Category: Books

The World is Flat

I am hearing some good things about Friendman’s book and hope to some day get a chance to read it.  Wikipedia has a summary of the ten “flatteners” that Friedman sees as leveling the global playing field:

  • #1: Collapse of Berlin Wall–11/’89: The event not only symbolized the end of the Cold war, it allowed people from other side of the wall to join the economic mainstream. (11/09/1989)
  • #2: Netscape: Netscape and the Web broadened the audience for the Internet from its roots as a communications medium used primarily by ‘early adopters and geeks’ to something that made the Internet accessible to everyone from five-year-olds to ninety-five-year olds. (8/9/1995). The digitization that took place meant that everyday occurrences such as words, files, films, music and pictures could be accessed and manipulated on a computer screen by all people across the world.
  • #3: Workflow software: The ability of machines to talk to other machines with no humans involved. Friedman believes these first three forces have become a “crude foundation of a whole new global platform for collaboration.”
  • #4: Open sourcing: Communities uploading and collaborating on online projects. Examples include open source software, blogs, and Wikipedia. Friedman considers the phenomenon “the most disruptive force of all.”
  • #5: Outsourcing: Friedman argues that outsourcing has allowed companies to split service and manufacturing activities into components which can be subcontracted and performed in the most efficient, cost-effective way.
  • #6: Offshoring: The internal relocation of a company’s manufacturing or other processes to a foreign land in order to take advantage of less costly operations there. China’s entrance in the WTO allowed for greater competition in the playing field. Now countries such as Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil must compete against China and each other to have businesses offshore to them.
  • #7: Supply chaining: Friedman compares the modern retail supply chain to a river, and points to Wal-Mart as the best example of a company using technology to streamline item sales, distribution, and shipping.
  • #8: Insourcing: Friedman uses UPS as a prime example for insourcing, in which the company’s employees perform services–beyond shipping–for another company. For example, UPS repairs Toshiba computers on behalf of Toshiba. The work is done at the UPS hub, by UPS employees.
  • #9: In-forming: Google and other search engines are the prime example. “Never before in the history of the planet have so many people-on their own-had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many other people”, writes Friedman. The growth of search engines is tremendous; for example take Google, in which Friedman states that it is “now processing roughly one billion searches per day, up from 150 million just three years ago”.
  • #10: “The Steroids”: Personal digital devices like mobile phones, iPods, personal digital assistants, instant messaging, and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Book: The New Age Of Innovation

“The New Age of Innovation reveals that the key to creating value and the future growth of every business depends on accessing a global network of resources to co-create unique experiences with customers, one at a time. To achieve this, CEOs, executives, and managers at every level must transform their business processes, technical systems, and supply chain management, implementing key social and technological infrastructure requirements to create an ongoing innovation advantage.

In this landmark work, Prahalad and Krishnan explain how to accomplish this shift–one where IT and the management architecture form the corporation’s fundamental foundation. This book provides strategies for

  • Redesigning systems to co-create value with customers and connect all parts of a firm to this process
  • Measuring individual behavior through smart analytics
  • Ceaselessly improving the flexibility and efficiency in all customer-facing and back-end processes
  • Treating all involved individuals–customers, employees, investors, suppliers–as unique
  • Working across cultures and time-zones in a seamless global network
  • Building teams that are capable of providing high-quality, low-cost solutions rapidly

To successfully compete on the battlefields of 21st-century business, companies must reinvent their processes and culture in order to sustain innovative solutions. The New Age of Innovation is a complete program for achieving this transformation to meet the needs of the end consumer of the future.”  >> Amazon.com

Book Brought Up At A Conference: Plugged In

“Although Erickson admits that her own Generation Y son informed her that he would prefer to consult a blog for career advice rather than dead-tree technology, her effort—chock-full of demographic data and a portrait of the generation’s collective aspirations—is certainly worthy of the effort required of literally turning pages. An author and researcher in demographics and organizational behavior, Erickson has the ability to customize career strategies for this newest generation entering the workforce in a way designed to be immediately useful. The author’s thoroughness in translating generic advice—such as the importance of developing good communications skills—into Gen Y–speak makes the book informative and appealingly fresh. Despite gearing her message to younger workers, Erickson’s effort speaks to a much broader audience: her examination of what influences and motivates this emerging generation would be of interest to potential employers and marketers.”  Source: www.amazon.com

Dr. Seus: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Wondering where to go and what to do in life?  I’ve certainly been there, life is full of strife.  Don’t worry too much although yes even I often do.  Consult in Dr. Suess and you may find what you are looking for deep within you.  Hope this helps those looking for answers, we hate seeing you so blue.  Read on and know we all hope your biggest wishes come true.

“Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

(more…)

Book: Predictably Irrational

Kevin Rose recommended this book on this week’s Diggnation which sounds interesting. You can buy it on Amazon here.  Amazon’s description is: “Irrational behavior is a part of human nature, but as MIT professor Ariely has discovered in 20 years of researching behavioral economics, people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Drawing on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money.

According to Ariely, our understanding of economics, now based on the assumption of a rational subject, should, in fact, be based on our systematic, unsurprising irrationality. Ariely argues that greater understanding of previously ignored or misunderstood forces (emotions, relativity and social norms) that influence our economic behavior brings a variety of opportunities for reexamining individual motivation and consumer choice, as well as economic and educational policy. Ariely’s intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read.”