Last year I was asked to give the DIMBLEBY LECTURE. I was *somewhat* surprised as I have been lucky enough to go to the event for the last two years and never imagined that I would be standing up there like Bill Gates and Christine Lagarde. It was surreal to imagine being their follow on act…
Of course I said yes. Opportunties this incredible only come once or twice in a lifetime and I believe they should be grabbed with both hands. However, GULP. Not only is the format quite intimidating – 40 minutes straight to camera with no questions, no interaction but also there is a lot of pressure not to squander the immense luxury of so much time uninterrupted.
I knew quickly that I wanted to talk about the internet and why I get so frustrated with so many aspects of the digital world. I knew I wanted to use my experiences of building a dotcom business in the late 90s but I wanted to talk more about the work I have done since then – helping everyone get digital skills, helping start the government digital service, being in the lords, looking at the security services in the light of snowden for the DPM.
I also knew that I wanted to use the lecture to suggest ideas, solutions and prompt action. I wrote a version and shared it with some people I respect and trust. It was fine they said – just boring. So, no biggie then. Boring?! NO BIGGIE.
That was when I realised I needed more help and I needed to say one big thing not lots of smaller ones.
Thank goodness, I have some incredible friends and colleagues – I cant thank them on the night so I need to do it here. They helped me build on my idea that the UK should create a public institution so that we can be brilliant at the internet. More of that in other blogs next week.
I want to thank especially Russell Davies and Ella Fitzsimmons. Russell is a legendary teller of stories and he helped me tell mine with endless patience and care and challenge. I wish I could put have a big picture of him behind me on Mon night but strangely the BBC didnt go for that.
Ella has been tough at picking apart some of my more flakey links and sentences. Shes definitely a talent to watch.
Then there have been a patient team of people who have read, pondered and helped me improve – Tom Loosemore, Tony Ageh, Bill Thompson, Tom Steinberg, Emma Mulqueeny, Aleks Krotoski, Matt Warman, Peter Read, Julia Powles, Matthew Taylor, Graham Walker.
I couldnt have made half the sense or impact without all of them. Thank you.
Please tune in to bbc1 on monday 30th march at 1045pm. I know its not very fashionable to just switch on the tv but I need you – as viewers yes but also to help make Britain brilliant at the internet.