Wow what a guy!
I hadn’t known that John Gage of NetDev, Schools Online and Sun Microsystems fame was going to be in KL for this conference so when I found out I made sure I would be in the first two rows and wide awake to listen to what he had to say. He was on a panel termed “The Great Debate” and some of the subjects discussed included privacy, cyber security, cyber terrorism (or cyber threat which was what they preferred to term it), the all-pervasiveness of technology, energy and environmental issues, the digital divide, etc etc. It was so wonderful listening to him.
Answering a question as to why it was that all great ideas (like Google, YouTube, the iPod, etc) had all come out of Silicon Valley and there wasn’t one that had come out of Asia, Dr. Gage said we should look at the people who had been behind these ideas, and not the country – there were Asians who had always been part of the core teams. It is just that the Silicon Valley presented them with the opportunities, the environment and the nurturing that was needed for this to happen. The US Government had put oodles of money into Research initiatives at Stanford, MIT and Harvard over a number of years and had invested in education for years and years before it began to bear fruit.
I must try and write down everything that the panel discussed but for now I am so excited that I actually met John Gage. Yup as the debate ended and they tried to rush him away, I slipped backstage and introduced myself – being small has its advantages :-). You know what amazes me about people like John Gage is that they are so approachable, so down-to-earth, so happy to talk, totally not full of themselves. When he heard that I was from Pakistan, and the kind of exciting things we were trying to make happen, he said he really wanted to do something in Pakistan and we should talk. He gave me his card and told me to start an email dialogue with him so that we could discuss this further. I told him there were a lot of young people who would be so inspired and motivated to meet and talk with him. He wanted to sit down and chat but the hosts had plans for him and dragged him away. But not before I had this picture taken with him. How could I resist?
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