The following is a guest post by Richard Feller, i2Coalition Board Member and Founder of Hedgehog Hosting.
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending CEA’s Celebration of Internet Freedomat the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The i2Coalition was a proud co-sponsor of the event, along with many others who value the openness of the web. Having already seen the premiere of Silicon Prairie at CES in Las Vegas, I was still eager to attend the Washington D.C. debut. While CES pulled in a crowd from all over the world, I was curious to see how our politically focused demographic would view the showing. The movie portrays a vibrant display of small businesses that are starting up in a digital age and using the Internet to foster the growth of their businesses. What was unexpected and what I was very excited to learn from the film is that many of these digital startups with online storefronts are now opening brick and mortar retail storefronts. Now these companies are creating more jobs, earning more revenues and an added benefit is that they are reviving cityscapes that were otherwise considered dead.
Silicon Prairie shows us that the scope of what we, and our other i2Coalition member companies do here as infrastructure providers, is vastly important to this process. As a hosting company, any of those startups could have been using my service, or the service of one of my many competitors, to facilitate their offerings. It brings great satisfaction to me knowing that we are such an integral part of this process.
The post-premiere reception at The Source was a fantastic time. There was a lot of talk about the businesses that were highlighted in the film and there was a lot of talk about Internet Freedom. On the one year anniversary of the quelling of SOPA and PIPA, we had much to be joyous about, but there was still a desire to encourage everyone to do more not just to stop bad legislation from being enacted, but to champion ongoing outreach to promote positive legislative discussions. As Alexis Ohanian said many times last night, if the people speak, they will be listened to. January 18, 2012 was an example of that. Now we need to use that energy to continue moving forward.
Finally, it was really nice to just talk to people. At the end of the day, we do what we do for business, we do what we do for a salary, but the real interaction and the real reason we are all out there is to interact as people. As Naithan Jones, the CEO of AgLocal said, we just want to interact as humans, and the entire night was a great representation of just that.