Thursday, June 22, 2006

The World is Flat

On the way to Stockton the other day, I listened to an audio version of Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat.

Has anybody read it? If so, what did you think?

In the book, Friedman describes 10 World Flatteners. Here's the list, but you'll have to read/listen to the book to understand them. . .

(1) 11/9/89 The Fall of the Berlin Wall

(2) 8/9/95 The New Age of Connectivity: When the Web Went Around and Netscape Went Public

(3) Work Flow Software

(4) Open-Sourcing (In 2006, retitled 'Uploading')

(5) Outsourcing

(6) Offshoring

(7) Supply-chaining

(8) Insourcing

(9) In-forming

(10) Amplifying technologies, or "steroids."
Friedman makes much of how these "flatteners" are lowering the barriers to entry for new markets such as China, India and the former Soviet Block countries.

One of the things I appreciated most about the book is that it's not all analysis, but also corrective. Friedman offers some helpful suggestions for surviving/thriving in a flat world.

As I listened, I thought about three issues:

  1. What does a flat world mean for world missions? Huge implications here. God, "who works all things after the counsel of His own will," will work a flat world for His good purposes. How can we take advantage of the circumstances of a flat world to join Him in His work?

  2. What does a flat world mean for Grace? I got an email from someone in deep China who was encouraged by "The Fig Tree Withered" message from a couple weeks ago. Blew my mind. That's a flat world phenomenon. How do we go further and deeper?

  3. What does a flat world mean for San Luis Obispo? I think those who are trying to live and work in SLO should read "The World is Flat." A flat world can make it possible to survive and thrive here or whereever. We need more flat world businesses here.


Lisa Lewis said...

The engineers of the Roman empire built a great system of roads that allowed the gospel to be taken to the many places outside of Jerusalem. God used the Roman empire to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
The flat world can be like the modern version of the Roman roads. Accessibility without boundaries is truly remarkable and is possible where there are techies to link us up.
How does this affect us as Christians? We need to pray for people with those skills to leave their high paying jobs and go to the remote parts of the world where electricity is inconsistent and phone lines are scarce to hook up those computers. It is happening; that in part is what Lloyd Goss' ministry with the Jaars Center for Wycliffe is all about.
I know being married to a computer engineer has affected me; I know all of those terms from the book and I haven't read it!

Lara Nichols said...

I read this book about 6 months ago and loved it. It made me see how the internet, blogs, and email have changed the world.

As far as how it changes missions, grace and SLO, I think it is a very positive change. With Grace's podcasting anyone with an internet connection can hear about Christ. I think this will have an even greater impact in the near future as companies are pushing for the $100 laptop (One laptop per child -OLPC) ($100_laptop and to be in every country with internet access.

I see this change as an opportunity for Grace to have the ability to change lives around the world!!

How exciting is that!

Suzette Lyons said...

My Dad has one of those flat world jobs. He telecomutes from Creston with the help of a satelite internet conection. It is amazingly flexible. When my mom had chemo treatments he always went with her and if he had a conference call he could step outside with the headphones on take care of business and then come right back.

The down side is that the flat world operates 24/7 and they can always get ahold of him. They do a lot of repairs in the middle of the night. So he works weirder hours than Wayne.

Oh and the one employee he supervises lives in North Carolina. He has only seen him once. My Dad made a special trip up to Sacrament to see him while he was in California on vacation.