere
  • Sarah Allen, Blazing Cloud
  • Shaherose Charania, Founders Labs and Women 2.0
  • Jen Conalvo, Co-Founder, Tech Cocktail

Changing the World with Open Source

  • Sarah Novotny, O’Reilly Media
  • Jane Well, Master of Suggestion, Automattic,
  • Liz Henry, Web Developer, BlogHer
  • Arthur Richards, Software Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation,

Harnessing Your Power

  • Susan Mernit, Co-Founder, Oakland Local
  • Lynne Johnson, Director of Strategy and Engagement, Whispr Group, Inc.
  • Elisa Camahort Page, Co-Founder, BlogHer
  • Jill Foster, Founder, Live Your Talk

Using Technology and Social Media to Build Social Movements

  • Claire Diaz Ortiz, Social Innovation, Twitter
  • April Pedersen, Co-Founder, Salsa Labs
  • Michael Silberman, Global Director of Digital Innovation, Greenpeace International
  • Amy Sample Ward, Director of Membership, NTEN

Digital Rights and Online Privacy

  • Jon Pincus, Co-Founder, Qweries
  • Kaliya Hamlin, Founder, She’s Geeky
  • Sarah Granger, Consultant
  • Laurel Ruma, O”Reily Media

Diversifying your Tech Teams

  • Cathryn Posey, Tech By Superwoman
  • Kriselle Laran, Bullfrog Media
  • Adria Richards, Developer Evangelist, SendGrid
  • Shireen Mitchell, Founder, Digital Sistas

Women in International Tech

  • Beth Kanter, Author and Trainer
  • Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Ph.D Founder and Executive Director, Akili Dada
  • Heather Ramsey, Director Women’s Leadership Program, IIE and TechWomen Program

Fireside Chat

  • Moderated by Cathy Brooks
  • DiAnn Eisnor,

Sponsored by Rad Camapign, Blackbaud, NTEN, Salsa Labs, Singlebrook Technology, Women 2.0, and BlogHer

Apparently Cybersecurity is important to the US economy, the Congress learns

H. R. 2096 To advance cybersecurity research, development, and technical standards,
and for other purposes.

Also, planning related to a national strategy concerning “HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING” and “NETWORKING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY”, and stuff like IT, Big Data, etc. is worth investing in at a national level.

H. R. 3834 To amend the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 to authorize activities for support of networking and information technology research, and for other purposes.

Transit Now Nashville to Benefit From Upcoming Coding Competition

NTC Weekend HackAThon will support the tech needs of the local non-profit


[ed.note: Now the Nashville Technology Council, the Entrepreneur Center, the Community Foundation and the Center for Nonprofit Management need to collaborate to establish several fellowships funding the salaries of techies within Nashville nonprofit organizations for 2 years to help them adopt 1) standards and 2) the cloud, open source (or similar appropriate technologies), and 3) develop an integration scheme with other area (and global) NPOs/NGOs. #NashTechCorps]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – March 27, 2012 – The Nashville Technology Council today announced that the non-profit, Transit Now Nashville, will benefit from the upcoming HackAThon taking place the weekend of May 11-14, 2012. Despite the negative connotation sometimes associated with hacking, a HackAThon is about using software development talent for good, not evil, purposes. Programmers, software engineers, designers, or anyone else who is passionate about using technology to create something new and useful will be working through the weekend to win bragging rights and cash prizes. Nashville’s EMMA e-mail marketing company is providing the venue for the weekend-long event.


“We are thrilled to be selected by the NTC to benefit from the HackAThon. As a small non-profit, our technology needs far exceed our available resources. Knowing the level of creativity and passion in Nashville’s tech community, we are sure that Transit Now will benefit greatly from the outcome of this event,” stated Cliff Lippard, President, Transit Now Nashville Board of Directors. He went on to say, “Transit Now is always seeking ways to make public transportation more user friendly and we believe this opportunity will do that.”


The idea to hold a competitive style HackAThon in Nashville came from many sources including local business leaders who are looking for developers. “I believe a HackAThon will foster the local software development community and build awareness of the high demand for software developers and engineers,” stated Stephen S. Hau, President and CEO, Shareable Ink. His statement regarding the growing need for developers is supported by the NTC Tech Jobs Report, which found more than 1,000 open tech positions in Middle Tennessee in the last quarter of 2011. The highest demand for tech employees is consistently in the area of software development.


With a vision to help Middle Tennessee become known worldwide as a leading technology community, the Nashville Technology Council is devoted to helping the tech community succeed. Membership is open to technology companies, technology employers, service providers, educational institutions, and non-profit companies interested in supporting the growth of technology businesses in Middle Tennessee.