CBE, FREng, FRSE, FBCS
View my TED talk here...
Workpro is a complete system for recording, managing and reporting on all cases, complaints, issues, enquiries and customer feedback.
Ian Ritchie is the non-executive Chairman of Computer Application Services Ltd
The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company is Scotland’s leading producing theatre, led by Artistic Director David Greig. With a strong reputation for excellence in both classical and contemporary work The Lyceum is committed to developing Scotland’s considerable indigenous talents while presenting the best of international drama.
Ian Ritchie is a Board Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre.
ShotScope - the golf performance tracking system. If you can measure it, you can improve it. With performance tracking you have all of the tools to improve your game in the palm of your hands. Monitor trends in your game, identify your strengths and weaknesses and see your game like never before.
Ian Ritchie is a Board Director of ShotScope Ltd
The Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) is an independent and inclusive economic development network which seeks to influence and inspire Government and key stakeholders with our ambitious vision to create sustainable economic growth for Scotland.
Ian Ritchie is a Board Director of the SCDI
Tern invests in companies, with proven technology, based in the UK but with global ambition. We look for well-motivated teams who are building innovative high growth businesses in sectors such as Cloud and IoT
Ian Ritchie is the non-executive Chairman of Tern plc.
My TED talk
Imagine it's late 1990, and you've just met a nice young man named Tim Berners-Lee, who starts telling you about his proposed system called the World Wide Web.
Ian Ritchie was there. And ... he didn't buy it. A short story about information, connectivity and learning from mistakes.
What can be done to make Scotland a leading technology nation?
April 19th, 2016
A recording of a Radio Scotland programme, Pioneers, first broadcast on Thursday 27th January at 3.30pm.
Ian Ritchie talks about the World Wide Web and how he pioneered the very first web browser.
An article introducing a series from Deloitte about Scottish Entrepreneurs.
Published on BQlive on November 29th 2017
Who's Who 2017 Edition
RITCHIE, Ian Cleland, CBE 2003; FRSE; CEng, FREng, FBCS; Chairman: Computer Applications Services Ltd, since 2005; Iomart plc, since 2008; Red Fox Media Ltd, since 2012; Cogbooks Ltd, since 2013; Krotos Ltd, since 2015; b 29 June 1950; s of late Alexander Ritchie and Jean Russell Ritchie (née Fowler); m 1974, Barbara Allan Cowie (d 2001); one s one d. Educ: Heriot-Watt Univ. (BSc Hons Computer Sci. 1973). CEng 1991. FBCS 1992. Develt Engr/Manager, ICL, 1974-83, CEO and Man. Dir, Office Workstations Ltd(OWL) Edinburgh and Seattle, 1984-92 (OWL pioneered develt of hypertext (web-browsing) technol.; sold to Panasonic, 1989); special project, Heriot-Watt Univ 1992-94. Chairman Voxar Ltd, 1994_2002 (non-exec. Dir, 1994-2004); Orbital Software Gp Ltd 1995- 2001; Active Navigation (formerly Multicosm) Ltd, 1997-2004; Digital Bridges Ltd 2000-03 (Dir 2003-05); Sonaptic Ltd, 2003-06; Interactive University Ltd, 2003-08; Scapa Ltd 2006-10; Caspian Learning Ltd, 2007-11; Interactive Design Inst. Ltd, 2007-15; Blipfoto Ltd, 2012-15; Dep. Chm., Vis Entertainment (formerly Vis Interactive) plc, 1995-2004. Director: Northern Venture Trust PLC, 1996-2001, Scran, 1996-2004; Indigo Active Vision Systems Ltd 1997-2000; Epic Gp PLC, 1998-2004; Scottish Enterprise, 1999-2005; Channel 4 TV 2000-06, Bletchley Park Trust, 2000-09; Scottish Science Trust, 2001-03; Mindwarp Pavilion Ltd, 2001-02; Dynamic Earth, 2004- (Chm., 2010-); GO Gp, 2008-12. Chairman: Generation Science, 2005-09, Connect Scotland, 2006-08. Director: Edinburgh lnternat. Film Fest., 2002-10, Nat. Museums Scotland (formerly Nat. Museums of Scotland), 2003-10; Edinburgh Internat. Science Fest., 2005-. Member: PPARC, 1999-2002, SHEFC, 2002-05, SFC, 2005-07. Dir, Scottish Init. for Enterprise, 2001-06. Trustee: Nominet Trust, 2008-14. Saltire Founds, 2009-, Dave Hume Trust, 2008-. Pres., BCS, 1998-99, Vice Pres., Business, RSE 2012-16, Hon. Treas, RAEng, 2012-16. Hon. Prof, Heriot-Watt Univ., 1993-. FREng 2001, FRSE 2002, DUniv Heriot-Watt, 2000; Hon. DSc Robert Gordon, 2001; Hon. DBA Abertay. Dundee, 2002; Dr hc Edinburgh, 2003. Publications: New Media Publishing: opportunities from the digital revolution, 1996, contrib. various technol. papers and articles. Recreations: travel, theatre and arts, web-browsing. Address: Coppertop, Green Lane, Lasswade EH18 IHE. T: (0131) 663 9486.
Weaving the Web Tim Berners-Lee
“Undaunted, in September 1990 Robert and I went to the European Conference on Hypertext Technology (ECHT) at Versailles to pitch the idea. The conference exhibition was small, but there were a number of products on display, such as a multimedia training manual for repairing a car.
I approached Ian Ritchie and the folks from Owl Ltd. which had a product called Guide. In Peter Brown’s original Guide work at the University of Southampton, when a user clicked on a hypertext link, the new document would be inserted right there in place. The version now commercialized by Owl looked astonishingly like what I had envisioned for a Web browser, the program that would open and display documents, and preferably let people edit them, too. All that was missing was the Internet.
They’ve already done the difficult bit! I thought, so I tried to persuade them to add an Internet connection. They were friendly enough, but they, too, were unconvinced.”
From ‘Weaving the Web’, Tim Berners-Lee. (Harper Collins 1999 p26)
Note - Berners-Lee gets a couple of facts wrong here: the conference was in late November 1990, not September, and Professor Peter Brown developed his original Guide technology at the University of Kent, not Southampton.
Ian Cleland Ritchie
CBE, FREng, FRSE, FBCS, BSc, CEng
Chairman, Tern plc
Chairman, CAS Ltd
Chairman, Krotos Ltd
Director, ShotScope Ltd
Director, Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)
Director, Royal Lyceum Theatre
Vice-President, Royal Society of Edinburgh (2012-2016)
Honorary Treasurer, Royal Academy of Engineering (2012-2016)
Past-President, British Computer Society (1998-99)
Mobile: +44 7973 214024
Tel: +44 131 663 9486
Coppertop, Green Lane,
Lasswade, EH18 1HE
Ian Ritchie is Chairman of Tern plc (AIM: TERN), Computer Application Services Ltd., and Krotos Ltd. He was Chairman of iomart Group plc from 2008 until 2018. He is a board member of Shot Scope Ltd, Edinburgh's Royal Lyceum Theatre, and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).
He was Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2012 to 2016 and Vice President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 2012 to 2016. Ritchie has also been active in venture capital as a director of Northern Venture Trust plc from 1997 to 2001 and as a member of the advisory board of Pentech Ventures from 2001 to 2016. He was a founding director, and Chairman (1988-1990), of the Scottish Software Federation (now ScotlandIS).
Ritchie was awarded a CBE in the 2003 New Years Honours list for services to enterprise and education. He is a Fellow and a past-President of the British Computer Society (1998-99), and was a member of Scotland's Cultural Commission in 2005/06.
He has a BSc Hons. in Computer Science from Heriot-Watt University (1973), and was awarded Honorary Doctorates by Heriot-Watt University in July 2000, the Robert Gordon University in July 2001, the University of Abertay Dundee in June 2002, and the University of Edinburgh in December 2003.
He has served as Chairman of Judges for the Scottish Young Software Engineer awards since inception. He has also been a judge on the joint UK Research Councils Business Plan awards, the Economist Innovation awards, and the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRoberts' Awards (the UK's premier award for engineering innovation). He currently acts as a judge in the Converge Challenge and the Spectator Disruptive Business award.
He has been the Founding Chairman of Voxar Ltd, VIS Entertainment plc, Orbital Software Group plc, Digital Bridges Ltd. and Sonaptic Ltd. He was a trustee of Bletchley Park from (1999 -2009), a board member of Scottish Enterprise (1999-2005), the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC 1999-2003), the Scottish Higher and Further Education Funding Council (SFC, 2002-07), Channel 4 Television Corporation (2000-05), and EPIC Group plc. (1999-2005), the UK's leading e-learning company.
Ritchie founded and managed Office Workstations Limited (OWL) in Edinburgh in 1984 and its subsidiary OWL International Inc in Seattle from 1985. OWL became the first and largest supplier of Hypertext/Hypermedia authoring tools (a forerunner to the World Wide Web) for personal computers based on its Guide product. OWL's customers used its systems to implement large interactive multimedia documentation systems in industry sectors such as automobile, defence, publishing, finance, and education. OWL was sold to Panasonic of Japan in December 1989.
He is the author of 'New Media Publishing - Opportunities from the digital revolution' published by Financial Times Telecoms and Media Publishing (1996).
Ian C Ritchie CBE, FREng, FRSE, FBCS (dob 29/6/1950)
Ian Ritchie is the non-executive Chairman of Tern plc, Computer Applications Service, Krotos, and a Director of Shot Scope Ltd. He was Chairman of iomart Group plc from 2008-2018.
He founded OWL in 1984 which pioneered hypertext application development (a forerunner to the world wide web) and sold the company to Panasonic in 1989. Since then he has been involved in over 40 start-up high-tech businesses.
He serves on the board of the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).
He was a board member of Channel 4 TV (2000-2006), deputy Chairman of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (2002-2011), Chairman of Dynamic Earth science centre (2010-2018), Vice President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2012-2016) and Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2012-2016). He was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to Enterprise and Education.
He has a degree in Computer Science from Heriot-Watt University (1973) and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by Robert Gordons, Abertay, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities.
He was widowed in 2001 and has two grown up children.
Published Monday 1st October, 2001
Speech delivered on Thursday September 27th 2001 (a few weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attack in NYC)
Ian Ritchie received a standing ovation for his challenging and thought-provoking speech at Scottish Financial Enterprise's Annual Dinner last week. Here is the full text.
Scotland must rise to the challenge of self-belief
As we are all very well aware, these are not normal times that we are living through.
I know what I normally look for in an after-dinner speech at an event such as this - I am looking for a short, witty and illuminating address, making me smile, and making me think, before I get on with the real business of the evening networking at the bar.
So I hope you will forgive me if I depart from this norm. It is a bit difficult to be sparklingly witty at the moment. It is tough to dig out and deliver the usual gentle digs about bankers and venture capitalists that I would normally provide to amuse such an audience.
For in the international "war" that has been recently declared, we all know who, on our side, is under attack. And it is ourselves, the financial and business community.
We are in the front line. We, as a community, are being targeted.
The very heart of a modern, open, internationally competitive economy.
This is a different kind of enemy - there is nothing we have that they want. They don't want recognition. They don't want our trade. They don't want our culture. They don't want our aspirations: democracy; free choice; high technology.
They don't want our values. They don't want our wealth.
They want to destroy our wealth. They want to destroy us.
Even before the events of two weeks ago, I have had good reason to think recently about the basic values that are the most important in life. I had been reassessing my own values, and my lifestyle. Maybe you have been giving thought to the same thing.
Clearly, the love of your family and of good friends is paramount, most of us would agree, I hope, on that. But should we challenge, perhaps, our business lifestyles? Should we question our relentless pursuit of prosperity?
As I look around this room, I see a group of people who work far too hard, for too long hours and who often put their personal and family lives second to their work commitments. Should we be reassessing this? Do we have our priorities right?
Is the "pursuit of prosperity" really that important?
Well, I believe it is.
Let me get personal for a moment.
When I was about ten years old, the oil shale industry of West Lothian closed down. The pits were all closed and the men were all made redundant, including my father. The local economy was totally wiped out. My father, then in his forties, never got another decent job again. He was in and out - but mostly out - of employment for the rest of his working life. Things were tough - very tough.
Many of us have experienced relative poverty when we are young and just beginning to build ourselves up in the world. But nobody should have to experience what my parents had to face. In their fifties, struggling hard, just to make ends meet.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am to live in a country, Scotland, which has such a respect for education, that it picked up and carried kids like me all the way through a world-class education.
Later, the West Lothian economy improved, only to be wiped out once more when British Leyland closed its truck factory at Bathgate. Once again, thousands of jobs were lost and the local economy was flattened.
Today, the town of Livingston stands at the heart of this area. It is a prosperous, modern, diverse economy of manufacturing, distribution, research and development, and service companies.
There are still challenges, of course, such as when Motorola closed its factory this year, but, in general, there is an underlying strength and diversity in Scotland today that can, so far at least, sustain and recover from such damage.
So let's have no doubt about this - a prosperous economy is undeniably a good thing, and our collective pursuit of wealth creation is an entirely appropriate and worthwhile cause.
For it is in such a prosperous economy that we can provide: the richness of life; the opportunity for comfort; for travel; for personal development; for artistic expression.
It is a prosperous economy that can afford to feed its people well, to educate its young folks wisely, to invest in its own future, and, not the least, to protect those in society that are less able to look after themselves.
So the pursuit of prosperity is, I believe, one of the key priorities of life. And those of us in this room who have the talents to build prosperity, create jobs, grow companies and to strengthen both our own, and the global economy, have a duty to use these talents to the full.
My love for my own children is unconditional. I can, and I will, do everything in my power to protect them from harm, and to enable them to equip themselves as happy, prosperous and productive individuals.
What I cannot guarantee is that I will always be here - none of us can do that. So I owe it to my children to build a prosperous Scotland for their future.
A Scotland in which they can fully achieve their potential.
We all do.
So where are we today in the Scottish economy? As you may know, my particular patch is that of globally ambitious, early stage, Scottish technology businesses. Businesses such as Orbital, Digital Bridges, Voxar, VIS Entertainment and Mindwarp Pavilion.
Most of these companies are only a few years old, but between them they employ several hundred Scottish graduates. They are gaining an international reputation. Each of them, leaders in their own field. Creating wealth from here in Scotland, continuing Scotland's tradition in innovation.
I have been involved in many start-ups, including OWL, a company which I founded in Edinburgh in 1984. We then grew our sales and marketing from Seattle in 1985 and finally we sold the company to Panasonic in 1989.
So when I am introduced at such events as this one, I usually find myself blushing a little, because I tend to be identified as a successful entrepreneur with a great record of company creation.
And while it is flattering and pleasant to be described as a huge success, I feel bound to let you into a secret: OWL was not actually a big success.
Sure, we gave our investors a five times return on their money. Sure, the company continues to employ around 50 high-quality research jobs in Edinburgh as Panasonic's worldwide multimedia research group. But, crucially, we did not remotely reach our potential.
One of the biggest developments, if not the biggest development in computing in recent years, has been the World Wide Web. The web is the system you all use daily to publish and access information over the internet. It is based on a technology known as hypertext - the ability to browse through many sets of interconnected documents with a simple point-and-click interface.
Now the world's first company to commercially develop such technology, and market it globally, was my company, OWL, here in Edinburgh, in 1986.
By 1990, when I was approached by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web version of hypertext, OWL was by far and away the largest company in the world engaged in hypertext browsing technology. As Tim put it in his book, Weaving the Web, OWL had "already done the difficult bit".
So why was it that Netscape, Microsoft and other US companies exploited this technology? Why did we Scots not participate meaningfully in the exploitation of this industry that we had pioneered? Why did Jim Clark and Marc Andreesen make the thick end of $1bn when they sold their company to AOL for $4bn?
The reason is not that difficult. For all our Seattle-led market positioning, we were, at heart, a Scottish company. OWL had reached its natural size for a Scottish start-up. It was five years old, had made a bit of an impact on the international stage and was prime for picking off by an international acquisition.
To be fair, our venture capital backers didn't press us to sell. They were supportive to a degree. But it was also perfectly obvious that, having put up all of £600,000 so far, they didn't have an appetite for very much more. And, in portfolio terms, five years is a good time for an exit.
In the late 1980s UK public markets were not open to companies such as us, and no other source of development capital was going to be forthcoming. And, to be perfectly frank, we were also ready to cash in.
We were willing to settle for the bog-standard Scottish result, a few decent points, rather than pulling out all the stops and heading for the World Cup final, which in this case it would have been against Microsoft.
Since then, many others have followed our lead: Spider, McQueens, OST, Atlantech, SCL, Intelligent Applications, PeopleDoc, Kymata.
So is it actually possible to build a global high-growth company from a Scottish base?
Well, let's take a moment to congratulate our global players, such as the Royal Bank, ScottishPower and Stagecoach - each of which is in the global top ten in their sectors.
But we need to be also concerned with the dynamic of our economy. Where are the giant companies of the next generation?
It's comfortable, and relatively prosperous, here in Scotland. Particularly, in booming Edinburgh there is little unemployment and the property prices are the second highest in Britain.
But underneath there are major weaknesses. Scottish GDP growth consistently trails the UK. The manufacturing and production industries are currently contracting. Only the growth in services and construction are saving us from recession in Scotland.
But what about the high-tech sector, you might ask - what about Silicon Glen?
We have all heard the term Silicon Glen, our answer to Silicon Valley. But Silicon Valley wasn't always Silicon Valley - 40 years ago it was just fruit orchards; Austin, Texas, was a dirt-poor farming area; Seattle was known mainly for its logging and fishing. Each of these areas has transformed its economy with technology innovation and company formation.
Actually, Silicon Glen is merely one of a couple of dozen other Silicon 'Wannabees' dotted around the world, each claiming to be a key hotspot for new technology development.
Silicon Fen in Cambridge, Silicon Bog in Ireland.
When you look at these various competitive technology locations it is clear that Scotland is not in the premier league, or even the first division of such hotspots. We are, regrettably, stuck in the second division.
It is not obvious why this should be so.
We have an excellent supply of high-quality technology graduates, proportionately higher than our major competitors; we have a modern, stable, open economy; we use the English language, the language of technology business; and we have a strong indigenous financial industry.
Yes, we are small, but size isn't important, as evidenced by the relative success of countries such as Finland and Taiwan.
Of the top ten companies in Scotland, most are the result of privatisations in utilities, transportation and telecommunications, plus two banks and a brewery.
If we look at the Scottish top ten from another angle we can see that, by and large, they are "industrial revolution" companies (transportation, power, banks and the brewery). There are relatively few dynamic indigenous "new economy" companies emerging in Scotland today.
Our technology industry in Scotland has mostly been an imported one. From long-term players such as IBM and NCR to more recent entries such as Motorola and Sun.
This inward investment policy has been a great success. In the '80s Scotland quickly became the prime location in Europe for many Japanese and American businesses and we managed, in a couple of decades, to make the transition from the old industries of coal mining, shipbuilding and steelmaking to the sunrise industries of electronics manufacturing, design, and, recently, call centres and other services.
Unfortunately, the days of inward investment are over. There will be very few new major manufacturing plants coming to Scotland from now on.
Other low-cost economies, such as in eastern Europe, will win the manufacturing jobs. We can't afford to compete on low pay we just won't win. We have to find new strategic advantages.
Meanwhile, we are looking at some demographic timebombs Scotland has an increasingly ageing and shrinking population.
We have a mighty challenge ahead of us - how to maintain a prosperous and dynamic economy with an ageing and shrinking population.
So where are Scotland's strengths? Although we have around 9% of the UK's population, we educate about 14% of the UK's young people and we competitively obtain around 14% of the UK's funding for scientific research.
Unfortunately, we then lose half of the result with only around 7% of the UK's qualified young people staying in Scotland.
Exporting talent is good - we should be sending our bright youngsters out into the world. But the balance of payments in this equation is poor. We don't get many coming back in the other direction.
One area where we in Scotland are undoubtedly in the premier league is in innovative scientific research.
Measured by peer-reviewed and cited published research papers, Scotland is one of the top three economies in the world - ahead of England, ahead even of California.
In areas such as information technology, optoelectronics and bioengineering, we have a research capability second to none.
I remember being in the US, at a conference in San Jose, when the story broke about Dolly the Sheep. This was a source of puzzlement and amusement from the attendees in Silicon Valley. How could it be that the single most significant scientific development of the decade, the cloning of an adult mammal had been achieved in a "quaint" little place like Scotland, better known for its golf courses and pipe bands.
At first I found this insulting, but on reflection I was forced to come to terms with the inevitable truth that Scotland is simply not perceived as a centre for innovation and scientific research.
Of course we all know about Scottish innovation. We can reel off the examples. James Clerk Maxwell, Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt, John Logie Baird. People who created the modern world by their discoveries and inventions.
In answer to the old question "How many Scotsmen does it take to change a light bulb?" the answer is of course two: one to change the bulb, and the other to remind you not only that a Scotsman invented incandescent lamps, but that the name of a Scotsman, Watt, is printed on every one manufactured.
Of course what we are less forthcoming about is that of these names: Clerk Maxwell, Graham Bell, Watt, Logie Baird - every one of them had to leave Scotland to achieve their goals.
For hundreds of years the Scots with get up and go have got up and gone. We are a place where people come from, rather than come to. We have supplied bright, innovative, "can-do" talent to the rest of the world.
The fact that all current leaders of the UK's political parties in Westminster - all three of them - were born and educated in Scotland doesn't particularly surprise us. It is normal to hear leaders of industry, finance and medicine around the world speaking with Scottish accents or sporting Scots names.
So here in Scotland we have the innovative ability to achieve scientific breakthroughs, as measured by research funding and publications. We have bright and ambitious internationally minded young people, and, here in Scotland, largely represented in this room, we have something in excess of £300bn of investment funds under management.
So we have brains, energy and money, and despite all that we have one of the most sluggish economies in western Europe - what is wrong with us?
Well, the main thing is a collective lack of confidence in our own abilities. Too few businesses in Scotland are globally ambitious. Too few are willing to pull in the internationally qualified management teams to ensure they can scale up and compete effectively on an international stage. And too few sources of investment here in Scotland, believe in Scotland enough, to invest in our own future.
It's almost as if large technology companies, like mighty giant redwoods, can only prosper in the Californian climate.
We are trying to fix it - initiatives such as the Schools Enterprise Programme, which many of you here have supported, will try to create an enterprise culture in our schools. The Scottish Institute for Enterprise is doing the same for our leading science and technology universities. But culture takes a long time to change.
Here is a question: does Scotland have a fundamental problem with risk investment? I'm sure that the culture of every organisation, even that of a nation, is a product of their history.
Almost exactly 300 years ago, in the late 17th century, Scotland invested heavily in a strategic trading development in the Gulf of Darien - the first attempt to create a powerful new east-west trade route at Panama.
This fell foul of competitive pressure by the East India Company and the pledged support was withdrawn at the last moment by the Dutch and the English governments. The project then failed catastrophically with a loss of over 2,000 Scots lives and only one of the 16 Scottish ships managed to return home.
Practically the entire circulating capital of Scotland was dragged into trying to rescue this failed project and the Scottish nation ended up so impoverished that it was forced into the Act of Union in 1707.
At the Act of Union, the Scots, with a fifth of the British population, had a mere fortieth of the wealth.
Nearly all European countries have been invaded and conquered, and have lost their independence, at some time in their history. However, Scotland ended up losing its independence, not by being conquered (even Edward I failed to achieve that) but through a failed investment project.
A century afterwards, the Americans built the Panama Canal, pretty much to the plans drawn up by the Scots, and it turned out to be a huge commercial success. The Scots had had the right idea, but were ahead of their time and didn't have the ability to execute.
Earlier I mentioned Dolly the Sheep, and it was Scottish. Only last week, PPL Therapeutics, the company behind this work, managed to finally pull together fresh funding after a punishing and nailbiting few months, not the least of which was the current international situation.
And how much of that funding came from the Scottish financial sector? I'll leave it to you to come to your own conclusion!
So we don't have to make up examples of our collective lack of confidence - our legacy from the Darien project.
Here we have it, not ten miles from where we sit right now, the single most important scientific breakthrough, anywhere in the world, of the past decade. So significant that presidents and prime ministers were asked to give their opinions on its significance. Debates were held in Congress, new laws were passed.
Yes, it is still very high risk; the outcome is not certain; the world economy is in turmoil; other companies will probably execute better; possibly PPL will fail; best not to get involved. How very Scottish.
No, let's not accept that attitude.
We can do it, we must do it.
We must have the confidence to create new knowledge and then, crucially, have the determination to win the business that results and not let the exploitation go elsewhere, enriching others.
Among our responsibilities, I believe, is that we all have a duty to spend our time and efforts on the future prosperity of our world.
These are unusual and tragic times. The world changed two weeks ago and we are still uncovering the consequences.
Tony Blair read some words last Friday at the memorial service in New York words written by the American author Thornton Wilder:
"But soon, we will die, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten.
"But the love will have been enough, all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love.
"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love. The only survival and the only meaning."
We have the ability, and I believe the duty, each of us in this room, to express the love we have for our children, and our nation, by ensuring that we fight for a strong, dynamic and prosperous economy, here in Scotland, here in Europe, and around the world.
An economy that will survive and prosper. An economy in which our people can reach their full potential, in which future generations of Scots can take on the world and win.
We can do it; we must do it.
I believe that all we have to do is to believe in ourselves.