Following the widely recognized success of the Obama site, Ryan has traveled around the country consulting and speaking. He says a lot of his campaign colleagues, “When I kept talking about coming back to Chattanooga after the campaign were kind of stunned. Like why would you do that? Why not go to San Francisco, make a bunch of money?”
But after years helping to develop a technology culture in Chattanooga, he saw things changing rapidly in the 15 months he was in Chicago working on the campaign.
“I was jealous of not being here and seeing some of this stuff happen,” he says.
In the same way the interstate highway system didn’t change transportation patterns right away, he thinks the effects of gigabit Internet and the Gig Tank start-up accelerator will not show up immediately.
“The things that we build on the Gig that are really important are probably not going to be really sexy,” he says, like using less coal power because the Gig makes EPB’s electrical grid smarter and more efficient.
“It will be a while before you see big flashy things that come out of high-speed Internet, but the infrastructure changes will affect people on a massive scale,” says Ryan. “It’s the electrification of the valley all over again.”