Cloud 2020 Summit – did our predictions materialize?

The Cloud 2020 Summit was held May 19, 2013 at the Supernap in Las Vegas (which is now called Switch – I think). The event was pulled together by Krish Subramanian, Ben Kepes, and Mark Thiele. The purpose was to “look at the future of cloud infrastructure – it’s going to bring together pundits, vendors and enterprise buyers to postulate on where the industry is going“.

The website is no longer live, but you can see the agenda here. Thank goodness they invited bloggers! I’m not sure how I got invited, but I sure was happy to be there. I’d like to challenge anyone who attended the Cloud 2020 Summit and blogged about it to republish their blog, with added commentary now that we’re at the close of 2019.

Observations from 2019: Here is the post I wrote (original post is here). Looking back, I think it is pretty incredible what I took away from the event.

Cloud 2020, new economic models, and diversity

Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend Interop and the Cloud 2020 Summit. I have lots of thoughts and themes that are converging into a solid story, and this is the blog is the first of the themes that have come out of that event for me.

Observations from 2019: I started off pretty nice. 🙂

To set the stories up, I first have to talk about my passionate outburst during the #Cloud2020 session “The Economics and Use Case of Federated Clouds”. The goal of the session was to “make some sense in terms of economics of how it is going to play out and also discuss some use cases around the idea”. So they discussed cloud as a platform and the economic theories that could drive that. Mainly capitalism vs. communism. My suggestion is that we are leaving out older economic theories, mainly indigenous | substinence economic models.

During the panel, I questioned why the same old tired economic theories were being discussed. Why is it still a binary discussion, with no dissent or deviation, even when the plans we are discussing will impact every person on this earth. What are our responsibilities as we think of the economies of the cloud?

Observations from 2019: Looking back, I know that our visions for cloud 2020, and how new “web 2.0” applications were being implemented bothered me at this level: if we continued to ignore the people our new world was going to impact, we were going to get some scary results. And that’s exactly the path we’re on right now.

I say that it is vital that we have a healthy, vigorous dialogue that is truly diverse. One definition of diverse is where the environment is open enough that all the questions can be asked. I’m not sure we are there yet. (Yeah this is gonna be long, please read on!).

I told the panel there was a problem when all day none of the speakers had included women, multiple races, or representatives of different classes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this is not an anti-man, they didn’t include us, blah blah blah post. I know the organizers. I know this is not how they think or operate, and indeed they invited women who had to back out because of other commitments. I also know I could have been/should be more participatory…the responsibility is not just with the men or the organizers.

Observations from 2019: I think we’ve started to make improvements with diversity. But we still have a long way to go. I still go to meetings, to events, where women and minorities are not present, and if they are they aren’t the ones on the stage. It is even more important than ever to have a diverse group of people deciding how infrastructures and applications are built, especially as we use people’s personal data to fuel these new apps.

I was approached afterward by someone who felt attacked by my words. I apologized for that, told him I was sincerely sorry and that wasn’t my intention.But he made sure to let me know that specifically had felt attacked because I called out the lack if women (even though my point was the lack of diversity). He then told me something that really has stuck with me.

He told me if I wanted to get ahead, I should stop pointing out that I’m a woman.

He entirely missed the  point I was making, probably because it made him uncomfortable. Whether he knows it or not, he went on to do what’s been done to reinforce the power system for centuries…he told me if I wanted to prosper in the capitalistic society we are ruled by that I needed to hush. Quit rocking the boat. Don’t call attention to the obvious gaps.

I know that’s not what he intended. But it was the net effect of his words. I know it’s because he felt threatened by my words and ideas. And I fell into the same role I’ve always assumed as that familiar scene played out.

I didn’t mean to make him feel threatened. But that’s his issue to deal with, not mine. I didn’t say anything wrong by calling out the obvious. It should be obvious to everyone that when we talk about he future of IT, we are talking about something that will impact all of humanity. We should understand that there will be unintended consequences that may impact disenfranchised societies. It’s our responsibility as the creators of these new ways to manipulate information to insist that all the questions be asked before we settle on the new normal for communications. We need to insist on a truly diverse conversation about these issues.

Observations from 2019: Reading this almost 7 years later, I’m mad at myself. I can still remember that interaction, and he had no business talking to me the way he did. He wanted to intimidate me into silence. Of course I still wrote about it, but look at this language I used.

He sure didn’t care about how I felt when he threatened me. I was working at Dell at the time, and at the time I took it as a threat. And especially when we look at what is happening because we don’t have diversity creating new apps and new architectures, he could have taken a breath and took away a different perspective.

I can say without a doubt that the Cloud 2020 summit is one of the best events I’ve attended in ages. It gave me an opportunity to connect and think and talk about some important issues that are near and dear to my heart. I’m very grateful I walked away from the experience and event feeling so empowered. I think that says alot about that event, and about that community.

Observations from 2019: This was a great event. I think they should should host #cloud2030!

So, with that out of the way, in my next post I want to start talking about the concept of the social economy – one used by indigenous and subsistence societies.

Observations from 2019: I never wrote this post, but I’ve been talking again indigenous ways of knowing. That was the point of contention with this talk – he spoke about using the cloud to give salmon fishers a bigger market. I brought out – maybe they don’t want that. Maybe they don’t want to over fish. The speaker said they could switch to genetically modified fishing, and I said “I don’t want no existentially modified salmon”. That line is still hilarious. 🙂

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