ularly the material we’ve heard in the last day or two. We will probably range all over the map, and once we’ve spoken we’ll open things up for more discussion … “stump the chump,” or take comments or reactions from you—however you want to do it.
There’s probably no logical order to go through this so I’m going to do it alphabetically. And what I’m going to do is briefly introduce the panelists so you know who’s up here, then we’ll go in alphabetical order with remarks. So, first, if my alphabetical system works … to my right, Reg Baker from MS Interactive … That’s the B’s. Bill Kalsbeek from the University of North Carolina. Tony Manners from the Office for National Statistics in the U.K. And Susan Schechter from the Office of Management and Budget. So we will first hear from Reg Baker.
BAKER: Should I sit here?
COUPER: Sure … or if you want to stand …
BAKER: Do people have a preference as to whether we stand … does anyone care? [Audience rumblings] Stand on a chair? Everyone but Bill?
KALSBEEK: Tough group … [laughter]
BAKER: [moves to podium] Let’s see … Someone yesterday characterized this session as one group of people saying it’s rocket science and another group of people saying that it’s not. Which pretty much, sort of, I think typifies what happens when you get anybody together with computer science people, who are very solution-oriented people and who always enjoy looking at problems and saying, “Sure, we can solve that. It’s no big deal. It’s really very simple.” Whether or not that’s the case, we’ll talk about in a moment.
But I think, in my own case—because my self-image is that I’m kind of part survey geek and part gear-head—is that I just instinctively believe that sessions like this—people getting together and sharing perspectives—are a really good thing to do. And I hope that—you know, addressing the specific thing that the panel is supposed to talk about—that we can move down a road where maybe we make more progress in the future than we’ve been able to make in the past, in doing a better job of borrowing from what we might think of as the gear-head culture, the comp sci community. However you choose to describe it.
But first I think there are some issues that the survey folks need to address. Let’s call them readiness issues, if you will. Bob Groves talked the other day about having been in a number of sessions like this; I’ve been in a fair share myself. And, increasingly, I sort of am reminded of the old joke, “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?” And the answer is, “Just one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.” So I think that, in this case, the survey group is the light bulb. And, you know, if you’re going to take this seriously, there’s a lot