Emerging Engagement Models
Lessons from the intersection of emerging technologies and emerging economies
August 19, 2009 SVMN Speaker Event re-cap written by Leslie Roulias
The Silicon Valley Microfinance Network (SVMN) event on August 19th featured technology, strategy, and policy expert Stephen Goodman who spoke about the tremendous possibilities that exist in current and developing technologies as they relate to emerging economies.
In the early ‘90’s Stephen spent a significant amount of time in the rainforests in Guatemala working with microenterprises. As he thinks back to that work, he is amazed at the scale and efficiency that could have been achieved with today’s technology tools for data management, open source software, and cloud computing.
Now in his position with Sun Microsystems as Head of Strategy and Research for Global Communications and Corporate Marketing, Stephen plays the role of translator with the intersection of business, industry and technology. As part of the corporate perspective on emerging market penetration, he reminds executives that the bottom 70% of the world’s population represents over $5 trillion in spending power, and that this “Base of the Pyramid” is not going away and may make up the bulk of economic activity in the future.
Stephen acknowledges the important role of emerging market governments in the ability to do business there, especially with regard to infrastructure “the pipes” and regulation. Without the cooperation of these governments, very little progress can be made in the technological inroads to places such as Africa. Sun has also partnered with local universities in several emerging markets, especially Africa, and the company has a commitment to reach out to students, who Stephen sees as some of the best innovators.
Stephen talked to several tough questions like –
- What motivation does a large multinational, profit-focused enterprise have to make their products available to small and emerging companies that won’t be able to pay the fees?
- In the use of cloud computing, what part of the cloud is private and what is public?
- How do mobile and open software services expand in highly regulated industries and capital markets?
There are no easy answers to these questions, but SVMN members and Stephen had engaging perspectives to share on each.
Stephen Goodman”s presentation: