To our pride and delight, ActiveWords has been invited to PC Forum in Scottsdale. I am sitting about 8 rows back from a conversation between Esther Dyson and Jerrry Yang of Yahoo. Esther is asking hard questions about Yahoo in China. Yang’s response, is that it isn’t Jerry vs. the Government of China.
There have been two other speakers, Howard Gardner and Andy Stern, the President of SEIU, i.e. Service Employees International Union. I have analog notes, will transcribe and post them later.
Moving 500 million people from country side to the city in China. Scale of problems is our problem with another zero behind. The Chinese can’t forget the outcome. Yahoo has 160 million regisered users world wide.
Esther..Yahoo bigger than Walmart.
Jerry… Yahoo is optional, start from zero every day. Have to find users trust. Internet allows for tremendous opportunity for individual expression. Start seeing very famous people blogging. Dan Gillmor has built a brand around himself. One way will be a big part, but point and counter point will change the dynamic.
Esther…which way are you heading?
Jerry… Where is Yahoo’s direction, can Yahoo build a platform around a community of users? A good example of trying to marry content with medium. Sees the web as a creative audience for the best stuff in the world. A relationship business.
Esther…content around creating a platfom?
Jerry…Take creative people, and let them loose, that’s where it gets interesting.
Esther…How much comes from within and how much is acquired?
Jerry…Has to come from within, because if you try to buy, you will run out of money. Still on acquistion and partnership route…Yahoo can be a good home. Can’t buy for defensive reasons!
Esther…keeps running into people at Yahoo who were acquired.
Jerry…Yahoo just acquired Flickr? Case where liked the product and liked the team! Yahoo mail…larger and larger feature set. How do you become more open. Users felt that Yahoo was something they used, but not something they participated in.
Esther..business should be easier as users tell you what to do?
Each is talking about courage, about mentors. Stern, problem in all of our lives is that we are very busy with our lives. Stern, having the discussion about how we reward people for their work. Need new models, absence of unions is a problem. Hoping smarter people will give him advice!
Gardner…very different what people think is courageous as compared to what you do/think. People at Harvard are fearful to say publicly what they are saying privately.
Yang….Can’t argue with the fact that we have a crappy education system. Question is how we get it done! Defining the role of government around these issues. Yang apparently is a new father. I wonder if he will send his kid to a public school.
Gardner…Want to engage Andy on education issue Successful countries vis a vis education.
a. real parental involvement
b. professionalization of teachers
c. media….(?) Took the TV out of the house until his kid was 10!
Stern….parallel school system to private schools, i.e. parochial schools
Any system that depends on 2 million teachers to be great teachers..is doomed.
The panel has turned into a discussion of public schools!
Stern…world has changed, institutions have failed. No real basis for unions on a firm based basis. Have to get into game, by persuasion rather than a persuasion of power. Competition matters. Education needs more of McDonalds version.
Gardner…America too larger and diverse for there to be one best system, i.e. Jesse test, you can’t please Jesse Helms, Jesse Jackson and Jesse Ventura.
Esther…feed back loop really matters.
Yang’s mother teaches adults to speak/read English. They want to learn. Technology by itself is not the answer. Would love to throw technolgy at the problem.
Stern…People are so fed up with system, including those in it. Making the opportunity for the parents to go to the parent teacher conferences..
Running out of power…more to come later.