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ELC... Newt, can you hear us now?

I have to head back over to ELC for the last half-day of the conference, and overall, I think this has been a big success... and I'll post more later, but one funny thing from lunch yesterday...

The lunch speaker was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, but rather then being here in Williamsburg, he was on a video link. Unfortunately, the video -- well, not great. Newt sounded fine, but the video was so choppy that we would get one video shot about every 15- to 20-seconds. One person at my table wispered, "Dial-up." And, in fact, I was at a table with representatives from two major telecom companies and they started pointing fingers at one another saying, "This must be your network."

At one point in Newt's presentation, he said, "I want to slow down for a second." I'm pretty sure he was talking about the subject matter, but it got a big laugh in the room.

Later on, Jim Beaupre, the 2006 ELC industry chairman, was introducing President Bush impersonator, Steve Bridges, who was pre-recorded. So they had a red phone set up on stage that rings. Beaupre answers and is talking to the President and quips, "You want to talk to them? Well, this didn't work so well earlier."

I have been in the midst of reading the prade of Iraq books -- Woodwards, Fisaco, Cobra 2... there are others -- but one of the things that comes through constantly is that the Iraq was was the first war where there was widespread use of secure video conferencing technologies. It allowed the administration to have discussions from whereever they are in the world. (Yes, one person here suggested that if the video was as good as the Newt video, it would explain our current situation in Iraq. Ouch!) I suspect that the video worked better than the Newt video did, right?

Unfortunately the video problems took away from an interesting presentation by Newt. (Bridges was pre-recorded, so he was very funny.)

Newt said he expects the pace of technology to increase even more rapidly as time goes on if, for no other reason then because of the number of scientists in the world today. And he said that the United States will find real competition from countries like China and India.

One of the great things about these conference is you get great reading recommendations... and Newt had three, but I only got two of the three.

* Moneyball by Michael Lewis... This book has something of a cult following. I love Lewis and read pretty much anything he writes, but this book is about the Oakland A's and how the team's manager uses metrics to do more with less -- get better performance out of his players.

* The Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic by Peter Knobler... about New York's successful efforts to reduce crime. (Hint: They apparently used metrics.)

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 31, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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