Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The World is Flat

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion,
or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle,
or it will starve to death.
It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you better start running.

This African proverb provides the tone for The World is Flat, a Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Author Thomas Friedman will receive the award for Webby Person of the Year at the 10th annual Webby Awards on June 12.

Business executives across the country have kept this book atop the
BusinessWeek Best-Seller List for more than a year. These leaders are making decisions about the future of work in America, the future of your work -- your job. Can you afford not to add this book to your personal reading list?

Friedman chronicles The Ten Forces That Flattened the World. Starting with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 these ten forces reached a tipping point around the turn of the century. About that time you and I began competing, unknowingly, with 150 million educated, Web-enabled workers outside the United States. These workers want your job and are willing to take a lot less money to do it.

Friedman details how you and I can stay relevant and remain competitive in a flattened world. The goal is to become an Untouchable -- a person whose job can not be outsourced. Untouchables come in four categories:

  • workers who are "special"
  • workers who are "specialized"
  • workers who are "anchored"
  • workers who are "really adaptable"

The bottom line is that "while technology advances make last year's work a commodity, reskilling, continual professional education and client intimacy to develop new relationships keeps him or her ahead of the commodity curve and away from a potential offshore."

The World is Flat, start running!