11 May 2007

Conversational Vignettes

Brief vignettes of conversations I had yesterday:

--"I'm not as optimistic about Puerto Rico as I once was." Said to a woman who still retains her optimism, though she acknowledges that pessimism is more the cultural norm here. I hope to explore My change in viewpoint and regain its purer essence in conversations with her very soon.

--"To Us, 'simplify' means 'Add another step." Said in response to an economic analysis of competitiveness and economic effectiveness that places simplifying the business environment as a major factor in enhancing growth. We seem to worship red tape and like fish in water, We don't even have a specific term for it other than "bureaucracy." The world's abnormal is Our übernormal.

--"You're being shunted aside by technology, so how are you using it?" Spoken to the head of a local realtor's group whose main concern is professional reputation, not technology. I now realize it led to the next remark, spoken over lunch...

--"To Anglo-Saxons, science fiction is most attractive; to Latins, it's magical realism." I've used this analogy before to illustrate the cultural differences between the U.S. and most of Europe's love and acceptance of technology versus Puerto Rico and Latin America's slower reponse to it. Yes, there's an economic component, but the exception--the rocket-like rise of cell phones--proves the point: We adopt technology if it clearly and distinctly links Us on a human level and not just "Technology for technology's sake." Until We overcome that cultural difference, Our tech efforts will always lag behind in growth rate.

--"Given that We are so driven to connect with others, We should be dominating the development of social networking software." Again, not a new thought. The flip-side of not liking technology in preference for social interaction is that We are best-equipped to modify technology in service to social interaction. Why We aren't doing it is baffling: We have the programming skill, the perfect social laboratory and an entire world ready to embrace it. Maybe that's the problem: We don't know there's a world out there.

--"E-goverment is not about changing government, it's about changing decisions." In response to a pontificating egghead who was making the case for wholesale Executive and Legislative branch changes in order to implement strong e-government initiatives in Puerto Rico. I'm all for kicking The Fools, but the bottom line here is that they have to decide to make the change and We--as citizens--have to decide to support and use it. Unless We change these mindsets, e-government, based on technology and embracing it, will forever remain a pipe dream.

--"It must be a good day when a Fortune 500 CEO and a waiter are both glad to see you." Happened during lunch, to the open surprise of several people around Me. And I wasn't even wearing My fedora...

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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