I was fortunate enough to hear the American Ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun speak the day after the Orlando shooting – coincidentally at a diversity event – Diversity in Tech – being spearheaded by Wayra who ardently support the promotion of diversity. (three cheers!)

An excellent speaker – his presentation was pitched perfectly. He removed his tie, watched his time, and chose to present with a flipchart, not a presentation. On the board he drew two axis – Analogue to Digital and Hierarchical to Networked. He used the case study of Encyclopaedias referencing the demise of the hardcover, Encarta, NuPedia and the eventual global phenomenon of Wikipedia – the largest ever repository of human information.

And his message was simple:

  • Digital isn’t enough.
  • Include the voices of others and open it up – become networked.
  • Task people (enable) don’t Ask people (order)

All the while he spoke, behind him was an image of himself with President Obama. And he shared a quote of which I’m sure I’ve heard similar, sitting on a yoga mat somewhere.

When Obama was asked about how to continue to grow as a person, in politic or business his response was “Become predisposed to see the power in other people.” There seems to be a link to empowerment through tech and the creation of disruptive digital innovation.

If Matthew is correct then it seems the great ‘David’s to come, who will topple the ‘Goliath’s of industry, will do this by propagating rapid and empowering growth for everyone and not by focusing on hierarchical market dominion. A great sentiment to inspire and drive diversity in tech.

Warm regards