Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's a Flat World

I wanted to read this book as a lot of the seniors in my office had been talking highly about it.The company library got a copy and I was the first one to get hold of it.Itz an interesting book and makes one wonder how true Thomas L Friedman's views are.The author analyzes the progress of globalization in the early twenty-first century. The principal theme of this book is the "flattening" of the world, a metaphor for the global leveling of competition and capability through globalization

Do read this book.

A few snippets from the book:

In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west. He had the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He never did find India, but he called the people he met ''Indians'' and came home and reported to his king and queen: ''The world is round.'' I set off for India 512 years later. I knew just which direction I was going. I went east. I had Lufthansa business class, and I came home and reported only to my wife and only in a whisper: ''The world is flat.''

When the world is flat, you can innovate without having to emigrate. This is going to get interesting.

The 10 Flatteners
How did the world get flattened, and how did it happen so fast? It was a result of 10 events and forces that all came together during the 1990's and converged right around the year 2000

(1) 11/9 -Global capitalist unification:The fall of the Berlin Wall (9th November, 1989) and the advent of PCs and Windows software have produced a global unification under the auspices of capitalism .

(2) Internet-email-browser confluence:The confluence of the Internet, email, and web browsers, together with the "overinvestment" in optical fiber that occurred during the dot-com bubble, have produced a new template for economic activity .

(3) Common Web standards::The extension of common Web-based standards has become operational.(From these first three "forces" results what Friedman calls "the Genesis moment for the flattening of the world" .)

(4) Collaborative communities:Self-organizing collaborative communities are evolving, e.g. Apache, Wikipedia.

(5)Outsourcing:Outsourcing has become common (this was given a spur by the opportunity given to India by Y2K demands for programming, and far from impeding globalization's development, the dot-com bubble’s implosion in fact "turbocharged" it

(6)Offshoring:Offshoring, i.e. moving factories to different locations.

(7)Supply-chaining:Supply-chaining ("collaborating horizontally — among suppliers, retailers, and customers — to create value" , of which Wal-Mart serves as an example .

(8) Insourcing:Insourcing (i.e. servicing supply chains, "third-party-managed logistics" .Read the example of UPS.They have a Toshiba service station at home.

(9)In-forming:By in-forming Friedman means "the ability to build and deploy your own personal supply chain — a supply chain of information, knowledge, and entertainment" , and Google is taken as an exemplification of these possibilities ("Google is like God.God is Wireless,God is everywhere,and God sees everything.Any questions in this world,you ask Google" says Alan Cohen, VP of Airespace .

(10)Amplifying technologies, or "steroids":By "steroids" Friedman means amplifying technologies like increased computing speed, file sharing, additional devices, and especially wireless.


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