Interviewee: Lynn St. Amour
Interviewer: Bu Zhong
Date: June 15, 2017
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Transcriber: Fan Yuanyuan
Lynn St. Amour is President & CEO of Internet-Matters, and is active in many matters of Internet development and governance. Lynn served from 2001 - 2014 as President & CEO of the Internet Society (ISOC). Lynn joined ISOC in 1998 as Executive Director of its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations, following senior positions in Europe and the US with AT&T and Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC). She was based in Europe from 1984 - 2011.
In the interview, Lynn discusses her study, her family, her work as Chair of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee (IGF-MAG).
BZ: The project he started actually called the oral history of the internet. Started in 2007. And he already interviewed before I joint in 187, Chinese pioneers(??) related to internet including all big gurus in the industry, academia, and governments, more than 30 government officers. So he brought me in, truly want to be a global platform. So we said we're not like that just Chinese, or Americans or Europe. It's like including Africa, Oceania. So everybody. So we have a big plan is, by 2019, which is marked the 50th anniversary of internet, we`ll reach 500. The reason behind this is not just build a hall of fame. And put on the line there. We also like to produce documentary books. And of course, on the internet. The purpose is not just recorded history for the sake of history, but like see what kind of insights and people involving there so much about the first fifty years and may have some indications, meaningful messages lever to (??)people who are younger, sort of, got used to, take it for granted of the internet environment. So what kind of message they can learn from this. So not of things (??) will come out of this projects. So I think other sounds like boring whenever you mention what history, actually. And the approach we do is not like second hand, like had things there. We just go to you, ask you recall, first WSIS, how you join 1998 like I mean internet society, that kind of things. (??) So how things had end up to be like that. And then, some vivid things like that. And you know, so we believe that piece of history so important they belong to human civilization. Not necessarily just like, you know for the interests of those people who are, you know, have some very narrow areas and everybody can tap into the resources and see how it is. I appreciate honor things(??) already so much about you and some other people here. But our approach of slightly different, is because we want like, you know, offers interview, (??) we`d like to, for example, if you talk about internet governance or talk about some other people, that are maybe three four people talk about the internet and come from different angles and that could be a documentary that could be a book. So I don't know I answer your question or not.
LA: yeah, you did
BZ: anything else you want to know there?
LA: who are in there? Sponsors or
BZ: You know, we do. I think I do have you know, a copy……
So you already know that we have a wonderful academic Advisory board. You are there too, you know, so we didnot approach you yet, we had a very nice talk at last year at Mexico, IGF. We went to the reception, we lined up there I talked to you so much. But again I realize you are so prominent at that moment. You are so soft sable can(??) humble, you know that's how you, so that's make me admire you more, actually. I think and this is a very important work that you people have down. I definitely will send you some e-copies, maybe that`s easier, since that your email address is there. So can we start now.
BZ: so I would like to, the first question I usually ask is, I know and you know, I think it is a very good on the bench mark at 1998 that you joined internet society. Am I right? And you eventually became CEO, President. So I like to go back a little bit there, you know start from while your universal paramount(??) so what kind of family background or education experiences, is sort of like make you choose, you know, to do what you do now, and you do so well. Before even like Boston
LA: I mean I was always interested in math and science and when I was in high school. There is no so clearly date me. (??) When I was in high school I was taking advanced math and science classes and in fact we have taken some computing classes. But we were still time sharing, so we were actually using a university of Vermont computer to time share with a small group of us at Burlington high school. And so when I went to the University of Vermont, I actually started taking…
BZ :you grow up in Burlington?
LA: I grew up in Burlington.
BZ: that`s a beautiful city.
LA: Oldest of six children and my youngest brother was a special needs child, so that was one of the reasons why I wanted to stay close to home and went to the University of Vermont. And I started taking science and computer science courses. And again we still at that point were so using cards and people had to book for time slots and you know the best time slot you can get was one and three a.m. in the morning and I loved computing and loved computers wasn't...you know, you are 18,19, it was not all that comfortable on that environment which was in a very seriously sort of male at that point in time. So I actually switched my major into a business administration major but still maintain a lot of the science and computer and math courses.
And when I graduated with the degree, that is degree in business administration and accounting, finance, I am started working at General Electric and my first job there was a computer programmer. And they started try to automate the shop floor systems. Now in Burlington Vermont, General Electric was an armament systems division plant. So they were making parts for the F.15, 14 when I was at that point in time. Fighters and tank parts and so there were these huge, you know, manufacturing processes with big rolls of steel coming in. And they were actually automating that so they were trying to automate all the bills of materials for production and they are trying to automate and all the different cycles and prophecies and…So I was one of the team they brought in. 12 college graduates, recent college graduates, to come in and help program and automated that system. So I did that if I'd only stayed General Electric for about a year. Like the work I think the part was a little, you know, hard to feeling entirely comfortable with.
BZ: let me ask you a question, you know, among the 12 newbies, How many of them are women.
LA: Of the 12, there were two.
BZ: oh my gosh. Do you feel like you work in a male dominance environment yourself? How is that?
LA: I did and I do. I still do. I mean at some point I think you get sort of in you a little bit and a male like to think that I have a good sense of humor and you know, respect differences and differences in sense of humor, different approaches, different and when they actually look for what people's intent is
BZ: how possibly, you know, not all people were having like strew types(??) Americans don't understand that(??), don't do good there. Or ladies do not do good like engineering or computer science. In that year, how many female in…
LA: You know I don't actually know and for some odd reason I chose to go into business administration rather than into an engineering degree, and you know, for years afterwards I wonder, you know why I made that decision. And frankly why didn't stay with the computer programming but no we make our choices and I've had great experiences and at great jobs. What I did after I left General Electric, I had a phone call from a woman in HR for digital equipment, who actually called and said would you be interested coming, I applied you know for position with them some years earlier. And I said no, thank you I am now at General Electric and works really interesting and really quite happy here. And she said, one of the best recruiters ever met. She said well, you know I think digital equipment is a very different environment than General Electric. It’s much younger. I'm sure she said there's a lot more women in there. Why don`t you come and spend half a day with us and just see if you like the environment and the... So I thought fine, nothing to lose. So I went and spent half day a day. Did like the culture. As they were making computers and computers were certainly a lot more exciting and a lot more positive promise than armament system Division. So I decided to leave General Electric and go to digital. I spent sixteen years with them. Digital equipment.
BZ: just one year in GE?
LA: One year in GE.
BZ: That what year is that.
LA: I would need to… let me think for a minute. I went there in…oh, my Goodness. This is the one thing I cannot...
BZ: you freshly graduated Vermont and you jointed GE.
LA: So it would be…oh My goodness. 1978. Does that make sense?
BZ: okay, so 1978, you jointed the Digital.
LA: I can check the dates I have this funny blog with these time I always go back and calculate them based on experiences that I can. I can remember. But I was lucky enough to be in a strategic program which is actually looking at artificial intelligence and in the manufacturing process. I was part of a corporate team based out of headquarters in Maynard, Massachusetts, but in working at Burlington Vermont. And that's when in the computer industry everything had been sort of specifically manufactured and then there was a final assembly process on a particular plant where they were building computers to specific, customer orders. But over time, all the intelligent business(??) migrating to the chips so we saw this kind of migration. And I was sort of a part of a corporate team that actually works through that process for several years. So I was trying to understand how that was changing the manufacturing process, how was changing the capacity requirements of sourcing requirements. Was part of a corporate manufacturing team called sourcing and capacity project or something? Sorry, actually, I wasn`t expecting this interview with the sort of topic so it's deep deep in my mind. But I, you know, had a fantastic time at Digital Equipment. And then at some point time I move to the headquarters in Boston. Who was there for several years was a very early member of their entry into personal computers. When they had the pro and the rainbow and the deck mate. And they had a division which is actually focused on those and I actually went with that division to Europe to Scotland. Which is where that…
BZ: Olsen. Do you have any impression or interaction with him?
LA: He was still there, very active. It's Barry Fulson(??), I think is the name who was responsible for the actually made the response which is for one of the personal computers. They had three separate competing lines. But I mean there were full of stories about Ken Olsen and one of the stories I can remember is he ordered, I think it was a rainbow. And it came delivered on a skid, a wooden skid with these huge boxes and of course the skid wouldn't fit in to his front door think some of the boxes wouldn't. So you know set this huge flurry of reimagining repackaging. And start to look at the delivery process in the shipment process was that, was meant to be a home computer and get a home computer delivered on a wooden manufacturing skid. It was a great time. Everything was changing so fast and really was so full of promise. Everybody was so excited about what, you know, computers could do and what it could got out of it. You know there were almost no downsized of conversations you had. Today you have conversations since about fake news or scams or, you know, everyone of the conversations as balances positive and negative and for a relatively short period time it was all positive. And it was lovely. I was just so full of promise and excitement and enthusiasm that it was going to change a better, people's lives. It was tremendous experience, tremendous.
BZ: Right, so you actually keep doing this, you know. Actually while I was at a university And I got approached by separate leading company, approached me said can you do a research, why middle career ladies, women would drop engineering, drop from either withdraw to family or go to somewhere else. Just you know, to do those researches, is the open, the data for me so we can analyze what`s going on…So my question to you is, and that you actually have a quite a career direction shift, out of like you know, front line, programming, engineering, they are so tech side, to more like a policy making
LA: And I went to manufacturing and sales side.
BZ: Sales side, okay.
LA: So I went to…when I moved to Europe I was in Scotland and something called FMIC---Field Manufacturing Information Center. And it was a relatively small unit that was meant to interface between the marketing sales side of the house, who are trying to understand what the products with the customers live over the price points with the features. And manufacturing which was of course manufacturing and engineering who are designing the new products. So it was meant to be an interface between them in a business sense. To help ensure appropriate pricing, delivery, inventory, wrapping out one product and wrapping up the new. So when it was at that interface member. It was neither purely manufacturing and engineering nor purely sales and marketing. And that's also was fascinating. I mean you got to see the new products coming…
BZ: so you come to Scotland because of the family reasons or your career, or something you saw? (??)
LA: Just for the opportunity. I had when I was with the personal computer division in the U. S. that was in Marlboro Massachusetts. I worked with a lot of Europeans because whenever you start some of these new product line supplies are really restricted. So we were working together on closely, to try and manage the global supply. And that you confidence that I would treated fairly and work an appropriate process. So I ended up working with them to try and determine what was the right strategy to deal with the requirements both in Europe as well as in the U. S.. And that led ultimately to this offered to Scotland for the Field Manufacturing Information Center position. And I did that for some years and then I moved to France just over the border here came out(??) there. And still with the FMIC and then I moved into a Geneva proper into the Digital European headquarters in Geneva. And I was responsible pricing director ultimately. I did some strategic planning work for the corporate strategic office. Under Howrada(??) who was here at the time. He was a VP for strategy. Pierre Carlo Flotti(??) was actually the president and CEO of digital equipment Europe. For some years I was a director of pricing. Digital was moving from a sales distribution model to a channel distribution mode, which of course changes are pricing structure incentives and sales. And so I was responsible for that effort for a period of years. And then at some point, with those successive jobs I actually felt like I was losing touch with the excitement of computers in PC's. And instead, it was spread sheets in numbers and margins in pricing, distribution channels and I decided it was time for a change.
And AT&T was taking their individual units and merging into one AT&T. And then going to do an awful lot more in the space of combining those in the IT space. So I joined them, and that period of time, Pierre Carlo Flotti(??) at that point had been the president of digital Europe was actually the president of AT&T Europe. EMEA…
I think that was in 1994. So I joined AT&T and I spent three years with AT&T. And about a year at AT&T, they went through divestiture, where they had taken the five division it's emerging into one AT&T and sub divestiture…(??) At that point I decided to stay with the computer division as supposed to going to one of the other two. And I stayed there for a few years. I have to say that those fairly big cultural differences between AT&T and Digital equipment. Digital equipment was really open door policy, lots of opportunity, not a lot of standing in and kind of hierarchy and it was really you know, kind of much more meritocratic in terms of the ability to progress energy just get to choose the fun projects you're working on.
I was a Digital Equipment initially there were going 35 percent a year. So if you wanted to take advantage of that and moved to you know the front lines or the new and exciting areas, there was always plenty of new lines new areas. And AT&T was some you know didn't have that luxury at that point in time.
And they were moving their headquarters from Geneva. Previously the headquarters has been mostly in Brussels. Partly here and Geneva. And then ultimately we're going to close the office here and moved to London. Consolidate headquarters there. And I decided I really wanted to stay here in Geneva. And that's when an opportunity came along to help the Internet Society with one of their annual conferences here. There's a really great story there, and that… at the Geneva, Borst the stock exchange(??) had the subtly largely right, but again, you know, it take me some time to get the figures and numbers to mind. But they were automated and there's all moved to Zurich, but they had a fund which is actually called shinasplus (??)financier(??), which was actually taking some of the funds from the aboss(??), and using them to reinvest in future areas for Geneva. So one of the areas was everything humanitarian, another area was the sort of smart computing and they had an E-Health initiative for some period of time, and quite a number of E initiatives that they were working on across the kuntang(??) digital. And one of things they were interested in doing was having a regional office of the Internet Society here in Geneva. So they asked if I would help support the annual conference. Because I was 1998 here in Geneva. And then stay on and help open the Internet Society's office here. And I thought I would do that for, you know, a little pairs of time, it would be fun to start an office internet. And I was with the Internet Society for sixteen years. So, you never know which move is going to take to…
BZ: That's the longest that obligation to stay with
LA: I was actually, yes.
BZ: So you pick up the language quite easily? You know you prepare
LA: I had to studied French in high school and my mother spoke French my grandmother spoke French, so we didn't really speak it at home all that much. But it was fairly easy to pick up although when I went away for a few years ago it's a little..
BZ: that's why some people said when your foreign language is good and your math is good, that word is true too. So what would you feel, you know, you feel so proud of while you're doing some projects with Internet Society
LA: Probably a couple of things. When I first joined the society they were quite small, had some financial difficulties in the sense of they were pretty much running on a cash flow basis and they had conferences so they would use the monies from the previous activity to fund the next. And work really in a position to substantially grow the organization. But after some years we put in a bid. I drove a process to put in a bid to bid for the dot org registry, which was going through an open bid process. Draw that process we were successful. I set up a separate company basically a subsidiary, underneath the Internet Society called Public Interest Registry. And that was an important for two reasons it was important terms of supporting the domain name industry because we were hopeful that all the values and principles that the internet society had, which came from its founders Spencer from Bob Kahn, would really be reflected through converging DNS industry at that point in time.
So it was meant to be a positive factor in that industry and of course returned it actually gave ISOC a revenue stream, which was actually much more substantial than expected. That allowed us to grow a number of our programs. We were able to better support some of our chapter activities around the world. We were able to participate more fully in some of the policy activities, where internet and internet governance were just coming into being.
But I was just on a panel here at WSIS and I was talking to Gary Fowlie who's with the I. T. U. And he said who was here for the very first WSIS one and please put up their hands. And I said I was here before WSIS one. I was here at the brainstorming session around what WSIS would be, and shut the Kobe, down the road in Kobe in 2001. So I beat everybody in the audience with the timing. And so Internet Society was active in internet governance from that day forward and in fact I couldn't go to that meeting in the shut the Kobe, `cause I had an Internet Society board meeting in another continent. So I asked an individual who is leading our French chapter by chapter to Paris to come and participate bid ISOC representative in that meeting. But from there on forward we were deeply involved in all of the internet governance activity, so in the prep concept supported WSIS one and WSIS two. And those were two and three week events. And obviously WSIS one and WSIS two internet society was involved in the working group to (??)internet governance. So to your question, we were walking over here you know it's just been kind of growing with this whole internet governance space. It's both knowing a lot of the players. It's knowing it and from a technical side it's knowing it from the business side and it's knowing it now. you know, in later years from more from the you know policy perspective or governmental organization respective .so I think all those things just came together nicely.
BZ: You seems to me on that you are already so successful in tech world, you know, a good programmer and then be. So if you keep doing that I have no doubts that you'll be like some tech executive, like at AT&T, or G. E. or probably some new things there…
LA: I like the heart. I mean what I liked about the Internet Society was the heart and the passion and making a difference. And when you can see how that's making a difference in people's lives because of information they have access to. That was really very rewarding. So, at some respect I'm not certain how long it would stay in some of these organizations. I think I really like the heart of the Internet Society.
BZ: after your internet society tenure and you, start like, any, you know, more, it seems to me more international roles, you know, multiple values, not just in one and ISOC IGF and also WSIS and you know, you join there, but at the same time you also work as CEO of Internet Matters. How you prioritize your energy and time?
LA: So the Internet Matters is just a small consulting company, there is a internet matters.co .uk, which actually is, I believe is actually association of some telecom companies in the UK that so to promote good practices and behaviors. But that's not the Internet Matters that I am a part of. A lot of people do confuse that. It literally was just, when I left the Internet Society, but was not looking for a full time job. I really want to be able to choose some projects that were of interest to me. And it was just to create a home. If you will for
BZ: there is hyphen that's you, right.
LA: Yes yeah.
LA: Yeah exactly.
BZ: Yeah so your main energy is like IGF and WSIS now?
LA: The main energy for the last two years. The internet governance forum for multi stakeholder advisory group chair is an annual position. As pointed by the UN Secretary General. So I served in that role last year and was reappointed again by the new Secretary General this year. It is taking, normally, the chair position is, pretty much, a chair position and doesn't require, you know, extraordinary amount of time
BZ: You have wonderful staff like to support your work like Chengetai?
LA: Absolutely wonderful staff very small and very stretched. But the Chair, it`s not a CEO, so the Chengetai Masango actually runs the secretariat. He`s UN employee it's a secretariat staffed with UN employees. And because the WSIS presided at the end of 2015, extended the IGF`s mandate for another ten years. We were just entering our second year of that ten years. There's a lot of, said a pent up(??) demand within the community in terms of making the IGF even more relevant extending its outreach, really making it much more local in a sense for the national regional IGFs: So there is a lot more work to be done. Almost all at management level. That normally wouldn't fall to a Chair but I said that I would take this year and go beyond the traditional activities of the Chair and support that work just to help get the that whole effort moving a bit.
BZ: I really only have a very small Snapchat shack shot at your work while you were cheer the MHE meeting there. Working your new position previously I guess, you are the boss, so everybody listen to you. Here you are try to iron out those differences there. How you are so soft spoken lady can handle this kind of tough task, which is like, you know, sometimes, you know, so many people don't understand the rule, don`t understand what's really going on at IGF or WSIS, how you achieved that. How can you…do you have some frustration, you know, sometimes you know which will not show to the world.
LA: Surely there are certainly times when I would like things to move more quickly and then I'm hopeful that it doesn't show. But one of the things that actually helps is the sort of diplomacy that attends UN process. Because the multi stakeholder advisory group is a formal UN meeting that operates under UN and to the protocols if you well there's a certain standard of decorum behavior that expected. And there are 55 MAG members, half of them come from governments. And in that meeting they`re representing their governments. The other half come from the other three stakeholder groups: private sector, civil society and technical sector. So I think the fact that it's in a diplomatic setting with the government side actually have a certain level of decorum, who as you may have witnesses are at ease calling out behavior if they think it's inappropriate for this type of meeting and all that helps keep the balance.
But I think the biggest reason is because everybody really supports and understands the goals. They know what the task of the MAG is. What's important to the IGF. Because we've consulted with the community, we have community put through a lot of the submissions and proposals we've received. So it’s pretty clear what goal we were working towards in such a pretty concrete as well, which is what makes it a little easier
BZ: You did a fantastic job there. You know a lot of people may not be able to handle that, you know we always have some higher architecture, you're impossible to say something there. We were not like it so prepared for so many challenges.
BZ: He likes to ask you the role of IGF in the global internet governance, what kind of roles you vision or hope IGF will play.
LA: The IGF came out of the WSIS, one in WSIS to process. Its mandate set by to its agenda, specifically the paragraph 72. It's pretty, it actually feels a fairly unique role. Because first of all it's taking place under UN, it`s convey by the UN secretary general. And yet it is completely multi-stakeholder. So I sort of call it a hybrid model. Its DNA really is multi stakeholder. So a lot of our practices are very open they are bottom up, they are consultative. Just as UN does. We look for a lot of balance we look to be maximally inclusive and all those sorts of things. So I think to the extent. We could take some of the learning from this kind of hybrid process and make those better understood and more governmental policy forms with, I think that would be a significant benefit for the world. And we see, up taken in different places and in different forums so it is happening. With respective sustainable development agenda 2030.
I participated in the science and technology innovation forum last year in New York the first one of this whole SDG 2030 agenda. And the two Chairs were excellent, just excellent, really trying to again to still the best in that and the(??) best learnings and really put a real urgency into the discussions. When you're meeting once a year to contend a feel like it's more about sharing ideas and they just companion(??), this is, we're going to make progress, this is real. So we need to be concrete we'd be substantive, no prepared speeches. No, we want concrete suggestions, they are gonna move these forward. And so particular I was there to talk about the IGF and talk about its processes, how it worked, how we were bringing it at local. That of course, happens the national regional IGF initiatives as well as other processes such as the best practice forums we have. How we managed to actually get work done and make progress when you only have a formal meeting once a year. Also talked about some of those processes and so I think it's some of the learnings about how you manage some of these processes that kind of really sturt kind of traditional diplomatic processes with some of that multi-stakeholder
BZ: Right. So it's very quickly because I'm the first timer to go to Mexico, IGF there. But I do hear some people were mentioning that, you know what IGF is just people talk talk talk there. How do you like organize there, how you comments on this and how you need to know okay these talks are meaningful, still have some messages are there, or maybe its not like a tech side there, oh we have a Google boss and come here do this and that and we get it done. How you going to react to this kind of comments there?
LA: Yeah I mean they are right. One of the design features of the IGF was that it wasn't to have negotiated outcomes. Precisely because if you're not in a process while you have negotiated outcomes. There's fairly limited listening. Everybody is there pretty much to put forward their countries position. And so many of the internet obviously doesn't respect physical boundaries. So many of the complex problems we have are really quite new ones. It really depends on the particular environment. So whether it`s intellectual property or whether it's a net neutrality or new competition policy. It really depends on what is your current environment, how many operators you have, what is your competition policy currently you know, what are your cultural values your social values. What is assumed appropriate in one country is not necessarily appropriate in another. So all these discussions really need, what we call, sort of carefully teasing apart. And you really only do that if you're actually engaging and listening. And the very first IGF having come from WSIS which was primarily governmental processes. Civil society and the private sector had very limited roles in very limited formal participation roles in the structures that was all governments.
To now where the first IGF and their Ministers sitting on the floor with their legs crossed with civil society and the private sector, talking about net neutrality, talking about privacy and they were really learning. Why do you believe that, how do you think that, how might this be addresses, is it a possible to change this, if we did that what would. It was just such a deep learning experience. Because there was no negotiated outcome are negotiated, treaty. We have taken steps so, because the talk is fine, at the end of the day you really want to figure out dialogue. It`s a more accurate than talk. You really want to figure how you take those learnings away, and how do you actually extend them to, extend them more broadly in the world. So that's why we started things such as a best practice forums. To take some of these forums and take the learnings and then document them and then make them available, so that people didn't have to go through the same thing two and three times. We have connecting and enabling the next billion policy effort a major intersection policy program which is entering its third year now and third phase. So we are, we certainly start with dialogue. It's the basis of all understanding. I think the progress is well. And then we're trying to find ways to get outcomes that are helpful. And can be shared much more broadly. So I can't disagree with the fact that it's a talk shop although I think that's unnecessary pejorative. But again…
BZ: But there is negotiated outcome. I like that term you know
How do you like to comments on the future developments of WSIS, ISOC, IGF and ICANN .
LA: that`s a big, big list. Well with them
BZ: Maybe their roles like in internet governance.
LA: There's something which when I was in the Internet Society, we coined the internet ecosystem. And we can get a couple different ways of talking about the internet ecosystem. One was to talk by organization to say the internet society's mission is and its goals and same thing with all the other organizations. And then we turned around and said that's fine. But at the end of the day, people don't really care about the organizations per se. What they really want to know is where is everything(??) done, where do I go to have a discussion public policy, where do I go if I want to figure out how to fight spam or. So we turned around and took these major. Yeah look like a trivial pursuit pie, in fact. But these major slices of, like pieces of work. And we said this is the work that`s done. That`s part of this internet ecosystem and easily organizations that have roles in it. And it's when you look at that, it's pretty clear that everyone of those major pieces of work, involves multiple pieces of the ecosystem multiple stakeholders.
It will involve governments and private sector and civil society or will involve the technical community and governments in some instances. And it really is an ecosystem in the truest sense of the word and if you looked at all the organizations that initially supported the internet development. So the internet engineering task force, the IGF, internet architecture board, the regional internet registries, ISOC itself, everyone of those organizations started up because somebody saw a need. And so we really need an organization or a small group of people to care about, to pay attention, to do, to facilitate. And they all grew up organically and because they were needed they found funding sources, revenue sources which I suppose is one test of need as well. And I think that system will keep evolving. And I think it's important that it keeps evolving `cause it needs to flex in that way. And I think it's important for all organizations of flexi United Nations
BZ: I identified your goal, you deliver value, so you begin to attract like support and you`ll be sustainable models going on there.
LA: Every organization needs to flex and if you look at what's happening in a large part of the world is concerned about the loss of jobs. You know that`s through primarily automation. But that starts to affect what is the future of work if automation is increasing at such a rapid rate. And the jobs are disappearing. How much work will there be in the future for. So, how does that impact ILO, has an impact governments, has that impact mayors.
BZ: we passed by the I. T. U. on the doors, there we are known 7.5 and the Pay cut(??), did you say that.
LA: No Sorry, say that again? did I…
BZ: We pass the aisle of the I. T. U. building, to from ICANN Montbrillant and truth(??) tower, we begin to see on those office doors they said, well, say no to pay cut 7.5%.
LA: Yes, that's a little different.
BZ: Is that like ITU related?
LA: No, some of, my understanding again as an UN employee. It’s not ITU related, it's U. N. specific and specific to the UN in Geneva. Apparently UN Headquarters did cost of living analysis and found that the cost of living in Geneva is not quite so as expensive as maybe it was at some point in time. So that the employees that are here are being overpaid, according to the cost of living standards. So sadly for them, they, I think starting the beginning of next month are getting 7.5 % pay cut.
BZ: How China can change itself to participate more in international activities related to internet governance, what your suggestions are
LA: I think I mean China has been quite active in internet governance. It's only been very active internationally in terms of technical matters and things. CNNIC and the Chinese academy of sciences department(??). Yan was on, Dr. Yan was actually on the internet society board I worked with for years with Madame Wu. And I saw her last year. She was in Boston for a trip and we had a couple of meetings. But she's been following the internet governance discussion since the very early stages as well and quite active. So you know I think it depends maybe on who's participating, how comfortable they are with the subject matter, and possibly even with English, because so many of the meetings are held in English. It's not possible to find the funding for all the simultaneous interpretation. But there's been somebody from China on each one of the MAGs. China's held ICANN meeting same (??)hosted IETF meetings. That course of WSIS conference and may have internet conferences in years past as well. (??)
BZ: What kind of important things could happened at 12 December's IGF, or the different from like in Mexico or CNNIC. (??)
LA: Yeah I think was... Well has a word seems(??) to be such a different place from with…Black said that(??) elections in cyber security and the attacks, so you know cyber security is even more front center than it has been in past years. At the moment there's a lot of talk around Geneva cyber convention. I honestly have no idea where that will go. But I suspect it's going to be a very big topic, not necessary that specific initiative but just in general.
BZ: Not a fake news to talk.
LA: And a lot of fake news talk. Of course, European Broadcasting Union senior engineer as well. So there will be a number of sessions and a number of panels on fake news at the IGF.
BZ: Right. when I see you and your workshop propose there. You know, yesterday, there are really some hot issues and technic world discussion. (??)
LA: Gender is another hot issue as well.
BZ: I have like that you know, I know that you are very tight there. I'll will cut it very short. So what I'd like to ask you is you devote like almost a whole career to the internet related work, technic side and the internet governance. We`ll see back, look back there. So do you have anything like and you want redo or you want to do it different way or even like your career path, okay so I'd rather go maybe this way or what.
LA: Yeah I mean I used to wish that I actually spend more time in technical. So in computer science. There was a short period time when I thought you know, it it's working international affairs or policy would have stood me well in these kind of processes. I mean at the end of the day, I really like to look forward. I've had some tremendous experiences, some tremendous opportunities at Bennett, the front end(??) of so many interesting kind of ways that you know I think I have to be thankful for the combination of all these experiences coming together. And I mean this is a tremendous opportunity.
BZ: you`d rather jump into the international works activities more quickly than it was?
LA: No, I mean I'm really happy for all the experiences I had. You know a digital equipment and then at the internet society. And I traveled 60-70% of the time when I was with the internet society, because there was so much happening elsewhere in the world. Because of course internet society's mission was to support the open evolution and development of the internet for the benefit of people across the world. So if you wanted to actually support that, you needed to go to all the countries in Africa and in Asia. And you know they said it really was my heart that pulled me and you see the difference it makes and how excited people are. But honestly difference makes in their lives.
BZ: How many miles you fly each year?
LA: I don`t know, I didn`t know, I'm not sure I want to know.
BZ: do you have any suggestions for our projects like the oral history of the internet.
LA: who of you actually kind of interviewed quite a few people have you know this is like...
BZ: This is something new I came here and that I begin to have this one there. We like to advertise our diversity. What I mean is not just the including more women and also including young. Like some were in their thirties here, previously we were only thinking like, okay, the first ICANN board member, or who are the founding fathers of internet in their own country, which is important, they are important contributors. So that's what I'm thinking, you know, say add more not just like, we have this kind ideas. Hey, not just Europeans Americans, also Africa, you know, but what other suggestions you may have for us.
LA: so I have a couple which maybe you, and I mean I can certainly give you some specific if you like. I can actually give you the name and the email address I can send you that in an email. There's also, you said you're aware of the internet society hall of fame. That actually does look specifically at a lot of the fathers and mothers of the internet in countries across the world. So that's a good place to start. And this may be a little too ahead of that. But there was an individual in Spain who pulled together a lot of special moments in the entrance history so he would... I will send you… I was just blanking for a moment on the name of the project.
BZ: Castile? It`s not Castile. He is in the US
LA: I am blanking on the names of the project, I will send…
BZ: Yeah he is like to say and you know you is there any corporation opportunity with ISOC. You know talk about this project
LA: I'm sure there was. When I started in ISOC in early 2014, we had started to put together a timeline, the timeline was timeline of the internet and the internet society about what it was meant to do was to capture the story of each chapter. So within the story of each chapter, which there are about a hundred chapters now. Within the story of the chapter, you would have the founding father mother of the chapter the year they were founded the initial boards and... That would be, that should be all online, again I can look that up and send you the link to that too. But that would be a wealth of contacts to start with there. And certainly the internet society if you went to the internet society. Raúl Echeberría would be a good person to contact. And maybe Ayesha Hassan in terms of some pointers to somebody individuals and had a clue to find them.
BZ: Okay good. I have a final question. Okay. This is why existed why we record this. After so many years you devote your energy, you know time and to this one year now(??). I`d like you to share a very important message to some future generation who are really grew up with internet. This year, twenty years later or even thirty years later, they see this video; they see our interview with more. What kind of message you`d like to tell them.
LA: That's a great question, it's a great question and... I don't know I think I would probably say look for the possibilities, just look for the possibilities in whatever you're doing. Be open.
BZ: Be open, not get isolated, sort of deny.
LA: No, I mean just look for the possibilities.
BZ: Then you take a lot of energies you bring to us here. Yeah. That's wonderful. Thank you so much
LA: yeah thank you. This was enjoyable. It was not at all what I expected. It was an extremely enjoyable.