As a college kid way back in the 90s I saw the tremendous potential of this Internet thing to centralize information and ease communication. It’s why I got into IT. And I wanted to get as deep into it as possible. I didn’t just want to make websites or design video games, I wanted to be on the backend, handling major enterprise servers and “mainframes”. I wanted to be where the real action was. Massive databases, enterprise e-mail systems, massive interactive websites.
Turns out that was a good instinct. Even now as so many smaller enterprises are getting hosted by larger enterpises, I’m still running the servers on the backend.
It’s also given me some insights as to what’s possible and necessary for our political life.
Because while the private has grown by leaps and bounds, the public sector is just embarrassing. Hillary’s e-mail scandal is a facepalm, from a techie’s perspective. Then there was the Obamacare website fiasco. And I wrote about LA’s bid for citywide free wifi, something they posted at $5 billion. I said I could easily take a couple zeros off that price.
See, the internet is cheap. It’s just servers and wires. In the private sector we work miracles on a shoestring budget. It’s what we do. Government doesn’t seem to get the hint. It all seems so insular, they just hand contracts to people they know who aren’t really good at what they do, and nobody has a clue how to do it. There’s no competition, so there’s no innovation.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles it’s really easy to feel disconnected from politics. Politicians seem so abstract and detached in such a huge city, we wonder what we have to do with them, if anything.
So when politicians like Barack Obama or Donald Trump show a flair for reaching out to people over the internet, they have a decided advantage over those who are still relying on 20th century methods. There is no reason we can’t catapult our entire political system into the age of the Internet.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit are only the beginning. We can easily make government sites more interactive, make town hall meetings online, send out more services online so people no longer need to trek to City Hall to be heard.
I want to spearhead this movement in government. I know I can do it better than anyone.