To the Rescue of Busy Professionals
Take your visual communication to the next level
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Globalized World in the 21st Century-Thomas Friedman
chillibreeze writer — Shalini Bahadur
A landmark of our times; this book is as important if not more than Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. The world we live in is completely different from what it was 20 years ago and changes are now taking place at a faster rate than ever before. Distances have shrunk, accessibility has increased, new territories have been discovered and jobs have been broken down into processes that are digitally transferred and worked on by the person who is the most efficient, fastest and cheapest.
Friedman contrasts his discovery of India with Columbus’ historic voyage in 1492, which led him to America. Both were searching for India’s riches, Columbus for hardware (precious metals, silk, spices) and Friedman for software (brainpower, complex algorithms, knowledge workers, call centers, transmission protocols and breakthroughs in optical engineering). It is an apt comparison as both discoveries fueled international trade.
Today’s world with easy access to Internet and telephone connections has become a level playing field. A job can be done anywhere in the world, just as long as the person is qualified and connected. Jobs are being broken down into processes and anything that can be digitally transferred is sent to a place where it can be done faster and cheaper.
1. 11/9/89-Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Fall of the Berlin Wall altered the balance of power and broke through the symbolism of those promoting authoritarian rule with centrally planned economies such as the Soviet Union and led the way towards building democratic, consensual and free-market governments. The most profound effect, according to Friedman, was that “it allowed us to think about the world differently - to see it as a seamless whole” and enabled us ”to think about the world as a single market, a single ecosystem, and a single community.”
2. 8/9/95-When Netscape went public
The Netscape browser made the Internet user friendly and accessible to the common user. Earlier only geeks and software engineers were able to navigate through the complicated procedures of the Internet. Netscape made the Internet interoperable with other systems making it possible for people to communicate from anywhere using any type of system.
3. Work Flow Software
By connecting applications to applications, we could now manipulate digitized content and send it to someone across the world through the Internet. Work Flow software enabled us to utilize the best talent available regardless of physical location.
Open-Sourcing was a global movement where there was free access to software, web hosting, encyclopedias and innumerable other tools. This enabled software engineers, students, professors or anyone else to contribute to the innovative and creative growth of Internet applications.
Outsourcing started in an innocuous manner with the Y2K crisis, when Indian software professionals were required to do an intensive code review that no one else had the manpower to conduct. Since then, outsourcing has branched out into countless forms of business and attracted a lot of press.
When China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001, foreign companies were assured that standard business practices would be followed under international law. This worked to flatten the world as it attracted manufacturing units to China.
Wal-Mart has redefined the art of running a retail store with its state-of-the-art supply chain software and procedures. The company has proved that it no longer matters where you are located in this flat world. Only how well you do your business and satisfy your company goals is important.
Insourcing is a new form of creating value horizontally, which has been made possible by a flat world. Smaller companies are able to compete with the larger ones in a flat world by taking care of processes that are closely related to their core competency. For example, UPS takes care of processing all orders from nike.com, from taking orders, inspecting, packing and shipping from a warehouse in Kentucky that is managed by UPS.
Access to information is the greatest equalizer in a flat world. Anyone with an Internet connection has the ability to find information on the web now. Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search can provide almost any information to anybody anywhere in the world.
10. The Steroids
New technologies such as the ipod, wifi systems, and VoIP are connecting people with other people, with companies and are flattening the world with greater speed than ever before.
Triple Convergence and The Great Sorting Out
With the 10 flatteners effectively working together, the end result is individuals collaborating and competing on a global scale. The interactions have now shifted to higher levels where individuals could compete with other individuals, other companies as well as other customers making the entire system more efficient, cost effective and definitely more productive.
Chillibreeze is one such example of a company that took advantage of the world flatteners. To find out more about our company, download our free case study.
This Triple Convergence ensured that more individuals got hooked to these new ways of doing business and led to a Sorting Out of how these events will affect political identities and ideologies and business practices in the future.
In the flat world, value is created horizontally along the chain rather than vertically, and this is the most significant differentiation. In an earlier world, the lines were clearly marked with distinctions between the employees, but in a flat world, there are no such demarcations.
For America to deal with the flat world, individuals need to remember that instead of asking for legislation to ban outsourcing, and all its various forms, the country needs to go back to its founding principles of free trade. By investing in their manpower from an early stage and especially in the American education system, the country will be able to generate more jobs than those lost to outsourcing.
The best way to deal with global competition is to constantly upgrade your skills. If you are good at what you do and are constantly learning new technologies then it is possible to survive and even be successful in the flat world. To be an untouchable in the flat world is a good thing, as it means you job is not relatively safe from being outsourced in the near future. There are 4 categories of untouchables:
1. special workers
If you fit into one of these categories then, yes, your job cannot be outsourced, but only for a limited time. With the speed of inventions, technologies and lifestyle changes, even some of these will eventually be outsourced.
There have been 3 phases of globalization so far. The first dealt with countries, the second with companies and the last between individuals. It is the personalization and simplification of the Internet and telecommunication industries that has made the individual into a powerful entity regardless of the backing of any company or country.
How countries deal with the change in business environment depends on factors such as culture and geopolitics. By measuring a society’s dreams versus its memories shows if it is willing to go into the future or stay in the glory of its past and that is the determining factor of how nations will deal with this new landscape. America’s dreamers and innovators are the ones who will take the country to the next level of competing, innovating and motivating future generations.
Chillibreeze's disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of Chillibreeze as a company. Chillibreeze has a strict anti-plagiarism policy. Please contact us to report any copyright issues related to this article.
>> Read more articles written by Chillibreeze writers:
Urgent 24 Hour Editing