So Mike Contaxis at MacSoda had the "real reason" why Steve Jobs was not going to give the keynote today at MacWorld. This was before Jobs' disclosure of the "hormonal imbalance" that his medical team has determined is leading him to lose weight.
Jobs is set to become Obama's Chief Technology Officer.
Nice stab in the dark, Mike. There's a certain electricity to the idea, even if uttered with tongue in cheek. Nothing would give Obama more of a dramatic distraction as he tries to rejuvenate this ailing economy. After all, if we really want to give this economy a stimulus, it's not about rebuilding roads. It's about funding greater innovation. That starts with digital technology, biotechnology, energy and the Internet.
Jobs would certainly "think different" about all of the above. But is he really the right guy for this job?
Don't think so.
If there's anything Obama stands for, it's the principle, at least, of "network neutrality.'' That network service providers should not discriminate between applications or types of data flowing over the Internet. If there's anything Jobs stands for, it's figuring out business models that encourage discrimination. Of closing up computer design. Of tying users to products of his company's manufacture, to the exclusion of others.
This is not to say he'd try to use public service as a means of promoting the interests of his private companies (Pixar, Apple). Just that he would not be well-suited to setting up conditions for an Innovation Economy that are not prescriptive, that do not favor any particular business model, that are "open" to all players. He's an autocrat, more likely to think he's got or can get the answer and try to mandate it.
He's a top-down enforcer of revolution, not a bottoms-up fermenter of change.
With his gauntness, he's probably not able to act as anything more than an adviser at this point. If he's not up to delivering a keynote at MacWorld, his health condition likely means wouldn't have the stamina to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Obama on resurrecting this "very sick" economy. He's got his hown health to worry about.
A much better set of candidates remains the list of 10 candidates nominated by Jason Hiner on Between The Lines in November.
But Google's Eric Schmidt has taken himself out of the runniing; Bill Gates didn't get the Internet in the first place and never was able to get real traction on it, before dropping out of the daily mission at Microsoft; and former SAP wunderkind Shai Agassi should not drop his efforts to build an alternative platform for motor transportation. He's just starting to get traction in his attempt to create a Better Place.
The bet here remains Vint Cerf. He got the Internet off the ground. He's Eric Schmidt's in-house visionary at Google -- where Obama released his technology platform as a presidential candidate. And Schmidt has been the face of technology for Obama. Even if he won't take the CTO job himself.
Let's just hope Obama wants the CTO to be part of his economic team, not just a sort of super-fixit man for the federal government.
Recharging the nation's economy by helping research and technical innovation flourish, says here, is an easier task, than trying to overhaul the technology that underpins the FBI, IRS, HHS and federal bureaucracies coast-to-coast.