Originally this morning, I was going to blog something about Mary Meeker’s slide deck, and how the last recession saw the growth of e-commerce, while this recession is seeing the growth of mobile adoption/commerce — but honestly, I’m not sure I have much more to say than that.
Then I was thinking that I’d blog something about Donnie Berkholz’s “defrag experience” yesterday. Basically, Mike Maney (of Alcatel-Lucent) suggested Donnie must join us (“because he’s a rockstar”), and Donnie pointed out that he would have trouble covering expenses because he doesn’t start at Redmonk until December 1. And the Defrag community LEAPT into action. I said I’d cover Donnie’s reg, Dave Fauth said he’d share his room, Donnie started working on airfare, and others joined in with when to arrive, etc. Over twitter, in a matter of minutes, Donnie went from someone the community didn’t know, to having half a dozen people treating him like a long lost friend. THAT is what you can experience too (that is why Defrag folks are amazing), if you come to Defrag.
But then, I read Mark Suster’s blog post. Mark keynoted last year’s Gluecon, and is one of the smartest guys I know. The post is about how one of Mark’s recent investments fits all of his ideal investing criteria, but a line in the post really struck a chord for me: “Programming should be the middle class job of the next 20 years.”
For whatever reason, this totally obvious statement hit me like a TON OF BRICKS.
I don’t live in Valley (or even in Boulder). I live on Siesta Key (and spend some time in the mid-west) – most of the people I see are service personnel or real estate brokers or construction types. And guess what? The economy SUCKS. I mean, SUCKS. But then I turn toward my businesses, and all I ever hear is about how every *single* tech company I deal with cannot HIRE enough people. Talent is scarce. Hell, beginning-level programmers are scarce. Designers? Fuhgedaboudit! We are seeing two America’s. One, the tech economy. One, the manufacturing/industrial economy.
I guess that’s why Mark’s sentence hit me so hard. America has lost something like 30% of it’s manufacturing jobs since 9/11 (I say “something” because I heard that somewhere and am too lazy to go look for the source). Let’s face it: the economy’s in the shitter. And “shovel-ready” jobs ain’t gonna do the trick.
But here’s what we do know: the majority of jobs get created by small businesses (fact), and every tech company I know of is hiring (anecdote). And so the wisdom of Mark’s sentence: “Programming should be the middle class job of the next 20 years.” Programming is the modern equivalent of the manufacturing job.
Kids should graduate from high school with the programming skills to take a tech job. Just like it used to be in Pittsburgh with steel mills, or Detroit with car assembly. High School should equal entry-level programming job. And college should equal serious upward mobility via programming.
I have no idea how we get there. But I know it’s the right place to go.
Luckily, we’ll have not only Phil Weiser, who is the Dean of the University of Colorado-Boulder Law School and was an advisor to the National Economic Council, but we’ll also have Aneesh Chopra, the CTO for the White House at Defrag. Discussion on.