The European edition of Wired has just published its 2015 Wired 100 list of the most influential people in technology today, and guess what? There isn’t a single Spaniard in there. Not one. There are no Spaniards working for multinationals, nor expat Spaniards, and no entrepreneurs based in Spain.
With a few honorable exceptions, such as Martín Varsavsky, Zaryn Dentzel, Dídac Lee or Gonzalo Martín-Villa, previous rankings (2014, 2012, 2011, 2010), paint a similarly barren landscape. We can play the blame game, accuse Wired of overlooking the world’s 12th economy and the EU’s fourth-largest, criticize such rankings in principle, and come up with any number of other excuses for losers, but the simple truth is that Spain is a blank space on the European technology map.
For a magazine like Wired, with its tradition, experience, and prestige, not to be able to find a single Spaniard to put in its technology ranking should be of great concern to this country and its government and institutions. It reflects a great many failings: we distrust innovators, we have no entrepreneurial or technology models, we demonize personal triumph or initiative, we seem ashamed of making money, there is no focus on developing new ideas, we have no respect for science and technology, are afraid of disruption, a clear tendency to think small, and of course major weaknesses in our education system.
Meanwhile, in the rest of Europe, children are being taught computer sciences, along with other sciences, while at the same time, teaching methods and curriculum are being adapted to take advantage of technology’s contribution to education. But here in Spain, governments dabble at the margins of the education system, more concerned with religious education in many cases, and completely ignoring technology.
In an age when technology is increasingly central to our lives, when technology will be the defining factor in how wealthy a country is, more so than its natural resources, Spain is nowhere in sight. This country, lacking in any kind of strategy and any kind of leadership when it comes to technology, is headed toward models that are mortgaging its future as well as that of many of its people, or at least those unable to look beyond its borders.
The absence of any Spaniards in the Wired 100 is merely a symptom. The backward looking and isolationist attitudes of the Franco dictatorship in the middle of the last century sadly live on today. The outlook is not so much sad, as desolate.
(En español, aquí)