Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Globalization

One of the keys to globalization came ca 1970 with the international standardization of the shipping container. Much of our economy and standard of living depends on the ability for China to ship me insane things like free McDonalds Happy Meal toys or a 20lb iron anvil at virtually no cost. Low shipping costs are part of the equation that makes it easier for me to buy goods from China than it does a craftsman making similar quality goods down the street.

Brent tipped me off to the exploration of undersea cables in his recent post.

Old farts like me remember a time before there even was an internet. But as this map of the world's undersea cables points out, there is 1.5tbps (that's Terabytes per second) going through the world's undersea cables for Internet usage alone. The world has certainly got smaller in my life time.

I wrote earlier about Zen and the Art of Design and how we seem to be getting better at considering the user experience in design work. This is good because globalization means that we can no longer lead as a manufacturing country (due to the shipping container) or as a software construction shop (due to the internet). We need to compete with superior design, since the "labor" playing field was leveled a long, long time ago--and we don't have the bodies for it.

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