Four Attitudes & A Crusade for Change
Local author, Internet pioneer, and community advocate, John R. Patrick believes most big problems and big solutions involve attitude. That’s why he has authored a series of books that speak to just that - attitude. How does it impact healthcare? Our political landscape? Your lifestyle and your home?
Here, we talk with Patrick about his crusade for a better way of life that he believes begins with a state of mind.
You are the author of four books about “Attitude”. It’s a movement of sorts; a lifestyle. Was that your intention when publishing your first book, “Net Attitude”?
Net Attitude is about the Internet and how organizations can take more advantage of it if they had a different attitude. An attitude that websites are for us, not for them. Health Attitude is about the American healthcare system and how it could be much better if patients, providers, payers, and policymakers changed their attitude about the system. It was after the third book, Election Attitude, that I began to think about the commonality among the books and the importance of attitude.
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “attitude” as a position assumed for a specific purpose. What does attitude mean to you?
I think of attitude as a state of mind, a way of thinking about things. For example, in healthcare, our system would be much more affordable, safe, and accessible if some attitudes changed. Patients taking a more active and responsible role in their health. Providers having an attitude which puts us at the center of the care they provide, not the procedures, insurance, and billing. Payers having an attitude which acknowledges that many people really need help to get the care they need. Policymakers adopting an attitude that all Americans should have some form of health insurance.
Do you have a favorite Attitude?
I am proud of all four books. They each address how attitude can address some really important issues. In 2016, 100 million people who could have voted did not. Election officials and technology leaders need to adopt an election attitude and implement secure, private, verifiable, blockchain-based Internet voting and thereby strengthen our democracy. At the heart of all the books is a touch of net attitude. A net attitude includes a mantra: Think Big, Act Bold, Start Simple, Iterate Fast. It applies to all the big challenges we face.
I hear you have quite a smart home. Tell me about your home attitude?
Our smart home includes more than 100 devices. They look like normal switches, receptacles, ceiling fans, door locks, audio speakers, thermostats, and keypads. Each of them has a chip which makes them smart. A home automation hub coordinates what they do and when they do it. Having a home attitude can result is enhanced security, energy efficiency, and convenience.
You believe opportunities and problems have their roots in attitude. Of your four “Attitudes” - which (do you believe) is most challenging to alter?
Changing attitudes is not easy. The status quo has momentum. Many people do not like to change. They avoid it is possible. Perhaps the most difficult set of needed attitude changes is in healthcare. The changes conflict with cultural habits and expectations. The healthcare system at large includes numerous special interests, each of which has been able to unduly influence our political leaders. It is really up to us as citizens to demand the changes needed to achieve more affordable, safe, and accessible healthcare. This is what Health Attitude is about.
One of the most profound changes in our future is artificial intelligence. AI will change everything in our lives at home and at work. What should our attitude about this be? I will be thinking a lot about this over the next few months. The result might be Robot Attitude.
John R. Patrick is President of Attitude LLC and former Vice President for Internet Technology at IBM, where he worked for thirty-five years. During his IBM career, John was Vice President of Marketing for the launch of the IBM ThinkPad brand. One of the leading Internet visionaries, John is a well-known international lecturer and has been quoted frequently in the global media. Business 2.0 named him one of The 25 Most Intriguing Minds of the New Economy.
Learn more about John Patrick by visiting his website HERE.