A Clash of Idealists and "Realists" Becomes Apparent

-Washington DC Image-There’s been something bubbling in D.C. for the past year or two and more recently, it’s become boiling hot: the convergence of the technology crowds from around the area. It’s something that I’ve been pushing for at least two years and a number of other people have been supporting as well. Something that has increasingly become apparent is that there are simply people that get it and those that don’t.

In one panel I was sitting in on earlier this week, a group of individuals were fairly critical of the government’s ability to become less bureaucratic and more quick to act as we witnessed with the Apps for Democracy program. It makes sense that government is bureaucratic by nature but is it possible for parts of the government to award contracts to smaller companies and remove a lot of the red tape which exists?

I’m not quite sure but one thing that is clear is that some people want to be part of the change and others don’t. There have been numerous networks set up on Ning, Facebook, and other places to discuss the future of D.C. that have experienced mixed results. Ultimately I believe that those that don’t get it, can be persuaded to participate, but it requires some hand holding and a little extra effort.

Many of us jump into action regardless of what the rest say and sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t. While change is happening and many of those that are against change will be dragged kicking and screaming into this new environment, I fear that in larger organizations (especially within the government here in D.C.) these two attitudes are mounting to create a fundamental clash.

There is no doubt in my mind that “the people” who actually get it will win, but it’s hard to unravel the limitless bureaucratic tape which exists here in D.C. Talking with some at the DubMe Now launch event last night, it became apparent that many are optimistic about the change that’s about to happen but at the same time skeptical.

A healthy dose of skepticism is always welcomed but in this new environment idealistic visionaries are required and ambitious goals are necessary. It’s clear that more than ever the people have the power to generate change and it will require those same people to show the naysayers the power available to them. Without the people working together for this new change, I’m concerned that this movement which we are on the cusp of could backlash and spawn further divides among us.

Whether it’s on a small scale within the D.C. technology community, or whether it’s for the nation, it’s a risk which I think clearly exists. Do you think such a divide is really a big issue or will the world change without those that embrace it?