The 003 Blog (Fall 2006)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The World Is Flat

Yesterday I attended a lecture by Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times journalist and author of this year's First Year Book, The World Is Flat. It was really great! Friedman is a gifted writer, and he is also a dynamic speaker. He spoke for an hour without notes, and I never felt bored for a minute. He summarized the first part of the book, which I have already read. In the book, Friedman describes 10 things that have "flattened" the world:
  1. 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down (symbolizing the political opening of the formerly Communist countries) and the Windows operating system became popular (making personal computing easy)
  2. 1995, when Netscape, which invented the web browser as we know it, went public (prior to this, it was not very convenient to find information on the internet)
  3. work flow software, the "alphabet soup of computing" (html, http, TCP/IP, etc.) which makes it possible for different computers to communicate with each other seamlessly
  4. uploading, the phenomenon of free computer applications, shareware, community-developed software, open-source applications, Wikipedia ("the people's encyclopedia")
  5. outsourcing, using workers in other countries, like India or China, to do work that Americans used to do (such as customer service call centers)
  6. off-shoring, sending whole factories abroad
  7. supply-chaining, organizing the international manufacturing, transporting, and marketing of goods in the most efficient way
  8. insourcing, using contractors such as UPS to do work previously done by a company's own workers
  9. in-forming, the revolutionary websearch capacities of Google, Yahoo! and the like
  10. "the steroids": things that make it possible for us to work and play digitally anywhere and anytime: internet telephony, iPods, BlackBerry, wireless connectivity, fancy cell-phones, etc.
These ten "flatteners", together with new "horizontal" ways of doing things (business, education, journalism...) and the emergence of billions of people in the "Third World" who are now able to participate and compete, have changed our world in very fundamental ways. Friedman calls it "new players, on a new playing field, developing new habits and processes for horizontal collaboration."

I haven't finished the book yet, but hearing Friedman speak yesterday has inspired me to finish it!


  • Dear teacher Nian,
    Thank you for your information. I think the author is a knowing person. I would like to list this book for reading in this winter vacation. The globalization is a new concept and coming up.

    By Blogger Jenniferho, at 10:16 PM  

  • Wow..It must be interesting to listen to the lecture! The book is translated in Japanese and became a best-seller in Japan. I'm interested in reading the book because I've learned about globalization in my class. I guess I'll go and look for the book at a bookstore!

    By Blogger Hiromi, at 12:00 PM  

  • Hello Nina,
    this is the first time that I reach my goal and I'll send one coment to our blog. I am very haapy to be is this class and read about friends around the world. Thanks for open new ways for us and show new tecnologies or tools.
    See you soon.

    By Blogger Mercia Silva, at 3:00 PM  

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