ET: Energy Technology
IT: Information Technology
EIT: Energy and Information Technology
Monday September 29th, 2008 - Wall Street dropped 777.68 points yesterday.
Got everybody's attention, didn't it?
Had a global impact too. Asian and European markets down and Russian markets closed early. The price of oil dropped & gold shot up.
Markets are back up today but the fundamental problem is still with us.
What's this got to do with energy? Especially IT energy?
Author and Columnist Tom Friedman suggests that re-thinking energy technology (ET) may be the way out of both the economic and the energy mess. And if he's right, if that's the way out, then information technology (IT) is the way to enable that way.
So, I think we should combine the two. Make it EIT, energy and information technology. The perfect combination. The way to spin gold from IT, as well as the way to spin the global economy to more productive and efficient operation.
Of course we still need to deal with the financial mess on Wall Street and to help out individual mortgage holders. And it would be great if governments would encourage energy innovation. Get beyond drilling - which will take too long and never solve the problem. Friedman likens drilling to demanding more IBM selectric typewriters as the Internet boomed.
(Typewriters?. Yep. That's why some of us "type" and some "keyboard". It's a generational thing.)
Friedman's idea makes sense to me:
"America has a problem and the world has a problem....And I think we solve our problem by solving the world's problem. ...what I call ET, energy technology, is going to be the next IT, the next great industrial revolution."
It's a provocative idea. And judging by the activities yesterday in Congress, we need some new ways to think about these things.
Friedman thinks the way to do this is in much the same way IT and the Internet developed - not a Manhattan Project but 100,000 inventors - big companies, small companies, people in garages.
The venture capital pool was already investing here. Events of the last few weeks shouldn't be allowed to slow it down. Just the opposite.
We need that investment to innovate our way to cleaner power and out of this economic mess.
Who better to fuel that innovation and leadership than those who did it for IT?
Who better to discard carbon technologies for advanced clean technologies?
Like tossing the selectric but more far reaching.
IT professionals know that IT efficiency is gained through a strategic systems approach that innovates individual parts and then assembles and integrates the whole. It takes planning and hard work and imagination.
It pays off in competitive advantage and shareholder value.
How about virtualization and cloud computing as models? As integral resources too.
At the end of an interview, Tom Brokaw asked Friedman about skeptics who say, "...I just don't believer climate change is real."
His answer was that it doesn't matter. "Because everything we would do to get ready for climate change, to build this new green industry, would make us more respected, more entrepreneurial, more competitive, more healthy as a country."
Same is true for green IT. You can be an environmentalist or a hard-nosed business person.
It doesn't make a difference.
Actions to save IT energy and to become more efficient are the same regardless of your motivation. They serve to drive out costs and increase value.
Question is, can the same be done for the global economy - EIT?
Worth a try.
Probably faster than Congress.