I have just sent this to an Amazon IT manager.
I know that you are primarily concerned with networking technology for Amazon's global activities, but I assume that you know the people planning those activities. I would like to pitch an opportunity to them, in three parts.
- Fund global education initiatives based on one-to-one computing, such as One Laptop Per Child
I can talk about the points of maximum leverage, where a modest investment will have the greatest impact in speeding up education deployment. That point, in my analysis, is not the golly-gosh gee-whiz hardware that everybody talks about. It is replacing printed textbooks in primary and secondary education with lower-cost hardware plus e-learning materials under Free licenses. Amazon still gets to sell higher-level textbooks to a much wider market.
- Help to spread microfinance globally, so that these newly educated children and their families and friends, newly on the Internet, have the earliest possible economic opportunities, allowing them to escape subsistence farming and other forms of dire poverty, and begin to invest in their future.
- Put together the global portal to sell the newly non-dirt-poor everything that they need. Now we're back to you.
The critical path can be fully funded for a few million dollars, making the changeover a no-brainer: better education at lower cost. The rest comes out of existing and aid budgets. It is not at all necessary for Amazon to provide all of it. Breaking through these roadblocks leads to many billion dollars of opportunity over time, and to trillions of dollars of economic growth for the rest of the world.
Is this something your management would be interested in?
Niels Bohr said of Heisenberg's and Pauli's nonlinear field theory of elementary particles, "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct."
It is sometimes asserted that I am crazy. But am I crazy enough?