(Tom Galvin) Been thinking a lot lately about how the technology community has evolved over the last 6 1/2 years since we founded 463 in late 2004. When we started our firm, YouTube wasn’t invented yet, Facebook just received its first investment and no one was yet atwitter about Twitter. Jim, Sean and I founded the firm on the premise that technology was becoming pervasive and ever more important in everyday life, the economy and society – and that it would become increasingly regulated.
All that’s been proven true, but we missed a lot along the way. We (I) were certain that RFID would revolutionize all aspects of life as much or more than the Internet did. And so far, so wrong. It could still happen though, but not like we expected. We thought health-care IT would become one of the most important tech issues in Washington, and while it’s important, it’s become subsumed into overall health care.
Actually, the biggest difference between 2004 and 2011 is back then, there were tech issues. Now they are just issues that have a tech angle. Back in the early days, technology stood out as a separate challenge – Internet tax, for example. Now, it’s become such an everyday part of life it’s just assumed to be in the mix of everything. Just look at the never-ending debate on energy and “green” – tech is all over it.
That’s led to another change – back in the day many reporters who had technology as their beat. Over time, many of those technology reporter beats disappeared, victim to the change in journalism, economic downturn and the fact that tech just became an integral part of a broader beat, such as health care or energy.
One thing has stayed the same. Our core group of original clients – Cisco, VeriSign, Sun, TechNet and Technology CEO Council – all but Sun are still with us, and that’s because Sun was swallowed by up by Oracle. Along the way we’ve added new ones – Facebook and CEA come to mind - but we take pride in our long-term relationships.
But if you want to mark the last 6 1/2 years to see change, one must look no further than the prizes we give out at 463 parties. Those who we count as friends know us as folks who like to do two things – release a dopey holiday video every year making fun of ourselves, our clients and reporters and give out gadgets at our regular happy hours and company parties.
In 2004, I recall when we gave away iPods the winners were excited to get them. Nowadays you can get one by subscribing to a magazine.They have become the clock radio of technology – so available as to be barely valuable. But in a sense, that’s success, because it’s about the content, right? Along the way we’ve given away Flip cameras and flat-screen TVs. And Danielle, you can’t win anymore.
Which gets me to my finale. We now live in an iPad world, so while it’s still hot, we’ll be giving one away at our next 463 event on April 13th, during which we’ll also honoring CEA’s Gary Shapiro’s new book, “The Comeback.” We hope to see you there.
Six and a half years from now, who’s to say what will be hot? Technology will be further ingrained in our society, we’ll have a new president but some of the same old challenges (debt, fear of overseas competition). And hopefully some hot gadgets to give away.