April 20, 2006

An unusually ambitious conference — TECHLEB!06

“We want TECHLEB to be a turning point in Lebanon’s economy. For there to be a time before and a time after TECHLEB.”

H.E. Jihad Azour
Minister of Finance

TECHLEB!06, “Under the Auspices of the Prime Ministry,” is an extremely worthy and ambitious effort. With participation from the Minister of Finance on down, a large fraction of all the stakeholders in Lebanon’s nascent technology industry are convening May 20-21 at MIT. Their goal? Clear away roadblocks and kickstart Lebanon’s tech industry. Indeed, there’s a strong intention to decide upon and announce substantial public policy changes before the close of the conference. The possible payoff? A major engine of prosperity in a wartorn, rebuilding, geopolitically crucial crossroads country.

Mainly, this is a conference of, by, and for the Lebanese. But I’m spearheading an exception — a panel to bring in lessons learned from other countries that have succeeded in improving their lot with the tech industry’s help. We have speakers already committed with expertise in Ireland and the Arab world. We’re still looking to add panelists with knowledge of India and perhaps Eastern Europe. One of the panelists is a name familiar to many of you — John J. Cullinane, founder of Cullinet Software, the leading independent software vendor of the mainframe era. (Companies that succeeded largely because of ex-Cullinet people include, in my opinion, Powersoft, Cognos, Silverstream, and to some extent Lotus — and Oracle copied big parts of the Cullinet strategy.)

My panel is at 9 am on Sunday, May 21. Most of you will have no interest in being there. Even so, I’m going to ask a couple of you for help in recruiting speakers. And I hope you all consider helping me with my research into just what we should advise the Lebanese Minister of Finance to promise to technology entrepreneurs.

I’ll post a formal panel description when I have one. It will be linked in the trackback/comment section to this post.


3 Responses to “An unusually ambitious conference — TECHLEB!06”

  1. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Research on technology economic development – Please help! on April 20th, 2006 11:33 pm

    […] I was inspired to pursue this by – and intend to present preliminary results — at a panel I’m running on May 21 at the TECHLEB|06 conference in Cambridge, MA. So that’s my deadline for finishing Phase 1 of the project. […]

  2. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Keys to technology-driven economic development, Part 1 on May 1st, 2006 1:38 am

    […] In connection with a forthcoming panel for the TechLeb conference, I posed some basic questions about tech industry economic development, and promised to also take a crack at them myself. […]

  3. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » After TechLeb on May 22nd, 2006 8:09 pm

    […] Well, TechLeb has come and gone. Due to the tremendous effort and talent of the organizers, it achieved its two main goals, which were 1. To have a vehement discussion between the Lebanese tech entrepreneur community and the government, specifically on the subject of telecom prices and 2. To generally pull together stakeholders in the Lebanese tech sector. Minister Azour’s wish that TechLeb prove to have been a watershed event in Lebanon’s history may yet be granted. […]

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