Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Global neighborhoods vs. global communities

Shel Israel was kind enough to asnswer one of my questions about his upcoming book on Global Neighborhoods. I asked what the difference was between a global neighborhood and a global community. His excellent and concise answer can be summarized as:
... I define global neighborhoods as slivers of global communities. It's where each of us hang out, feel comfortable, share issues of mutual concern. What is different about them is that these neighborhoods exist online before they spill over into the tangible world. ...

So, the answer is that both are relevant and important, both from a personal and business perspective as well as a sense of community perspective.

It is vitally important to capture the essence of this constant back and forth transitioning between online and the tangible world. Get the right balance and both worlds are much the better off for it.

I would quibble with one distinction that Shel attempted to draw:

[Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat"] Flat World focused on global enterprises while I'm focusing on the startups who might disrupt them.

I would suggest substituting "large-scale enterprises" for "global enterprises", since even three individual business partners on separate continents (which I believe would be the epitome of what we are talking about here) could constitute a "global enterprise." Although I do realize that some circles do interpet "enterprise" as meaning big rather than simply meaning the totality of an organization. My point would be that our endeavers are way too filled with too much frickin jargon and we need to do our best to reclaim the simple, common sense dictionary from the relentless poaching of overly-ambitious "consultants". To wit, in my dictionary (Merriam-Webster), an enterprise is "a unit of economic organization or activity; especially : a business organization." There is nothing about size in there.

Nonetheless, Shel's point about focusing on startups is well taken. Startups are indeed the lifeblood, the seedcorn of American business. That's probably the biggest reason that the American car companies are in so much trouble: there are no startups to help guide the way to greener pastures.

In any case, Shel, thank you for answering my question.

-- Jack Krupansky


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