Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend Interop and the Cloud 2020 Summit. I have lots of thoughts and themes that are converging into a solid story, and this is the blog is the first of the themes that have come out of that event for me.
To set the stories up, I first have to talk about my passionate outburst during the #Cloud2020 session “The Economics and Use Case of Federated Clouds”. The goal of the session was to “make some sense in terms of economics of how it is going to play out and also discuss some use cases around the idea”. So they discussed cloud as a platform and the economic theories that could drive that. Mainly capitalism vs. communism. My suggestion is that we are leaving out older economic theories, mainly indigenous | substinence economic models.
During the panel, I questioned why the same old tired economic theories were being discussed. Why is it still a binary discussion, with no dissent or deviation, even when the plans we are discussing will impact every person on this earth. What are our responsibilities as we think of the economies of the cloud?
I say that it is vital that we have a healthy, vigorous dialogue that is truly diverse. One definition of diverse is where the environment is open enough that all the questions can be asked. I’m not sure we are there yet. (Yeah this is gonna be long, please read on!).
I told the panel there was a problem when all day none of the speakers had included women, multiple races, or representatives of different classes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: this is not an anti-man, they didn’t include us, blah blah blah post. I know the organizers. I know this is not how they think or operate, and indeed they invited women who had to back out because of other commitments. I also know I could have been/shouldbe more participatory…the responsibility is not just with the men or the organizers.
I was approached afterward by someone who felt attacked by my words. I apologized for that, told him I was sincerely sorry and that wasn’t my intention.But he made sure to let me know that specifically had felt attacked because I called out the lack if women (even though my point was the lack of diversity). He then told me something that really has stuck with me.
He told me if I wanted to get ahead, I should stop pointing out that I’m a woman.
He entirely missed the point I was making, probably because it made him uncomfortable. Whether he knows it or not, he went on to do what’s been done to reinforce the power system for centuries…he told me if I wanted to prosper in the capitalistic society we are ruled by that I needed to hush. Quit rocking the boat. Don’t call attention to the obvious gaps.
I know that’s not what he intended. But it was the net effect of his words. I know it’s because he felt threatened by my words and ideas. And I fell into the same role I’ve always assumed as that familiar scene played out.
I didn’t mean to make him feel threatened. But that’s his issue to deal with, not mine. I didn’t say anything wrong by calling out the obvious. It should be obvious to everyone that when we talk about he future of IT, we are talking about something that will impact all of humanity. We should understand that there will be unintended consequences that may impact disenfranchised societies. It’s our responsibility as the creators of these new ways to manipulate information to insist that all the questions be asked before we settle on the new normal for communications. We need to insist on a truly diverse conversation about these issues.
I can say without a doubt that the Cloud 2020 summit is one of the best events I’ve attended in ages. It gave me an opportunity to connect and think and talk about some important issues that are near and dear to my heart. I’m very grateful I walked away from the experience and event feeling so empowered. I think that says alot about that event, and about that community.
So, with that out of the way, in my next post I want to start talking about the concept of the social economy – one used by indigenous and subsistence societies.