What I learned from Brad Smith at #DLD17

by Volker Weber

My main takeaways from Brad Smith’s interview at DLD17 in Munich might be a bit different from others. The main headline will be that Smith says that the law has to catch up with digital technologies. What I find more interesting is his explanation how that came to be.

It has been 31 years since the law governing IT, privacy and e-commerce was passed in the United States. So what happened in 1986? A Republican President (Ronald Reagan) and a Democratic Speaker of the House (Tip O’Neill) were able to collaborate to pass these laws. This appears to be something that we have forgotten how to do.

Smith fought the US government and won an appeal on a particular case where a US judge tried to subpoena Microsoft to hand over data from a Dublin data center. Smith cautioned however that somebody might take this to the Supreme Court or change the law in Congress. The question is how do you regulate supranational enterprises? Smith thinks that you need to find like-minded countries to collaborate on mutual treaties and develop from there.

When Kara Swisher asked him about the meeting between the President-elect and leaders of tech companies, he turned the conversation to job creation. Smith said there are two countries with low unemployment and low youth unemployment: Switzerland and Germany. And he motions the US to learn from their example. Smith thinks that education is responsible for this job creation. How young people can find apprenticeships in hundreds of crafts, not only in IT, but also in metal work and such.

So my main takeaways are: collaboration, collaboration and education.

And a new quotation:

Nobody ever died of humility
— Brad Smith, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer


Interesting reminder and a very nice quote.

Benjamin Stein, 2017-01-15

I would put education first, since collaboration also needs to be learned.

Frank Quednau, 2017-01-16

collaboration is something i think we have in genes. small children collaborate and share till they become influenced by environment not to do .

thorsten ebers, 2017-01-16

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