Whether it is to discuss the failure and future of the government's healthcare.gov website, NSA surveillance, or job expansion in the tech sector, if the President of the United States calls a summit of the leaders of mainstream social media and software technology for advice, it is going to get interesting.
The roster of attendees who will be meeting with President Obama today reads like a who's who in social media and software tech leadership. Here's the list (in alphabetical order by company name):
- Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
- Randall Stephenson, Chairman & CEO, AT&T
- Brian Roberts, Chairman & CEO, Comcast
- Drew Houston, Founder & CEO, Dropbox
- Chad Dickerson, CEO, Etsy
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
- Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
- Erika Rottenberg, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, LinkedIn
- Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft
- Reed Hastings, Co-Founder & CEO, Netflix
- Burke Norton, Chief Legal Officer, Salesforce
- Shervin Pishevar, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Sherpa Global
- Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
- Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo
- Mark Pincus, Founder, Chief Product Officer & Chairman, Zynga
What is not clear is why this particular group of leaders?
From the names on the list, none has any particular medical or healthcare background so it is not clear what advice, at this late date, this group could offer the President in terms of the populace meeting the December 23rd deadline to sign-up for healthcare insurance, or why they would particularly care to be briefed on its status.
If issues related to capacity and growth have not yet been identified then the beleaguered healthcare.gov site, while not doomed to failure, will require some major overhauls before open enrollment ends on March 31st, 2014, and should be in process. Since healthcare.gov had previously received help from Red Hat, Google, and Oracle this may be a further request for help to get the project on track.
If the conversation moves towards the NSA, surveillance, and compulsory disclosure of confidential information by providers, then it might explain why Microsoft and LinkedIn sent their legal counsel since they are two of the proponents for a reformation of Government Surveillance. In an open letter from AOL, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo, the group put together a list of principles for the President and Congress to consider related to the governments surveillance programs.
If the topic is jobs, salaries, and the economy then all of the above can certainly contribute to that topic since they are the leaders in the tech industry. Again, it is not clear what exactly the tech companies would do that they are not doing currently but that may be part of the conversation.
Since the meeting is sure to touch on politically sensitive topics, whatever news comes out of the meeting will be filtered. However, because of the issues raised regarding the Governments surveillance programs, and its lack of transparency regarding that particular issue, it is difficult not to suspect that of all the reasons being provided for the meeting between the President and this particular group of high-ranking social media and software executives, surveillance might be close to the top of the list of priorities.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Oliver has been working in Healthcare for the past 30+ years in a variety of management roles including Material Management, Purchasing, Nurse Registry, and IT. In the past 12 years his focus has been on the business end of IT Contracts, Software Licensing and Purchasing.