Looking outward is not always easy or natural. I see this firsthand through my own life. If something isn’t a part of your day-to-day routine or perspective considering its impact on the bigger picture can be a challenge. Last night I had a chat with Chris Brogan about how the tech community, for example, struggles with looking outward. He beat me to the punch, posting on our conversation early this morning.
Going beyond Chris’s suggestion of solving real-world problems, I wonder why groups are so resistant to recognizing the impact of outside influences. Last year at Gnomedex, a couple of the presentations had political overtones, which seemed to infuriate some of the attendees. Some of the feedback boiled down to, “Why are we talking politics at a tech conference?”
Why not talk politics at a tech conference? Despite our preferences otherwise, the potential impact of outside influences on the tech world is huge. Political issues that directly impact the tech community include: media consolidation, net neutrality, internet taxes, patent applications, and copyright enforcement/duration.
Technology, and every other industry, doesn’t have the luxury of operating in a silo, focusing only inward on the cool toys. Despite our desire to maintain the purity of our sandboxes, too many outside forces are at work trying to muck things up for the rest of us. If we aren’t proactive and willing to address related issues, political or otherwise, someone else will do it for us, often in a way that doesn’t best meet our needs.