If we are not at the table we are on the menu

Earlier this evening I was listening to a podcast from the Commonwealth Club of California. The guest was Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. It wasn’t captivating and my mind had wandered on another topic (a question related to open source) when I caught a sentence that made me think that the podcast had followed me on that topic:

“If we are not at the table we are on the menu”

In fact, she was quoting an energy industry executive explaining why he welcomes upfront discussions w/ NRDC about global warming. But isn’t this also very applicable to what open source means for many companies?

Everything below is off-topic for this blog.

To be fair, I should clarify that not all Commonwealth Club podcasts (here is the RSS feed) fail to keep my attention. While I am at it, here is a quick listener’s guide to recent recordings (with links to the MP3 files) in case some of you also have a nasty commute and want to give the CCC (no, not that one) a try. Contrary to what I expected, I have found panels discussions generally less interesting than talks by individuals. The panel on reconstructing health care was good though. The one on reconciling science and religion was not (in the absence of a more specifically framed question everyone on the panel agreed on everything). They invite speakers from both sides of the aisle: recently Ben Stein (can’t be introduced in a few words) and Tom Campbell (Dean of Haas business school at Berkeley) on the conservative side and Madeleine Albright (no introduction needed) on the progressive side. All three of these were quite good. As I mentioned, the one with Frances Beinecke (NRDC president) wasn’t (it quickly morphed into self-praises for her organization’s work, including taking a surprising amount of credit for Intel’s work towards lower power consumption). Deborah Rodriguez, (director of the “Kabul Beauty School”) was the worst (at least for the first 20 minutes, I wasn’t paid enough to keep listening). Thomas Fingar (Chairman of the National Intelligence Council) was ok but could have been much better (he shared all the truth that couldn’t embarrass or anger anyone, which isn’t much when the topic is the Iraq and Iran intelligence reports on WMD). In the process he explained what the intelligence community calls “open source intelligence” and he wasn’t referring to the RedMonk model. Enjoy…

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