Friedmans10Flatteners TRANSCRIPT Slide 1 Transcript: Friedman’s 10 Flatteners 54 seconds This is a presentation about Tom Friedman’s book, called The World is Flat. Tom Friedman is a New York Times reporter and columnist who has won three Pulitzer Prizes and has had four or five bestselling books out. He gets some criticism for this book because some people think he’s a cheerleader for Globalization, and those people who are against Globalization don’t particularly like that.
I think, in all fairness to Tom, although he’s very enthusiastic about his book and his subject, I think he just recognizes that, like it or not, Globalization is here, and here to stay. So maybe we need to understand it and figure out what we need to do about it, whether we think it’s good, or bad. Slide 2 Transcript: The World is Flat 118 seconds Here you see two versions of the book. He very cleverly managed to come out with an “updated and expanded” version of the book before it even went into paperback. Within a period of about ten months, a second edition came out.Order now
On the right, the cover shows the two ships that are going off the edge of the earth there in a painting called I Told You So. One of the more interesting facts about the book is that the book was published with that cover. The publishers assumed that the picture was an old picture that had gone into the public domain, and that therefore they could use it on the cover. As it turned out, that wasn’t true, it actually was a relatively recent painting and they wound up getting into trouble with a copyright violation.
So they changed the cover to be like the cover there on the left. It’s hard to see in this picture and on the cover itself: what it is is like a coin that shows the globe on it, so it’s as if you had a globe about the size of a silver dollar and put it into one of those coin presses that you see at carnivals and pressed it down into the size of a coin. The idea of the book is the concept of there being a level playing field. It used to be that the industrial nations—including the United States, Europe and Japan—seemed to have a great advantage over the rest of the world, and f you were born in a place like India or China, for example, your chances of having a better life were much less than they would have been had you been born into an industrial economy. In this particular book, the thesis is that the earth has flattened, it doesn’t matter where you were born, and that people in the United States and Europe and Japan have to compete with people in India and China on an equal footing now. Slide 3 Transcript: 1. ; 2. Historic Events 83 seconds Tom thinks there were two important historic events.
The first is actually two in itself, he calls it “When the Walls Came Down and the Windows Went Up”, and this was the fall of the Wall in Berlin. The end of global communism as a great adversary of the West. And the rise of Windows ®. Six months later, Windows 3. 0 , which is the Windows that runs desktop computers, came out. I think he stuck the two together primarily because it made a clever turn of phrase. He’s big at picking up these turns of phrase like “The walls went down and the windows went up”, but he said those two historic events were extremely important.
And then the second one was the idea that Netscape ®, which was the original browser, the first big, successful browser for the World Wide Web, went public. That being the concept that started the dot com boom, which started a worldwide boom in fiber optics, such that being in Beijing was the same as being in Brooklyn, in that communications between people became that great. So he sees these two historic events as great shapers of the 21st Century and beyond. Slide 4 Transcript: 3. Workflow Design 81 seconds
The third factor that Tom cites is what he called “workflow design and the rise of workflow software”. This is the ability for applications to connect with each other—for information to pass between one computer system and another one. He calls it the “Workflow moment”, and this is characterized by more collaboration in terms of tracking, routing and ordering. You might have seen this in a company where you work, where now there is usually a lot more computer connectivity between companies, their suppliers on one end, and their customers on the other.
One example he gives is the collaboration in cartoons. As it turns out, Disney cartoons are made all around the world. Some of the work on a cartoon is done in China, some in Los Angeles, some in Hollywood, some in Europe. I could actually write a book on this—Wait! I actually did. I co-authored this book Workflow Modeling, which has turned out to be a surprisingly good seller. I was actually surprised at how well it’s done. It’s gone into its Second Edition, so good for me that I just happened to luckily be working on a book on workflow at a time that workflow became important.
Slide 5 Transcript: 4. Uploading 204 seconds What Tom calls “uploading” is the so-called Open Source Movement. Valuable software has been developed all over the world by many, many people working cooperatively to put it all together. The software package Linux (called “Lihnux” or “Leenux” or “Lie-nux” depending on how you like to pronounce it) is a big example of this, as is the Apache Web Server. It wouldn’t have been possible without the ability for people to do their work and then upload it.
This is harnessing the power of communities, these self-organizing, collaborative communities using something called the GNU/GPL General Public License, where people put all this work into these projects that they are not personally going to directly benefit financially. I tried to come up with some examples of historical altruism. One of them was the Oxford English Dictionary. If you’ve ever seen this particular dictionary, it has all kinds of citations, so if you look up a particular word, it will tell you that this word was used in a book by Charles Dickens, or used in a book by some other author in history.
Well, how did they get all of these citations? It turned out that there was this huge mass of people all over the world that went through books to find examples of words being used. The book I cite there by Simon Winchester tells the story of the person who contributed the most citations to the OED. This man was a doctor at a mental institution in England, and when the people from the OED went to visit him to thank him for his work, they discovered that although he was a medical doctor and was at this mental institution, he wasn’t there as a doctor, he was there as a patient!
He had committed a grisly murder some years earlier and was considered a homicidal maniac. An interesting story there. The only historical example I’ve ever come upon that was fully complete altruism was Meiji Japan. After the opening of Japan, it was decided that Japan would spend fifty years moving forward, and they announced to the people that lived then: “Your generation is going to sacrifice so that Japan can become a world power. ” And the people accepted this, they went along with it.
Interestingly enough, it turned out it did not take a generation for it to happen, within about twenty years, from the 1860s to the 1880s or 90s, Japan did move into the modern age, but the people didn’t know it would turn out that way that soon. We do see a number of examples of altruism on the web. If you look at the reviews on amazon. com, which I sometimes find helpful when I’m buying a book. Some of these people have done thousands of these reviews, for no particular monetary reward.
Wikipedia is this encyclopedia being built by people, and likewise YouTube and bloggers, lots of information and entertainment is out there basically for free. So this is a case of altruism, and we’ll see how far that can go. Slide 6 Transcript: 5. ; 6. Oh Oh: Out ; Off 123 seconds 5 ; 6 are O ; O, Out and Off: Outsourcing and Offshoring. The Y2K phenomenon started this, when people were concerned about the fact that two-digit years inside of computers might cause great problems at the turn of the century, which, incidentally, I wrote a book about.
I was one of the few authors who said it wasn’t going to be that big of a problem. Unfortunately, people who say the world is coming to an end sell a lot more books than people who say it isn’t going to be that big of a deal, but that’s life. But the concept of outsourcing is you can concentrate on your core competencies, and let other companies do the things that aren’t core. If you’re a technology company, you shouldn’t be worrying about things like janitorial services, and payrolls, and employee benefits—you could outsource all that.
And also, previous to this time, outsourcing was typically within the same country, but now it goes offshore—it can go to other countries. This is highlighted by the fact that “you can innovate without emigrating”. So it became possible for someone in India to do work for a company inside the United States without actually physically coming here. It was telecommunications advances that made it all possible. And, of course, one of the underlying factors is the exchange rates between the currencies, which is a big factor in causing the rate of pay to be comparably much smaller.
One of the famous cases was that the Indiana unemployment benefit claims were outsourced offshore to India. So when someone called up to try to get their unemployment check in Indiana somebody would answer in India. There was a political firestorm, and I believe that was actually stopped, but the people of Indiana felt—justifiably or not—they had lost their job to someone in India, and now, to get their unemployment check they had to get the approval from someone over there. Slide 7 Transcript: 7. Chain 99 seconds The seventh factor is Chains, a lot of this is what we call “supply chaining”.
The exemplar of this is the Wal-Mart Corporation, they have supply chains that stretch out all over the world. Some of their items are made in China, some are made in India, some in Bangladesh, all over the place, and they worked out a system that they call “just-in-time” supply chain. Instead of having stacks of parts sitting around awaiting assembly, the idea is they want the parts to arrive just in time. Or, in the case of a store, the Christmas goods are arriving just after Thanksgiving when the shopping season starts, rather than having gotten them in advance.
This often involves having a data warehouse that makes it possible to track all of these things, so you know where they are. The company I used to work for, APL, had a Logistics branch, and the sort of thing that they could do is that they could take clothing that was made in China, somewhere in the interior if China, and perhaps in Hong Kong, they’d assemble it and put it onto racks, and actually put price tags on the items. These racks could be rolled into a shipping container, the containers put on a ship, taken to Oakland, unloaded, put on a train, taken to, say, Atlanta.
It comes up to the loading dock where they literally just roll the rack right of the container and onto the store floor in Macy’s to sell it. All the price tags, all the markings, all the “Big Sale! ” signs—all those thing were put on back in Hong Kong. Slide 8 Transcript: 8. ; 9. Ins 152 seconds 8 ; 9 are what I’m called here “the Ins”. We talked about outsourcing, there’s also insourcing, and there’s also in-forming. Insourcing is logistics within your own company. There’s a military saying: “Amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics”.
This is the kind of thing that if you were gaming the Second World War, you might say “Okay, I’m going to put my air base over here, and I’m going to put this infantry division here, and I’m going to send my armored units over there”. That’s all well and good, but in reality, it’s all about “How are you going to get the aviation fuel and spare parts to your airfield over here, and how you going to get gasoline to the tanks, and how are you going to get food and ammunition to the soldiers? ”—that kind of stuff. Logistics is all about that.
So companies like UPS and DHL are companies like that. Many books that you order from amazon. com come from Louisville, Kentucky, for example, because there is a distribution center there. If you have a Toshiba laptop that needs repair, a UPS person will pick it up, a return it a few days later repaired. Surprisingly enough, they did not actually take the laptop to Toshiba. UPS itself not only picked it up, they repaired it. Papa John pizza routes are being calculated centrally, and the routes are arranged for greatest speed and efficiency.
UPS makes their routes such that there are few left turns—they try to make as many right turns as possible. And nike. com orders are put together from everywhere. When a shoe is put together, one part of it is made in Bangladesh, and part of it in Indonesia, and part of it in China, and they were taking the parts to Taiwan where they were put together, it’s just amazing. The informing part is the idea of finding information both inside and outside your company.
Many times when you’re trying to do something in your company, you already have the information in the company. So search engines like Google and Yahoo! are turned inside a company to try to find the information inside it. Some companies have what they call a “CKO”, or Chief Information Officer, whose job it is to keep all this information findable. Slide 9 Transcript: 10. The Steroids 43 seconds His tenth Flattener is what he calls “The Steroids”, and this is digital, mobile, virtual and personal.
The fact that computers have become much more powerful; that messaging and file sharing has become possible; the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP); video graphics, allowing things like video conferencing; wireless devices, including cell phones. In fact, just four or five years ago this presentation wouldn’t have been possible, my ability to record the sound, the size of the files, all those things would have made it impossible. Changes in technology have allowed all of these things to happen. Slide 10 Transcript: Triple Convergence 53 seconds
Tom sees there being this “Triple Convergence”, three forces converging, the first one being the playing field, that is the ten flatteners just discussed. The second one is productivity, the ability to connect, and collaborate. So you can connect with people all over the world and collaborate with them. The third thing was the new players. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, three billion people arrived on the scene to be part of a single global economy. Instead of there being two worlds: the First World, the “Free World” as it was called; and the Communist World; and then the Third World that was not part of either of them.
He gives the quotation there of Albert Einstein’s that I like as well, that tells us where we’re going with this. Out of clutter, find simplicity From discord, find harmony In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity. —Albert Einstein Slide 11 Transcript: Kool Devices 122 seconds These are some examples of some important devices, many of you have probably seen them. The GPS, or Global Positioning Satellite: this allows the UPS driver, for example, to be warned if it appears a package is about to be delivered at the wrong address.
The GPS beeps and says “Your truck doesn’t seem to be stopped in front of the right house. ” The DIAD, which are Delivery Information Acquisition Devices: The UPS driver, and the Postal Service as well, they’ll take a scanner and scan the number which shows that the package has been delivered. I’ve sometimes been on the internet when the UPS person was coming, and I could see the truck drive up, and on their webpage it said “Out for Delivery”, then I hear the package hit the front porch, and I inquire again and it says “Delivered”.
RFID is a Radio Frequency IDentifier: One of the places where you see this is your FastTrack, that allows you to fast track on the Bay Bridge where you don’t have to stop to pay your toll, but rather you get scanned. One thing that most people don’t realize is that the FastTrack can be read other place as well as the Bay Bridge, and people are afraid the day will come when you’ll get a ticket in the mail because RFID scanners will have seen you two different places too close together from your bridge pass. XML/SOAP are standards for interoperability.
You might have noticed in the new release of Microsoft ® Office all of the files now have an x at the end of the extension, . docx and . pptx, etc. The x stands for xlm, because the files are now encoded in XML. O/O UML: Last he mentions Object Orientation and UML (Unified Modeling Language). This is something I cover in my C++ and C# programming classes. In addition to covering Object Orientation I cover UML, which is a way of designing systems using modeling. Slide 12 Transcript: Do 4 U 117 seconds So, what does all this mean for you?
The advice that Tom gives is first, understand that the playing field has flattened, this means there is a broad Middle Class that is going to extend outside the industrialized world, and already does, all around the globe. Both people who were behind the Iron Curtain previously, and also people who were in the so-called “Third World”, the developing nations. He says understand the ten flatteners, by which I guess he means buy his book—well, I can understand that. But understand productivity, the ability to connect and collaborate.
Horizontalize yourself: be a good collaborator, learn how to work with people, both online and off. In fact, taking an online class is a good way to get a little bit of experience in that. Third, understand that it happened, understand that there are all these people, and understand diversity. That different people from different backgrounds, different religions, different races—we all have to live together on the same planet. He says CQ + PQ ; IQ, by which he means that the Curiosity Quotient plus the Passion Quotient is greater than the Intelligence Quotient.
Which is to say, you don’t have to be the smartest person around, if you have curiosity and passion. If you’re trying to compete by being the smartest person around, remember that in China, for example, if you’re one in a million, there are about 1,300 of you! Because that’s the size of China. And fifth, continuing education—as a teacher at College of Alameda and UC Berkeley Extension, I would applaud that. But learn a skill, be adaptable, and re-train. Understand that life-long learning is necessary in the new, flat world. Copyright © 2005 Patrick McDermott