Globalization

Whenever someone asks me what the biggest trend I am focused on, I always say Globalization. I mean this in the largest sense of the word. Globalization, driven by the power of technology and the Internet to shrink distances, is the big megatrend of my life, my generation, my world.

I am jetlagged. I woke up at 5am after staying up to ring in the new year. Everyone in my home will be sleeping for hours. So I’m doing what I always do this time of the morning; listening to music, blogging music, reading, writing, and browsing the web. I love doing random stuff on the web which takes me to new places and new ideas.

I randomly put the word MongoDB into Google Trends just now and this is what I got back:

Mongodb google trends

For those of you who don’t know, MongoDB is an open source datastore for large scale web applications. In other words, a database you use to build web apps with.

Look at those regions, cities, and languages. Russia, Ukraine, China, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, Israel, and India are ahead of the US. You see similar data on cities and languages.

This is a proxy for web developers. There may be some reasons why this is a problematic proxy but it sure got my attention.

I spent the past two weeks outside of the country. It’s good to do that. You see things. The world is moving fast and the US certainly does not have any kind of lock on innovation.

Vivek Wadhwa wrote an interesting post for Foreign Policy laying out some of these issues. It’s worth reading.

Many, including Vivek, paint this situation as a challenge for the US. Vivek’s headline includes the words “eating America’s lunch.” You all know that I am the consummate optimist. And so it will not surprise you that I do not see Globalization as bad for the US. It is certainly bad for many people living in the US whose livelihoods depends on a closed market for labor/talent. But just because there are a significant number of people whose economic situation is challenged by globalization in our country does not mean globalization is bad for our country. And even if it is, we had better learn to live with it because it is not going away. It’s getting more and more important in our lives every day.

I see globalization and the power of technology to transform people’s lives as the greatest wealth generator since the industrial revolution. It is literally turning people in countries like China, Russia, India, and many many other places, into entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping themselves into a better life, for them and their families. That is a big deal. 

I am reading Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s letters. It was a yearend gift from someone, I think Donna and Paul Ullman. It’s a great read for someone like me who is inspired by great men and women who think big thoughts and try to do great things. Moynihan was a student of underprivileged ethnic and racial groups and their struggles to achieve freedom and economic equality. One of his big themes is that freedom and economic equality are not the same thing. But they do go hand in hand.

The US was built upon a simple promise, freedom and equality for every man and woman. And though we have had our challenges living up to that promise (women, african americans, american indians, etc, etc), we have been an icon for that promise in the world for a couple centuries. I believe Globalization, brought on by the forces of technology, will lead the rest of the world in our direction. How can it not?

And with that, we may find a more peaceful earth. And that is something to be hopeful for this first morning of 2011. Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all freedom, equality, and peace in the coming year.