The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Tom Friedman, the columnist for the New York Times has written his book describing ten trends that have begun to knit the globe together.  The ten “flatteners” are:

11/9/89, the fall of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet Union
8/9/95, the invention of Netscape, the first widely available commercial web browser
Work Flow Software – software like the Amazon web site which allows customers to order merchandise effortlessly with little or no human interaction in the entire process
Open Sourcing – Linux, and the open source movement
Outsourcing – Allowing other companies to perform routine operations that previously were done in-house
Offshoring – Moving work to the lowest-cost/highest quality provider regardless of physical location
Supply-Chaining– things like just-in-time manufacturing
Insourcing – Allowing companies that you used to outsource things to actually come into your company to perform functions in-house
In-forming – Using software like Google and Wikipedia to instantly inform yourself about people and things in ways that used to require going to a library, or were impossible
The steroids: broadband, wireless, digital 

Some quotes:

On outsourcing offshore:
“Every time I think I have found the last, most obscure job that could be outsourced to Bengalore, I discover a new one. My friend Vivek Kulkarni used to head the government office in Bengalore responsible for attracting high technology global investment. After stepping down from that post in 2003 he started a company called B2K, with a  division called Brickwork, which offers busy global executives their own personal assistant in India. Say you are running a company and you have been asked to give a speech and a PowerPoint presentation in two days. Your “remote executive assistant” in India, provided by Brickwork, will do all the research for you, create the PowerPoint presentation, and e-mail the whole thing to you overnight so that it is on your desk the day you have to deliver it.”

On collaborative authoring:
“Another intellectual commons collaboration that I used regularly in writing this book is Wikipedia, the user-contributed online encyclopedia also known as “the people’s encyclopedia.” The word “wikis” is taken from the Hawaiian word for “quick” Wikis are Web sites that allow users to directly edit any Web page on their own from their home computer.”

On citizen journalism:
“Ardolino [a journalist for InDC Journal] said the MP3 player cost him about $125. It is “primarily designed to play music, “ he explained, but it also “comes prepackaged as a digital recorder that creates a WAV sound file that can be uploaded back to a computer… Basically, I’d say that the barrier to entry to do journalism that requires portable, ad hoc recording equipment is [now] about $100–$200 to $300 if you add a camera, $400 to $500 for a pretty nice recorder and pretty nice camera. [But] $200 is all that you need to get the job done”.

On outsourced programmers:
“If you are a Web programmer and are still using only HTML and have not expanded your skill set to include newer and creative technologies, such as XML and multimedia, your value to the organisation gets diminished every year,” added Vashistha. “New technologies get introduced that increase complexity but improve results, and as long as a programmer embraces these and keeps abreast of what clients are looking for, his or her job gets hard to outsource. “while technology advances make last year’s work a commodity,” said Vashistha, “reskilling, continual professional education and client intimacy to develop new relationships keeps him or her ahead of the commodity curve and away from a potential offshore.’”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s