Too Little Tech Focus in the First 100 Days

The Forrest Four-Cast: April 29, 2017

A few weeks after the November 8 election, SXSW decided to add a “Tech Under Trump” series of sessions to our schedule for March 2017. In a relatively short timeframe, we pulled together what I think was a pretty compelling program of 18 total sessions. Unfortunately, there was one missing link for this programming — a solid White House technology agenda to serve as a reference point for panelists and speakers.

Six weeks after the conclusion of SXSW, the same criticism remains valid. In what has been a very topsy-turvy transitional process for the new administration, there still hasn’t been much attention paid to this industry and its challenges for the future.

If and when things ever settle down at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, then perhaps this lack of focus will change. Although, the argument could also be made that this sector of the economy is being deliberately ignored. As many astute observers have pointed out, the Trump Administration goes out of its way to make decisions and enact policies that are completely opposite from the previous President. This logic dictates the current President will never fully embrace the geek sector, simply because Obama displayed such a keen interest in all things related to technology and startups.

Will Silicon Valley be better off if the government continues to avoid it? I don’t think so. Technology is the backbone to everything in our 21st century society. Ignoring technology’s importance — and the importance of the industry that produces it — will lead to many poor outcomes.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.