Thursday, April 05, 2007

Welcome the Presidents of America

Last week I attended a wireless industry conference called CTIA. This is a chance for many of the big players in wireless to converge in a single place to show off their new products, services, and also provides a chance to catch up with old friends in the industry. I've been in the wireless industry for approximately 7 years and time and time again you run into the same people. The running joke is the people are the same only the companies on the business cards change.

Over the course of the week I met with numerous companies ranging from brand new startups with a handful of employees to some of the largest companies in the industry including Nokia, and AOL.

The highlight of the conference were the keynote speakers on the final day. President Bush and President Clinton both spoke to a packed hall. This was a great once in a lifetime opportunity.

I arrived about 30 seconds before they came on stage. It seemed as though every chair in the room had been taken. As I walked in a group from Helio waved at me and told me to sit in the reserved rows at the very front that were empty. Not hesitating I lifted the rope and settled into the 3rd row of what had to have been the press area. No one said a thing and I took out my computer and made it look like I was taking notes just like the rest of them. I also ended up with one of the best seats in the entire room. :-)

George Bush came out first, cracked a joke about he and Bill being the odd couple, and proceeded to talk a little about how the telecom industry had a positive impact on his presidency. Bush's speech was more philosophical and and although it had a little less substance than Clinton's speech it was very enjoyable.

Bush had a great presence about him. He came off as charismatic, funny, and very down to earth. My impression of him as president was that of a very formal, and stiff president. Hearing him speak you got the sense of him being a very down to earth person from Texas. You also realize that he has the brains in that family.

After Bush left the stage Clinton came out and made a joke about this is the punishment he gets for winning the presidency from Bush. He is now Bush's straight man, since he follows Bush and is the butt of many of Bush's jokes.

Clinton discussed the importance of Information Technology to the US. He took the principals of how IT benefited the US and stated that wireless technology has an even larger opportunity to improve quality of life in developing nations, and ultimately all of modern society.

The speeches wrapped and Bush and Clinton joined each other on stage together and took some lite questions through a moderator. It was great to see Bush and Clinton united together. They both appeared extremely sincere and extremely comfortable with where they are in life.

It was great to see the two of the them together. It really showed how unimportant the Democrat vs Republican debate is and showed the importance of how coming together and just being Americans can have a much greater impact.

I must also add that Bush looked fantastic. It is hard to believe he is in his early 80s.

Although I was on the third row I wasn't able to get any great pictures. The pictures I took were of the video screens in the room.
Link to more pictures

Link to a recording of the keynote
Link to a good synopsis of the speech

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