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Former Cisco CEO: China, India, UK Will Lead US In Tech Race Without Action 109

Mickeycaskill writes: Former Cisco CEO John Chambers says the US is the only major country without a proper digital agenda and laments the fact none of the prospective candidates for the US Presidential Election have made it an issue. Chambers said China, India, the UK and France were among those to recognize the benefits of the trend but the US had been slow — risking any economic gains and support for startups. "This is the first time that our government has not led a technology transition," he said. "Our government has been remarkably slow. We are the last major developed country in the world without a digital agenda. I think every major country has this as one of their top two priorities and we don't. We won't get GDP increase and we won't be as competitive with our startups. The real surprise to me was how governments around the world, except ours, moved."
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Former Cisco CEO: China, India, UK Will Lead US In Tech Race Without Action

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @10:09PM (#50632985)

    that "digital agenda" means free corporate welfare from the government to pay Cisco to do what Cisco ought to be doing on its own: Make networking gear that people want to buy.

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @10:29PM (#50633073)

      This article, published on a UK site but lamenting US policy, fails to explain anything at all. It uses the words "digital" and "digitise" as vague terms to describe computing technology.

      To say that the US has no computing technology policy is ludicrous, considering the US built much of the policy that has been applied in countries around the world, so it would be helpful if the article can provide at least one example of what is deficient in the US. But that appears to be too much to ask.

      • FTA: "...has warned the USA risks falling behind other nations because its government, and one of the candidates for the Republican and Democrat nominations for the US presidency, have a clear digital agenda."

        He said government. The U.S. government does not have a technology policy and prefers to leave matters up the market. The problem is the market doesn't care about policy or direction just about profits. As long as they can shift units that's all that matters.
        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          Actually his quote says that they "have a clear digital agenda". I suppose editing is also out of the question too.

          Regardless, my point still stands. He wants the U.S. government to have a "digital" agenda, which can be almost literally anything.

          The US has already stated that it wants broadband to be a utility. It subsidizes cellular network growth in rural areas. It provides export restrictions on cryptography. It funds GPS. It provides incentives to local governments to expand the use of technology

    • "Former Cisco CEO John Chambers says the US is the only major country without a proper digital agenda "

      That's simply plain wrong.
      The USA has a well defined digital agenda it goes by, whatever the collateral problems this generates.
      And this agenda is contained in a simple sentence :
      "We Try To Collect Everything And Hang On To It Forever"

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

    • 'Agendas' are things that governments fabricate to con the people into believing that they are governing.

      Victorian Britain didn't have an 'industrial agenda' - scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and investors were far too busy creating the industrial revolution to footle around with fine words that buttered no parsnips. Brunel is the paradigm.

      The USA still seems to have something of that 'just-do-it' spirit; the day the government announces that it has a 'digital agenda' is the time to cash in your invest

      • You might want to read up on a guy called Cecil Rhodes for a more realistic picture of the Victorian version of a "military industrial complex" that created an empire where "the sun never set". The english used the railway to open up and conquer both India and Africa, much of the infrastructure they built is still in use today. Their "agenda" was simply - build more railways and exterminate anyone who objects, the US did the same thing within its own borders.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      To be fair, Cisco should expect some help from the government after the NSA fucked them so badly.

    • by creimer ( 824291 )

      Make networking gear that people want to buy.

      That's funny. Every Fortune 500 company I worked for had network closets and data centers filled with Cisco networking gear. I might see a network admin with a Juniper t-shirt every once in a blue moon.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those are the only 2 places where the money is going to come from.

    The Gov, though primarly from a specific party... wants to cut as much from Gov spending as possible. Stoke the 'Tech Race' on the Govs dime? What planet are you from?

    The Corps? They're hoarding record profits. What philanthropic bone do they have that they would benefit from this? Perhaps if it provided them tax breaks, but beyond that, the majority would scoff at the idea. And the Tech leaders? As long as they can get more people using thei

  • Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Clsid ( 564627 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @10:41PM (#50633109)

    What a bunch of nonsense. The US has by far the most developed ecosystem for tech startups, the source of real innovation, not fossils like Cisco. That there is no "digital act" in place does not mean the US is falling behind anything. I gather that was targeted for the UK to catch nationalist non-sense, but those people tend to forget who is the country that created the internet in the first place, where Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are based and in general, where most of the new cool stuff keeps getting created, from Uber to Tesla. So good luck with that envy.

    • Don't forget to mention where most of Linux source code comes from too, BTW.
    • Re:Useless (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @12:04AM (#50633333)

      I agree that this reads like nonsense - pure corporate-speak.

      “Traditional companies in this industry think linear,” he argued. “You’ve got to think exponentially. You’ve got to reinvent yourself as a leader, your organisation structure and a company.

      This is about the former Cisco CEO talking about himself and how brilliant a leader he is. I read through the entire article, and didn't get a clue as to what role the government should actually have, at least in specifics. Perhaps I'm not smart enough to think exponentially like him, so I might have missed it.

    • by Kartu ( 1490911 )

      US Patent Office is indeed the most tech startup friendly system one could imagine.
      Which is no wonder, considering US patent system is the "envy of the world":
      http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

      And lovely trend of "group X is underrepresented => it's because of discrimination" is improving the environment even more.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The UK's effort is a joke anyway. Lots of words, little meaningful action. Our de-facto telecom monopoly, BT, is doing everything in its power to hold us back with crappy copper lines when it should have installed fibre years ago. Our laws are woefully inadequate when it comes to digital content and online activity. Our government is actively anti-innovation.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @10:43PM (#50633123)

    Because it seems the US likes technology plenty. The US is a bastion of high tech research and production. Intel, AMD, nVidia, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Broadcom, IBM, most of the big names in chip technology are US companies with US R&D centers, and many of them have a lot of US production. That's just one example, you can point to plenty of other technologies that the US does a ton in, it is just a good one since those chips tend to underlie our digital devices these days.

    Same deal on the purely digital side of things, namely software. The US is a mainstay in virtually every segment of software.

    So what is this "digital agenda" that the US so desperately supposedly needs to not fall behind? Because they seem to be doing well.

    Also as an aside, what's wrong with being #2 or #3 in something? I've visited a number of other countries, and by definition not all of them are #1 at most things. They are still very nice places to live and I have no issues. Seems that between #1 and "stone age shithole" there is a whole range of "quite nice places to live". So who cares if China is #1 at something?

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Also as an aside, what's wrong with being #2 or #3 in something?

      There is nothing wrong with being #2 or #3. But the US isn't even in the same league as #2 or #3.

      For example, NYC has a population density higher than Tokyo, yet has data speeds than are a fraction of Tokyo's. Why is that? Its not for want of faster speeds, or technical capability.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        For example, NYC has a population density higher than Tokyo, yet has data speeds than are a fraction of Tokyo's. Why is that? Its not for want of faster speeds, or technical capability.

        Economics!

        The same reason we because an industrial power house to rival Europe in the 19th century. We industrialized a little later then they did. We learned the lesson the tech was evolving quickly and investing in more 'disposable' cheaper machines was better. We grew more quickly for that because did not have the over hang of to much investment in obsolete tech.

        We built a telecom network before Tokyo, with the technology we had at the time. Now we live with it because the cost to fork lift it out a

    • Supporting Sycraft's observations, let's just take one segment-- cellphone SOCs. Little-known-fact, the team at Samsung working on the next iteration of the ARM processor intended to power their next cellphone-- they're based in Austin, Texas. Sure, ARM is a British company, but strangely, they have offices in Austin, Texas, also.

      If this CISCO genius was speaking the truth, Apple would have Chinese engineers near the FOXCOM factories designing the hardware for all its mobile devices. Oh, wait- Apple has s
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Because it seems the US likes technology plenty"
      Playing computer games and slowly upgrading to faster broadband is not really the funded thinking production, educational side.
      Re: "US R&D centers, and many of them have a lot of US production."
      Mostly for branding, per state and federal tax breaks, historical, top level US security clearances, past unique gov funded educational excellence.
      Re "mainstay in virtually every segment of software"
      Who is sitting next to the emerging generation of US stud
  • It's what we "do" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @10:51PM (#50633147) Journal

    Overall, the US "style" is to let the marketplace set the pace and direction of change rather than government initiatives to "guide" the market. Whether that's good or bad is a long and complex topic.

    If the other industrial nations actually start to clearly kick our butt using government initiatives, then voters may change their usual preference.

    Besides, we have our bloated military as the govt's techie playground. It's our version of socialistic R&D, one even Republicans like.

    • Right. The military had a system for distributing "ice bucket challenges," and later that became Facebook. The military had a thing where people drove their own personal tank but acted as a taxi, and that became Uber. The Navy was taking selfies *years* before Kim Kardashian.

      • by cm5oom ( 603394 )

        All 3 of those use a computer which was originally developed for military use. All 3 of those use the internet which was originally developed for military use. And funny you should specifically say the navy for selfies since they were funding research into optics 100 years ago for range finders on battleships. Then of course there's bomb sites and spy plans and spy satellites all of which need advanced optics.

        • Wow, so 50 years ago you would have had a great point!

        • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

          All 3 of those use the internet which was originally developed for military use

          I don't believe that's entirely true. They may have been one of multiple funding partners, but it was NOT primarily a military research project.

      • The military had a thing where people drove their own personal tank but acted as a taxi, and that became Uber.

        No, you're mistaken both about the military and Uber. The military already has a system where they can go to other countries and break the laws with impunity (just look up how the law applies to foreign stationed personnel). Uber are trying to do this, but they haven't managed to get themselves the immunity yet, so I'd say that the military is still far ahead of Uber in this regard.

        I was just going

        • WTF? Do you watch Rocky 4 and root for Ivan Drago?

          And hey, if you're willing to make the connection between facebook and TCP/IP from 40 years ago, let's go on and connect it to Ben Franklin flying kites in thunderstorms...

          • WTF? Do you watch Rocky 4 and root for Ivan Drago?

            WTF? Are you saying Facebook are the good guys and the US military are the bad guys?

            And hey, if you're willing to make the connection between facebook and TCP/IP from 40 years ago

            Well, given that facebook runs almost all of its services over TCP/IP, I think it's fair to make the connection. And you know, they almost certainly receive the SMS data via TCP/IP, so I think it's fair to say TCP/IP underlies every single one of Facebook's services.

  • The US can't do it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 )

    The US can't have any policy agenda on anything. The Wrong People might benefit. Depending on your perspective, The Wrong People have the bad gender, or the bad skin color, or they're too rich, or they're from the bad country, or the bad states, or they have the bad religion, or the bad politics, or the bad associations, or the bad hobbies. Or they're insensitive to people who deserve special consideration. Or someone might make a profit. Or someone might pay less in taxes. Or someone might not get se

    • That is what happens when we have a populace that can only be motivated to vote based on outrage.
      Each side is constantly trying to find a way to make their voters outraged.
  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Wednesday September 30, 2015 @11:27PM (#50633261) Homepage

    The implication of the article is that government is better at figuring out where to go digitally than business. If you've ever been in a government office...say, a post office, tag agency, courthouse, whatever, you'll see just how up-to-date and visionary the government is when it comes to technology. This is not unique to the United States. Why would we want to hobble ourselves by having the government set the pace for our digital future?

  • aha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @12:18AM (#50633377) Journal
    And Russia will lead the world in railroad shipping in the mid 20th century unless we something NOW (int the early 1900s) to lay down as much railroad infrastructure as we can. It doesn't matter than we must produce a 2nd class of citizens living in indentured servitude as they lay down these rails along our West Coast. They are just Chinamen. We need to realize the urgency of creating this essential infrastructure or we'll be overwhelmed from the west. Oh, wait, duh. Wrong century. I mean Internet... not railroad... oh, and those garlic eating Eastern Europeans and the curry-smelling Indians... THEY must be made into an indentured servant class to protect our vital national interests. Hmm... so how do we create indentured servitude without calling it "indentured servitude"?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what's Cisco's digital agenda for staying in the game after destroying its innovation capabilities in search of myopic profit-driven labor cost reductions... Blind replacements of U.S labor by that of the labor in the countries listed that are supposedly leading.. How's that working out?

    Cisco : Partnerships/Acquisitions/Spin-ins and outs because we destroyed/laid-off/overlooked talent/innovation internally...
    Article reads as : Chambers lamenting on the legacy he left behind : A once innovative comp

  • by Roodvlees ( 2742853 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @03:37AM (#50633789)
    The US is so corrupt, companies are buying monopolies everywhere, so they don't have to compete.
  • The government is pretty much run exclusively by feminists and tortoises nowadays, so are you somehow surprised?

    • The government is pretty much run exclusively by feminists and tortoises nowadays

      I think I speak for quite a few people here when I ask you: WTF?

  • Meh. What a worthless piece of writing. The article doesn't even specify what a "digital agenda" is or give examples, but I guess I can use my imagination. You wanna know why all those countries have digital agendas? It's because they feel like they are light-years behind the US (silicon valley that is to say) and it's their way of acting like they are doing something about it..."Hey! We have an agenda! We're doing something here! Innovate!". The great irony of course being that you can't legislate yo
  • Instead of exporting work to every hellhole in the world, perhaps one would do well to repeal all immigration laws enacted in the last 70 years.

    That would go far in removing the distortionary forces that oppose citizens.

  • Right now we have distracted ourselves with a non-functioning congress and infighting over too many other things. Also, as a whole, we spent more time spending too much money outside our own budgetary means. There isn't much money left to create a "digital agenda" these days. Fix congress and balance the federal budget while paying back national debt and then I'll say we're ready to create a "digital agenda". The other side of this is that I was reading a post in here about the US being a "mainstay" in
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The US is going to give away all its jobs via H1B visas to Chinese and Indian citizens, who, thanks to people fearing immigration for anyone but poor Hispanics--give them citizenship for being here illegally but don't do anything for the mounds of educated international students--will be forced to return to their countries whether they like it or not. What do you think they are going to do with what they learned here?

  • by whitelabrat ( 469237 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @09:59AM (#50635135)

    The guy who is ran Cisco into the ground by off shoring and heavy H1B hiring is complaining about the US falling behind other countries? Really? Does he mean shareholder value? In my opinion this guy and others like him are a big part of the problem. If all the good jobs are being handed away because companies want to save money, then there is no incentive to pursue those jobs by folks who need to make a decent living in this economy. The only agenda he is speaking of is shareholder profits.

  • Blame this on the ISPs that drag their feet on getting real data speeds to their customers. South Korea gets GIGABYTES to their customers at a price the US hasn't seen in years if ever. I'ts CHEAP!

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