Yesterday we had a book discussion on Thomas Friedman‘s Hot, Flat and Crowded. There was a good cross section of people, and I truly enjoyed the student perspective on the key things Friedman diagnoses as the problems in the US (isolationism, infrastructure and nation building) we need to fix.
What timing! This was first of 4 sessions here at the Decision Theater, a place where we look at alternative scenarios and sustainable futures.
The dominant metaphor in the book is the US consulate in Istanbul that was built so secure, it’s a place where “birds don’t fly.”
Having covered the technology space for awhile, this isolationist metaphor seems at odds with what’s going on in the US with regard to collaboration and connectivity. We build open source platforms for business, gaming, virtual worlds and education. We invented wikis and blogs and send the opposite message outside our borders. Obviously we are not singing from the same song sheet, –as this T-shirt at a rally reflects. (Guess who’s rally that might be?)
As we saw last night, hot, flat and intolerant is a losing proposition.