My Negative Outlook

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

My Negative Outlook

It has been pointed out that I tend to have a negative outlook. I don't know how fair that statement is but I'll give you my view of the world.

I'm an American. This is the greatest country in the world. The potential here is limitless. And we have a bunch of Creatives and really bright minds. Unfortunately, we also live in a society that favors short-term versus long-term thinking.

I was a Chemist for over 6 years (Glaxo, Bayer, Oil of Olay and BIC). In Pharma, you see huge potential and unfortunately huge disappointment. No, I don't mean when a clinical trial fails and the company loses tens of millions. I mean, the way the FDA works WITH the Industry.  The other huge let down is the way Pharma isn't about Cures but about maintenance of illness. There's less money in cures.

So on the one hand, we have this great country filled with boundless potential. WOOT!

Then we have government and the totally screwed up political system undermined by special interests and lobbyists for those special interests. What was once a Of the People, By the People, For the People has become of, by and for the select few who buy it. They aren't called F-Agencies for nothing.

What's the theme here? I see boundless potential constantly going to waste. I have high expectations that repeatedly go unmet.

Now let's take telecom. Boundless buckets of cash. R&D gets replaced by lobbyists and lawyers who fight for laws and rule changes instead of just living up to the countless promises made to every state PSC in the nation since 1999. In other words, build the broadband networks that ratepayers financed with rate increases granted to ILEC's for the express purpose of broadband build-out.

Think about this: over $7B per year goes into the Universal Service Fund (USF) and is funnelled back to ILEC's and others willy-nilly to pay for landline voice service; Internet Access in libraries and schools; and rural healthcare. RUS hands out grants and loans annually to the tune of $3B. In just 5 years, that's $50B in hand outs. Shouldn't we already have broadband across the land, un-metered and at least 6MB x 1MB by now?

Innovation. We have a dirth of PhD candidates. Who wants to go to graduate school adding tens of thousands of dollars in loans to the tens of thousands in loans already collected for a Bachelor's degree that can't get you the dream job?

Bell Labs has a history of innovation. It used to employ tens of thousands. Last I head, it has less than 1000 PhD's. As Slashdot states, "The great labs of this era--Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, and IBM's labs--were places with massive budgets, where the world's top scientists were invited to pursue "blue sky" research into areas with no immediately apparent commercial applications. The facilities were state-of-the-art, and there was no pressure from management or shareholders to do anything but science for science's sake."

And today we are a precipous. We need ubiquious, reliable broadband to an unencumbered, open Internet. Why? Because we are competing daily for jobs (hence, money) with a global workforce willing to work on a laptop with wi-fi anywhere in the world. And most folks don't get that.

You think just the Fortune 5000 outsource jobs and dollars? Everyone who uses eLance, Guru, Rent-a-coder, et al is likely hiring someone outside the US. Oh, that 4-hour work week guy? He also sends dollars he earns in the US to India. He encourages it. So for our unemployed to make a living someday, they will need new skills, a competitive edge, broadband, and a computer.

We are slowly becoming a service economy of freelancers. We need to wrap our heads around what that is going to mean.

So my outlook may seem pessimistic, negative, cynical, etc. What it really is is disappointment, frustration, and realism. I'm disappointed that I saw the housing bubble but 99% of the people didn't. I'm not the brightest guy in the world. I know way too many people who are far more gifted than me. But I also have high expectations for myself, society, and my country. Expectations that go unmet daily because of stupidity, short sightedness, greed and laziness. In 2000, I said that if we didn't fix certain things - healthcare, Medicare, Social Security to name a few - we would be screwed. Welcome to my brain. I see this stuff coming. I can't fix it alone. I watch it happen. That's frustration.

I do try to balance that seemingly negative outlook with ideas on how to fix it. On what is missing. On what direction may be a way to go. I hope that helps to balance things out. And that's an hour inside my head. (Nice to get that on paper)> Thanks!

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