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Schmidt Bores The DC Crowd

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Any collection of technology-oriented folks would love to have a lavish lunch and listen to Google CEO Eric Schmidt talk about online issues; in the nation’s Capital, interest levels run a little lower.

If I were to offer you a nice lunch at a luxury hotel followed by a speech and a question and answer session with Eric Schmidt, you might be appreciative. Probably grateful.

In Washington, such a setting earned the CEO of a $150 billion dollar company some polite attention, and according to the Washington Post, the ignominy of a tech support question.

About Microsoft Outlook, no less:

Whenever someone in his company sends an e-mail, 20 people are copied, and all recipients tend to hit the “reply all” button, generating too much e-mail, the man complained. “We spend more hours getting less done,” he said.

“Well,” responded Schmidt, “we have an e-mail product that is free.” There’s not much Google can do about corporate culture, he said.

We might disagree with Schmidt on that point; it seems like Google is trying to do something about that.

But corporate culture and political culture are tied together by one thing: money. A grasp, or even appreciation, of technology issues is not a requirement. Schmidt told the crowd of 200 for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace lunch about issues like technology and the future.

With full bellies from lunch and no real financial interest in caring about 3G mobile phones, it isn’t surprising the Post described the crowd as having their eyes glaze over, and a third of them bailing out of the talk, presumably to do more important things.

Thanks for caring, Washington. We’ll try to remember how you treat the issues important to us when the 2008 elections roll around, ok?


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