Arnold Schwarzenegger's ascent to governor of California may help kick-start the IT industry, says Colin Beveridge.
I’ve got tremendous hopes for the new governor of California, and I honestly believe that Arnold Schwarzenegger may very well be the long-promised saviour of the UK IT industry. Yes, really.
Even at a relatively safe distance of many thousands of miles, good old Arnie can probably help us to break free from the rusty shackles of the technology downturn that has bedevilled us all for the past two or three years.
Why do I feel like this? And what relevance, you may wonder, does the recent Californian election even remotely hold for the embattled IT market in dear old Blighty?
Well, I have a couple of reasons.
First, much of my new-found confidence for the IT sector is based upon evidence that the global credibility gap seems to have finally bottomed out.
It looks like people are ready once again to abandon harsh reality and to buy into a fantasy lifestyle - the ideal scenario for an IT upturn.
After all, in such a bizarrely beguiling world where a politically inexperienced actor, without any clearly defined policies, can so easily win the confidence of millions of supposedly sophisticated voters, should those of us in the IT community possibly fail to regain the confidence of our business budget holders?
If The Terminator can reach elected high office without apparently breaking sweat, shouldn’t we be able to get the business case for that vital new e-mail system signed off without too many problems?
Secondly, and perhaps more seriously, I strongly suspect that there will be a measurable upswing in Californian business confidence following the installation of yet another high-profile popular movie actor in Sacramento.
An upswing that will, sooner rather than later, ripple through to the UK economy and reinforce those green shoots of recovery that have already been bravely popping their heads above the grey parapets of downturn.
In the past couple of decades much emphasis was rightly placed on the wide-reaching influence of Silicon Valley on the rest of the technology world.
The nascent entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley prospered in the days of former actor Ronald Reagan’s governorship and presidency, and paved the way for the rest of the IT world to ride extremely high on the coat-tails of the consequent Californian explosion.
Of course, like most other historical bonanzas, the early boom years of the Valley eventually gave way to a balancing period of doom and gloom. Such is the cyclical nature of life.
But, just imagine, for a moment. What if the cycle of technology boom and bust has now begun to move round again, back to the boom phase - on the back of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent election?
If my theory is right, we can forget about pinning our collective hopes on the false prospects of our own IT upturn being driven by local UK government initiatives, such as e-government or the NHS IT strategy, and recognise instead the true influence of the Golden State on our fortunes.
Perhaps, at long last, the only way is up. Or, to coin yet another well-worn post-electoral phrase - things can only get better.
Thanks to Arnold, we’ll be back...
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Colin Beveridge is an independent consultant and leading commentator on technology management issues. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in October 2003