Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, condemned the British education system at the Edinburgh International Television Festival over the summer. A summary of the speech was that the UK, the home of the world’s greatest technological inventions, is now lagging behind.
At the Techmesh & IT Expo in Leeds this week, Ajaz Ahmed, founder of Legal365.com commented on this idea when looking at the Sunday Times Tech Track 100. He identified that the top four listings were not even IT or technology related and in fact, top of the listing was high interest loan company, Wonga.com. The UK technology market is saturated by British companies replicating rather than innovating new ideas. For example, yet another television campaign has been launched for a regional discount website called Wowcher.
According to Schmidt, the UK has failed to capitalise on its record of innovation in science and engineering. Schmidt in particular referred to a comment by Lord Sugar, star of the hit BBC programme The Apprentice, who recently claimed on the show that “engineers are no good at business”. Executive Chairman of world’s most successful search engine Google and an Electrical Engineering graduate, Schmidt disagrees. This same engineering technology veteran helped the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin build Google search engine.
Schmidt told MediaGuardian at the festival: “You need to bring art and science back together.” He believes that Britain should look to the “glory days” of the Victorian era for reminders of how the two disciplines can work together. Schmidt’s comments echoed sentiments expressed by the late Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple. “The Macintosh turned out so well because the people working on it were musicians, artists, poets and historians – who also happened to be excellent co/mputer scientists.”
So, the techies should not be disregarded for being boring, nor the creatives be pushed aside for being outrageous and neither should be labelled for lacking business skills. Together, their qualities have the potential to create global enterprises. Like Google, for example.