Ken Camp is an interesting guy. He recognizes that net neutrality is a “fabricated issue” but he still wants to advise “netheads” to make more influential contributions to the political process:
That isn’t the only place the Bellheads win. Look to political process. I’ve oveen wondered about our own ranks. Jeff Pulver. David Isenberg. Tom Evslin. Several others. Leading voices fighting the battle from without rather than stepping into the political fray of politics to redirect the system from within. If we’re going to win some measure of control away from the Bellheads, there is only one way. The political power base needs to shift. Netheads have to become the influeinfluencerslicy, something we are clearly not today.
Why help them?
Allow me to digress. I don’t like the distinction between Bellheads and Netheads. I’ve worked with people from the Bell companies who’ve made heavy contributions to the networking standards and protocols that we all use today in and around the Internet. One example is the twisted-pair Ethernet standards, which started with something called StarLAN that initially came from AT&T IS. The bellheads understand networking – how to move data through the tubes efficiently – much better than the netheads, who are mainly concerned with what to put in and what to take out.
The people he mentions – Jeff Pulver, David Isenberg, Tom Evslin – are actually quite naive about the operational dynamics of packet processing, forwarding, queue management, error recovery, routing table management, and the other crucial aspects of network operations. They’re marketing people, not engineers.
They approach politics in the same way they approach network engineering, by formulating fanciful simplifications and then trying to influence the process as they would like it to be rather than as it is.
And that’s fortunate for all of us, because the worst nightmare for users of the Internet would be to subject it to the whims of philistine, dilettante regulators.
Network engineering is a tough subject that requires a great deal of study to crack. Political lobbying isn’t nearly as hard, but it takes a lot of time to perfect, as politics is largely based on trust. Developing relationships takes a long time and a long attention span, and that’s a good thing as it weeds out most of the people who shouldn’t be involved in it. I learned that the hard way, by lobbying my state legislature a weekly basis for three years while holding a full-time job. with a major supplier of networking equipment.