Moving from one cloud to the next!
Today, I fly back to Ireland after a stimulating Microsoft partner Inspire 2017 conference.
Washington D.C. is a different landscape. It’s a prime example of the American dream. Locals have an innate understanding of commerce, money and the creation of wealth. If I could wind back the clock a few years, I’d be here in a flash. Washington is a hub of business that outmuscles New York or Boston. Locals here are so welcoming and energetic. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Washington is a hive of activity in politics and business alike.
The US is 'being built' - construction is everywhere. Since 2010, every quarter indicates strong economic growth.
What’s driving this growth? Maybe it is the Trump factor! Apparently Obama used to leave the Oval Office to shoot a few hoops at a nearby basketball court. There’s little chance of seeing Trump do the same. There’s a palpable disconnect within the media. TV stations engage in an intractable war, hurling pro-Trump or anti-Trump content at the other side. Money drives content. Advertisements for pharmaceutical drugs are on loop! Regardless, it’s striking that the city has changed since the inauguration earlier this year.
Pitched against this political tidal wave of discontent, I witnessed remarkable patriotism. My visit to Arlington Cemetery was stirring. In the roasting heat, a soldier in full uniform marched up and down by the grave of the Unknown Soldier. That patriotism is admirable. It was an incredible moment that I’ll never forget.
Washington is rich in history. The Lincoln memorial is incredible. We got to see it up close on the Segway tour. INNOVATE’s Michael Redmond and I had to return to it last night. It’s a stunning monument. Memorials to the Korean War, Vietnam War and World War II surround the Lincoln memorial. Inscriptions on a wall in memory of those who died during Vietnam start in the middle to signify that those lost at the start of the war are equally important to those lost at the end. One line brings home the reality of war and the sacrifice of the fallen - 'Freedom is not Free'.
I visited all the major museums. The level of preservation is remarkable but then again the content is more recent than Ireland’s history. While at Arlington, I saw the torch in memory of the man with Wexford roots - John F. It's fascinating to think about its symbolism; that it signifies hope. The names compel you to think about the Irish experience. Among the hundreds of thousands of graves, you see the names of Murphy, Donoghue, Clarke and Doyle.
I understand how deep-seated the right to bear arms is here. It’s a striking example of how travel opens your mind to the conditioning that illustrates how people are influenced by their environment. It’s a perfect example of the herd mentality. People-watching is fascinating. You notice so many differences in culture, movement and communication styles. It's the same in Ireland, we just don't see it because we've grown up there.
Washington was incredible. I’d recommend a visit and look forward to returning. In my next post, I’ll reflect on the conference itself and how INNOVATE and Microsoft’s relationship continues to attain unprecedented success.
Jim Hughes, INNOVATE CEO
Today, Jim Hughes INNOVATE CEO, flies back to Ireland after a stimulating Microsoft partner Inspire 2017 conference.