Clinton and the NII... (LONG)

Rob Harper Rob.Harper at
Wed Feb 24 02:42:37 EST 1993

Here is an interesting article I cliped from NEWS. Usual disclaimers apply.
This is not an endorsement of SGI, and I only forward this article because
it has many important things to say about the future of networking, and the
building of new "super-highways"

[Note added by the moderator, D.K.: I am passing this note on in the
spirit above.  This is not a partisan political forum, and any feed
back on this should go to BIOFORUM/bionet.general, not here.]

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       E X E C U T I V E   O F F I C E   O F   T H E   P R E S I D E N T

                             THE WHITE HOUSE

                      Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                          February 22, 1993     

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                          AND VICE PRESIDENT TO
                        SILICON GRAPHICS EMPLOYEES
                             Silicon Graphics
                      Mountain View, California    

10:00 A.M. PST
	THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, I want to thank you all for the 
introduction to your wonderful company.  I want to thank Ed and Ken --we 
saw them last night with a number of other of the executives from Silicon 
Valley -- people, many of them with whom I've worked for a good length of 
time; many of whom the Vice President's known for a long time in 
connection with his work on supercomputing and other issues.
	We came here today for two reasons, and since mostly we just want 
to listen to you I'll try to state this briefly.  One reason was to pick 
this setting to announce the implementation of the technology policy we 
talked about in the campaign, as an expression of what we think the 
national government's role is in creating a partnership with the private 
sector to generate more of these kinds of companies, more technological 
advances to keep the United States always on the cutting edge of change 
and to try to make sure we'll be able to create a lot of good new jobs 
for the future.
	The second reason -- can I put that down?  We're not ready yet 
for this.  The second reason I wanted to come here is, I think the 
government ought to work like you do.  (Applause.)  And before that can 
ever happen we have to be able to get the people, the Congress, and the 
press who have to interpret all this to the people to imagine what we're 
talking about.  
	I have, for example, the first state government in the country 
that started a total quality management program in all the departments of 
government, trying to figure out how we could reinvent the government.  
And I basically believe my job as President is to try to adjust America 
in good ways so that we can win in the 21st century, so that we can make 
change our friend and not our enemy.
	Ed said that you plan your new products knowing they'll be 
obsolete within 12 to 18 months, and you want to be able to replace them.  
We live in an era of constant change.  And America's biggest problem, if 
you look at it through that lens, is that for too many people change is 
an enemy, not a friend.  I mean, one reason you're all so happy is you 
found a way to make change your friend, right?  Diversity is a strength, 
not a source of division, right?  (Applause.)  Change is a way to make 
money, not throw people out of work, right?  
	If you decentralize and push decisions made down to the lowest 
possible level you enable every employee to live up to the fullest of 
their ability.  And you don't make them -- by giving them a six-week 
break every four years, you don't force them to make these sharp 
divisions between your work life and your private life.  It's sort of a 
seamless web.  These are things we need to learn in America, and we need 
to incorporate even into more traditional workplaces.
	So I'd like to start -- we'll talk about the technology policy 
later, and the Vice President, who had done so much work, will talk a lot 
about the details at the end of this meeting.  But I just want to start 
by telling you that one of our missions -- in order to make this whole 
thing work we're going to have to make the government work differently.
	Example:  We cut the White House staff by 25 percent to set a 
standard for cutting inessential spending in the government.  But the 
work load of the White House is way up.  We're getting all-time record 
telephone calls and letters coming in, and we have to serve our 
customers, too.  Our customers are the people that put us there, and if 
they have to wait three months for an answer to a letter, that's not 
	But when we took office, I walked into the Oval Office -- it's 
supposed to be the nerve center of the United States -- and we found 
Jimmy Carter's telephone system.  (Laughter.)  All right.  No speaker 
phone, no conference calls, but anybody in the office could punch the 
lighted button and listen to the President talk.  (Laughter.)  So that I 
could have the conference call I didn't want but not the one I did.  
(Laughter and applause.)
	Then we went down into the basement where we found Lyndon 
Johnson's switchboard.  (Laughter.)  True story -- where there were four 
operators working from early morning till late at night -- literally, 
when a phone would come and they'd say, "I want to talk to the Vice 
President's office," they would pick up a little cord and push it into a 
little hole.  (Laughter.)  That's today -- right?
	We found procedures that were so bureaucratic and cumbersome for 
procurement that Einstein couldn't figure them out, and all the offices 
were organized in little closed boxes -- just the opposite of what you 
	In our campaign, however -- we ran an organization in the 
presidential campaign that was very much like this.  Most decisions were 
made in a great big room in morning meetings that we had our senior staff 
in, but any 20-year-old volunteer who had a good idea could walk right in 
and say, "here's my idea."  Some of them were very good and we 
incorporated them.
	And we had a man named Ellis Mottur who helped us to put together 
our technology policy who said -- he was one of our senior citizens; he 
was in his 50s.  (Laughter.)  And he said, "I've been writing about high-
performance work organizations all my life.  And this is the first one 
I've ever worked in and it has no organizational chart.  I can't figure 
out what it looks like on paper, but it works."
	The Vice President was making fun of me when we were getting 
ready for the speech I gave Wednesday night to the Congress; it was like 
making sausage.  People were running in and out saying, put this in and 
take this out.  (Laughter.)  But it worked.  You know, it worked.  
	So I want to hear from you, but I want you to know that we have 
hired a person at the Office of Management and Budget who has done a lot 
of work in creating new businesses and turning businesses around -- to 
run the management part of that.  We're trying to review all these 
indictments that have been issued over the last several years about the 
way the federal government is run.  But I want you to know that I think a 
major part of my missions is to literally change the way the national 
government works, spends your tax dollars, so that we can invest more and 
consume less and look toward the future.  And that literally will 
require rethinking everything about the way the government operates.
	The government operates so much to keep bad things from happening 
that there's very little energy left in some places to make good things 
happen.  If you spend all your time trying to make sure nothing bad 
happens there's very little time and money and human energy left to make 
good things happen.  We're going to try to pare away a lot of that 
bureaucracy and speed up the decision-making process and modernize it.  
And I know a lot of you can help.  Technology is a part of that, but so 
is organization and empowerment, which is something you've taught us 
again today.  And I thank you very much.  (Applause.)
	We want to do a question and answer now, and then the Vice 
President is going to talk in more detail about our technology policy 
later.  But that's what we and Ed agreed to do.  He's my boss today; I'm 
doing what he -- (laughter.)  So I wond

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