Obama Follows Up State Of The Union Speech with Silicon Valley Powwow

People, The Innovation Economy February 18th, 2011

, BroadbandBreakfast.com

SAN FRANCISCO, February 17, 2011 — President Obama checked in with the U.S.’ titans of tech on Thursday in a brief swing through Silicon Valley before heading north to Oregon to visit Intel.

Obama’s visit wasn’t open to the press or the public apart from his arrival and departure.

But in a statement issued after the dinner at Silicon Valley legend John Doerr’s house in Woodside, White House spokesman Jay Carney said:

“This evening, the President joined twelve leaders from technology companies to discuss ways to work together to invest in American innovation and promote private sector job growth.

In the President’s State of the Union Address, he called on us to win the future by out-innovating and out-educating the rest of the world and increasing American competitiveness.

The President believes that American companies like these have been leading by investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the American people, creating cutting-edge new technologies and promoting new ways to communicate.

The President specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, along with his goal of doubling exports over five years to support millions of American jobs.

The group also discussed the importance of new investments in education and the new White House initiative Startup America, a partnership with the private sector aimed at supporting new startups and small businesses.

The President expressed his desire to continue a dialogue with the group to share new ideas so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States

As a prime funder of oh, just a few little internet companies such as Google, Amazon, Intuit, Sun Microsystems, Compaq, Macromedia and Symantec, Doerr estimates that he has created 150,000 new jobs.

He’s also on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and is a passionate advocate of most of the items on Obama’s tech and climate change policy agenda.

Convened at the Doerr’s high level “revenge of the nerds” dinner party Thursday were the CEOs of Apple, CISCO, Genentech, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Oracle, Twitter and Yahoo, reports The New York Times‘ Miguel Helft.

Also there for the power chow-down were Stanford University President John Hennessy and politico Steve Westly of the Westly Group.

But POLITICO reports that the dinner wouldn’t have been a “love-in,” given that many of the titans are disappointed with Obama’s perceived slow progress on the promised policy items on their agenda, such as making the R&D credit permanent, and boosting the number of visas for highly-skilled foreign workers.

Still, Democratic consultants say that the visit is a “grand slam” for the president.

“First, this is a part of the country that’s still creating high-paid jobs. Next, Jobs being there buys you a national audience… Next, you get to talk about the role Facebook is playing [in the Mideast liberation movements]. And it’s touching base with a group of donors who are going to be very important in next year’s election,” Chris Lehane told POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush.

No word on whether patent reform was on the menu of discussion, even most of the CEOs in attendance have a big stake in the outcome of what emerges from Capitol Hill during this session of Congress.

Several of the companies’ policy teams are against a patent bill currently under consideration in Congress that has the support of the Obama administration, Microsoft and IBM.

Those companies include Apple, CISCO, Google, and Oracle.

Still, Obama has at least a couple of tech-related agenda items he can tell the CEOs that he’s recently ticked off on the national policy to-do list.

His administration earlier this week released a budget request for a boost in funding to speed up patent applications, and it published a new report and broadband map that for the first time tracks broadband internet penetration across the United States.

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