Last week Martha Lane-Fox gave the Dimbleby Lecture, and proposed DOT EVERYONE, “a new national institution to lead an ambitious charge – to make us the most digital nation on the planet.” I’ve signed the petition on change.org, and I’d encourage you to do the same.
I didn’t rush to sign, but a couple of significant observations stood out for me from her speech.
First, of the top 100 visited sites in the world, there is only one from the UK. It is, of course, the BBC.
Second, on the need for more women in significant digital roles:
Something that is “for everyone”, needs to reflect that. And that means being built by everyone.
Do you think Apple would have released its much anticipated HealthKit product last year without the ability to track periods if there’d been a woman high-up in the organisation? I don’t.
Overall, she highlights much for Britain to be proud of, digitally, and plenty of evidence to show that it’s close to being squandered.
I don’t really know what DOT EVERYONE will look like. But I was impressed by Martha Lane-Fox’s parallels with the BBC and the NHS—those are great institutions that required ambition and vision to happen, and which have provided huge cultural, social and (if you insist) economic benefit. We could do that again.
But none of that made me sign the petition.
What made me sign was looking at user comments on the Guardian site. The first had to be removed by a moderator. The second said she had no right to make such a proposal because she’s made a lot of money. The third was in support of the second.
I am inspired to create something which matches the BBC and the NHS for its vision, ambition and impact. And I am inspired to separate myself from the naysayers who shout from the sidelines with their hands in their pockets.
So I’ve not done much. But at the time of writing there are close to 10,000 signatories—and now another. It could do with a few more. Go watch the lecture, and then visit the petition page.