It’s a Flat World

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first CenturyWith the Christmas holiday here I’ve managed to knock off another book; The World is Flat by Tom Friedman. The crux of the book is that over the Twentieth Century, the world began to go from a vertical, hierarchical structure to a horizontalization. Love that word, horizontalization. Things flattened out. As a meritocrat, I love this, because it means that instead of looking to solve a problem within a vertical silo, you look outward to who has the skills. So, it is becoming ever more possible for me to surround myself with complimentary people who do what I can’t.This flattening has 10 factors. The Berlin Wall falling (#1) broke down proverbial walls and opened eyes around the world. Netscape web browser going public (#2) and the software revolution in the 90’s (#3) connected software and connected people. It was this connecting that facilitated collaboration and factors #4-9 were collaborative extensions of that. (#4) Open Sourcing, (#5) Out Sourcing, (#6) Offshoring, (#7) Supply Chain, (#8) Insourcing, (#9) Informing (Google and the internet have put the world’s knowledge within grasp of all humanity). The “Steroids” (#10) of VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and Wireless have just started, but have already changed the way we communicate. Flattenings #5-#8 have had significant impact on my life and career. Friedman helps put these developments into an interesting framework – distances geographical, political, social are disappearing.

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