Today on the Hill, the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade heard from what it described as ‘experts’ on the ‘apps economy.’
The session, part of a continuing “Where the Jobs Are” series, focused on testimony from technology executives, and asked the question if policies that the US Government could enact exist that would allow for the digital application ecosystem to continue its growth and hiring.
Testimony was at once encouraging and depressing; the ‘app economy’ has open job slots, something welcome in the current slack labor market, but those firms which have the open spots to fill aren’t finding enough qualified applications to do so. According to The Hill, Peter Farago from Flurry, one of the assembled experts, stated that he has some 50 open job positions, but that he can’t find people with the proper or sufficient skills to hire.
Rey Ramsey of TechNet praised the lack of requirements to enter into the world of apps. As quoted in the Subcommittee’s press release, “The barriers to entry to developing apps are fairly low; if you have a computer, broadband connection, and the right skills and software, … you can start coding.”
That is, if you can code. And if you can, call Flurry.
The Subcommittee’s head, Rep. Mary Bono Mack stated in her opening remarks that opening more wireless spectrum would boost the market segment. This mirrors the 2012 Republican platform which both chided Democrats for a supposed lack of spectrum sale, and called for, you guessed it, more spectrum auction. From that document:
The current Administration has been frozen in the past. It has conducted no auction of spectrum [...] We call for an inventory of federal agency spectrum to determine the surplus that could be auctioned for the taxpayers’ benefit.”
TechNet’s Ramsey agreed with the sentiment that spectrum quantity is an issue. Run out, and the conduit by which mobile phones can receive new applications slows.
As quoted by Juliana Gruenwald in the National Journal, via Yahoo! News, the Association for Competitive Technology’s (ACT) executive director Morgan Reed also called for more spectrum sales: “I want more and I want it now.”
Effect of the day’s proceedings? Little, it would seem, but talk.
While it is pleasant to see the technology sector held up as a bright light, the concluding words of the official release cast the day’s work in a somewhat harsh partisan light. The more cynical among us will certainly question if the tech world is simply being used as a political cudgel:
Fueled by an open and free market, the dramatic growth in the apps marketplace is an example for how we can get our country working again. With over 30 bipartisan jobs bills stuck in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators encompasses many of the lessons learned from the growing app economy to create jobs in other sectors of our economy.
Top Image Credit: ttarasiuk