Flash Opinion: Minds behind Bars…

October 10, 2021

By Ahmed Bouzid (Founder & CEO at Witlingo)

One of the (many) ill consequences of mega Tech companies hording talent and operating in top secrecy is the near absolute muzzling that they impose on their engineers, product managers, designers, researchers, etc., in freely engaging the world. Anything that they talk about needs to be vetted, and they are given explicit instructions not to engage in public free form exchange (e.g., answering questions) unless under strict supervision or in controlled environment (e.g., a webinar), so that, aside rare exceptions, what they share is a rehashing of what’s out there, or perhaps presenting something that they have already once presented, but in a new way. This is not new, of course — companies in the past have protected their intellectial property, etc. But the ethos of 21st century IT — that of folks who grew up with the Internet/Web as a given — is openness, debate, exchange, refining ideas, etc. All of which makes me appreciate open source that much more, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that without it, innovation would be severely hobbled. But still, when I think of all those good, solid brains under wraps – thousands and thousands of them — stiffled and suppressed — I feel sorry for them and for us.

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