Rick Allen was about to start a career in technology thirty years ago when he was poised to become an adviser to a certain President Bill Clinton.

But unlike today’s tech concerns about data privacy leaks and cyber attacks, in 1993 it was a missing letter on a keyboard that became a hiccup in the path of the Bill Clinton administration.

In the 1990s, a missing E key on every computer in the White House was probably equivalent to taking down a whole network today—a problem that today’s touchscreen monitors and virtual keyboards might easily overlook.

However, stubborn Allen saw it as nothing more than a hiccup that only needed to be corrected in order for things to function properly.

His success at major media firms like Sporting News and National Geographic was largely due to this approach. Now, he is the CEO of ViewLift, a cloud-based streaming startup that provides end-to-end video streaming solutions for sports and entertainment.

Rick, a former corporate lawyer, chatted with the Euro Weekly News before his trip to Madrid for the annual SportsPro OTT Summit this week. He discussed everything tech, starting with that annoying E key.

Bill Clinton asked me in 1993 at the start of his administration to put up a domestic Peace Corps, which became AmeriCorps in the US, because I had always worked in presidential politics as a lawyer, he said.

“The previous administration had removed the E key from everyone’s desktop computer keyboard before we arrived at the White House. I recall that the removal of a single key rendered us absolutely immobile. Although it seems absurd, those were the kinds of challenges we faced at the time.

Rick Allen discussing the streaming needs of sports fans

Email was a new technology at the time, so it was really just getting started. And we were all attempting to comprehend how the emergence of the web would enable improved communication and business, all facets of a revolution that had been discussed for a while and was now taking shape.

“Digital was really the wild wild west. The question was, what kind of content was best fit for the web? Where did linear TV need to head and how would those two points of distribution work together?”

Rick continued: “There was a tremendous amount of concern about anything that would adversely impact the MVPDs [multichannel television], the cable and satellite distributors.

“So those early years were really what can we do with this new tool, and how do we avoid our existing partners being hurt by the use of that new technology?”

Rick spent three years at the White House working to establish and maintain the AmeriCorps program, and he is “very happy” to have been a part of it.

This thrilling period in history only fueled Rick’s technological appetite, which today presents fresh difficulties for streaming providers.

The difference between then and now, according to Rick, is equivalent to 1,000 years of history condensed into 30 for technological purposes.

“I believe that as a modern society, we have grappled with how to strike the right balance between a consumer’s demand to receive everything for free right now.

Advertising and the use of cookies to identify viewers and, as a result, sell them to advertisers with some data and information attached so that it was not just a blind buy were the early techniques of generating cash for our viewing experience.

We have observed that the widespread usage of cookies has sparked a variety of public policy concerns over confidentiality and privacy, in addition to the GDPR regulations in Europe.

We shall keep researching the ideal viewer-content provider relationship, as mediated by governmental organizations, in an effort to strike a balance that protects personal privacy.

Rick Allen talking about artificial intelligence at #TATGranada

Striking this balance is crucial, as the CEO of a digital content distribution site that offers streaming services that deliver and monetize material over the internet. But it’s also a challenge to persuade content creators—particularly tiny, independent filmmakers—to pick one service over another when there are so many options.

We all consume content in some way, and we enjoy the expanded options, according to Rick. “That’s a crucial aspect of contemporary living, and the epidemic demonstrated that.

But there are so many options available. And one of the main ways a technology company can assist a content owner is by giving them advice on how to make the most content accessible in the simplest way possible so that every viewer can obtain what they want.

These tools and strategies for personalization are essential for providing larger libraries.

But actually, personalization for the viewer is one of the most important digital tools that contributes to a genuinely great viewing experience for every service, whether in entertainment, education, fitness, or conventional sports.

From November 29 to December 1, Rick Allen will be a guest speaker at the SportsPro OTT Summit in Madrid.