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ITEXPO: Carly Fiorina

I’m sitting in Carly Fiorina’s keynote at ITEXPO.  She’s speaking without slides, and she’s doing a great job of it.  Her theme at this point is that industries are merging and that customers are in charge.  It used to be that the regulator existed to protect customers from the service providers, but not anymore.

If the customer is really in charge, what does that mean?


Every physical process and all analog content will become digital, mobile, virtual, personal.  The classic example is VoIP, but what about photography, music — all that goes on in entertainment.  Think about some hard problems — healthcare — digital, mobile, virtual, personal.  Access to care when they need it, where they need it, and how they need it.

It’s all about horizontal collaboration models.  Increasingly, in every industry, innovation occurs at the interfaces.  Vertical products, processes and industries are moving to horizontal collaboration models.  That’s where the real innovation occurs.  In the 20th century, decisions flowed up and down.  In the 21st century, decisions aren’t being made in vertical silos.  They’re being made across organizations.

The customer is in charge, because of all the choices. 

Globalization is another trend.  She feels that the US is behind because it’s so insular.  The US is a big enough market, that you can do business without ever leaving US shores.  However, every business is in some way dependent on products or processes outside the US, today.  The US needs to be better integrated with the rest of the world.

Let’s start with the premise that regulatory processes cannot keep pace with technology.  So, unless the job of the regulator is to slow the advancement of technology, you have to think very carefully about when you want regulatory processes to intervene. 

Regulators need to change their mindset from one of consumer protection to one of consumer enablement. 

Communications technologies are a key to competitiveness.  The regulators mindset needs to be one of enablement of consumers, enablement of industries.  The regulator needs to stop thinking nationally, and start thinking globally. 

Regulators need to think about the absolute minimum they need to do in order to enable, rather than protect. 

Carly Fiorina is an impressive speaker.  She manages to draw out the themes in her speech well, and tie them to large ideas like power, wealth, potential. 

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