Sunday, August 27, 2017

Rebooting my blog

This blog began as an assignment for a class on technology and leadership. However, I chose the name from the motto of the United States Air Force Weapons School, which I had graduated from a mere month before the class began. So I find it only fitting that I am restarting my blog while deployed as the Mission Planning Cell Chief, a role I was explicitly trained for during Weapons School.

The main reason, however, I decided to began blogging again was as a method to track my own growth as a leader and person. I recently read Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg (Of which I will discuss more in depth during my next post) and one of the takeaways was that productive people manage to incorporate or discuss new ideas they learn in order to better retain them. I figured, in a deployed environment, what better way to do that then to highlight key items and use them as topics for blog posts? I certainly do not expect anybody to read this blog but hopefully, the exercise of writing what I am experiencing through work, classes, or even just personal reading will translate into more retention an make me a more productive leader. If you do happen to stumble across this blog please comment, feedback will only help and encourage me on this journey I am now beginning. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Leading in a digital world

As discussed in previous posts, David Weinberger's 2011 book Too Big to Know describes the upheaval that has occurred with our traditional views on knowledge thanks to the internet. But of course this shift in knowledge, expertise, and even the way we think, has drastic effects in all aspects of our lives. The way work is now accomplished has similarly been revolutionized by globalization and the networking of knowledge. With all the changes in the workplace it only follows that both management and leadership styles must also adapt, which will be the subject of this post. 

Michelle Martin has a fascinating take on what leadership now means, or at least should mean, in the 21st century. She argues that leadership is making a transition from hero, those that have all the answers, towards host, acting as the focal point for "people to come together to discover solutions through meaningful conversations and structured exploration and action" (Martin, 2015). That notion is also reflected by the Firlej and Kluz who states that "[a] leader of the future is more like a community manager rather than an authoritarian" (Firlej & Kluz, 2016). It is this shift that is most interesting to me as a leader because of the implications it has for my job as a military officer.

I commented on a past post about the more traditional hierarchical nature of the military and the limits that structure has on the capability to implement some of the ideas that Martin (2016) and Firlej and Kluz (2016) discuss. However, one thing that I have learned in these past couple weeks is to not doubt how powerful these leadership ideas can be.

I recently started a new position in a new unit with many more leadership responsibilities and maybe it was due to all the research I had been conducting for these posts, but I found myself using many of the strategies concerning leadership in the new position. For example, despite being the subject matter expert, my first steps were to just observe the day to day operations. As Firlej and Kluz note "[l]eaders should know their limits and know how to acquire missing knowledge" and "must be driven by an attitude of openness" (2016). The next step I took was to organize a meeting in order to facilitate a discussion and gain consensus on the way forward. As I think back on these recent experiences I truly believe an earlier version of me would have just decided what the best plan would be, and pushed it out to my team members. 

One of the other skill sets I like to imagine I already possess and hope to continue to achieve is a constant drive to keep learning. Mikkelsen and Jarche (2015) highlighted the importance of constantly learning as a new mindset that leaders must take, stating, "leaders must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming, a perpetual beta mode." Due to the rapid changes in technology skills are often quickly outdated and without learning then leaders are going to be unable to fulfill a key function in the new digital age, recognizing "technological trends across different sectors, such as big data, cloud computing, automation, and robotic" (Firlej & Kluz, 2016). Additionally, it is a one of my main roles in my new position to provide the sort of continuous learning to my team members, meaning it is even more important for me to maintain my edge. 

I started this blog with a discussion on globalization, and while politically around the world there seems to be a current backlash by some fractions against globalization, the lessons concerning leadership will continue to apply. We have transitioned from the long form of knowledge to the web form and there is no going back (Weinberger, 2011). The skills leaders will need in the 21st century are quickly shifting from being the hero to being the host, taking advantage of the knowledge of the network and the expertise of everyone.


Firlej, M., & Kluz, A. (2016, May 10). How to be a leader in the digital age. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from

Martin, M. M. (2015). A deep dive into thinking about 21st century leadership.  [Weblog comment]. Retrieved from

Mikkelsen, K. & Jarche, H. (2015, October 16). The best leaders are constant learners. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Leading through disruption

There is no doubt that emerging technologies such as the internet have provided incredible advantages and opportunities, as examined in my past few posts. However, the other side of the coin of innovation is the amount of disruption that those technologies cause. A 2016 KPMG survey of hundreds of CEOs found that 65% "believe that the next three years will be more critical for their industry than the previous 50 years". Furthermore, 85% revealed "The time I have to think strategically about the disruption and innovation shaping our company’s future" (KPMG, 2016). Companies have to constantly react to changes faster than ever before and anticipating potential changes is increasing becoming a requirement for leaders (Burrus, 2015). This post will examine some of the other implications that now face leaders and how they can work to stay current.

As Dr. Jeffery Tobias described, companies have to become comfortable with the "new normal" environment of disruption innovation and leaders will need to adapt, with anticipation being the primary skill required. Burrus (2015) lists three major ways leaders can be more anticipatory: make the future more visible, identify hard trends, and look outside your industry for solutions. While some of these actions seem somewhat straight forward it can be difficult for leaders to implement them successfully. That is where Weinberger's (2011) advice on using the networking of knowledge can be very beneficial. 

Weinberger (2011) described five ways to benefit from the internet and the wealth of information it provides, instead of being bogged down and looking at the it like we did with the old source of knowledge: books (p. 119). First, he mentions that open access, unlike traditional academic journals with high entry costs, is needed (Weinberger, 2011, p. 183). Secondly, information must be categorized so metadata can allow for ease of use. Next, linking everything together allows for a broader range of topics to be explored as well as providing references as needed (Weinberger, 2011, p. 189). Finally, institutions need to incorporate knowledge into the network and strive to teach everyone. With a strong sense of curiosity that Weinberger describes, leaders will be not only better able to anticipate changes but also adapt and react when unexpected innovations occur.

With all that being said, I believe that we are living on a cusp that is going to have far reaching effects that will be hard to predict and even harder to plan for. While the range of experts' predictions on when it will happen might differ, with an average around 2040/50, many believe that the singularity could/will happen in our lifetime. 

The ramifications for this level of disruption is unprecedented and would make the impact that the internet brought seem small. Take for example the new startup company Kernel that is working on brain-computer interface (BCI) to solve a myriad of problems such as trauma or Alzheimer's. Recently, they have shown the ability to improve the memory of rats with an implanted chip and even going so far as providing one rat's memories to another rat (Dwoskin, 2016). Imagine the revolution that could occur if all the memories of a subject matter expert were just transferred to a new recruit. Talk about retaining institutional knowledge!

As leaders we still need to work to react and anticipate change in order deal with the disruptions that technology creates. However, soon advancements in technology, such as AI and BCI, might change the very notion of what it means to be human, and that can be hard to plan for.


Burrus, D. (2015, September 30). Leading in a world of disruption. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Dwoskin, E. (2016, August 15). Putting a computer in your brain is no longer science fiction. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

KPMG. (2016). [Leading in the age of disruption] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Tobias, J. (2016, June 30). We have to get comfortable about being in a world of disruptive innovation [audio file]. Retrieved from

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Ethical Issues of the Internet: Intellectual Property and Copyright

If you are like me, and millions of others around the world, then you are a fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones also has the distinction of being the most pirated show of all time (Goldman, 2016). Piracy has always been an issue in the entertainment industry and the internet only has compounded the problem. However, when it comes to intellectual property rights and copyright when it comes to the internet, piracy is only a small subset of the ethical issues that are now occurring. Additionally, despite first appearances, there is still arguments being made about the ethical issues surrounding intellectual property and copyright law. One of the key ideas to many people concerning the internet is the notion that it provides a forum for the flow of ideas, something that seems to be at odds with traditional intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property is defined by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as the "creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce" and is protected by various laws including patents, copyrights, and trademarks (WIPO, n.d., p. 2). However, as the Game of Thrones example shows, some of the largest contributors to the rise of violations with intellectual property are due to the ease of access and low costs associated with copying information provided on the internet. Additionally, the internet provides a layer of anonymity that makes protecting intellectual property harder and quickly it becomes apparent that maybe traditional view of intellectual property rights might not be a model that fits the internet (Bessen & Maskin, 2004, p. 1).  Despite these hurdles, many intellectual property and copyright laws underwent a transformation in the 1990s due to the increasing popularity of the internet (Flanagan & Maniatis, 2008, p. 69).

Intellectual property and copyright law have their history in the Paris and Berne conventions, respectfully (WIPO, n.d. p. 3). The first major treaties that deal with the exploding digital world and the internet were the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), both in 1996 (Flanagan & Maniatis, 2008, p. 86). Many readers might be familiar with these treaties as the law passed in the United States implement the changes, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

However, due to the rapidly changing technologies and innovation occurring during that time (and possibly the misunderstanding of the internet for many lawmakers) many facets of the treaties were either uncovered or carried unintended consequences. Take for instance the fact that according to Google, 57% of all DMCA takedown notices are sent from companies targeting their competitors, with 37% not even being valid (Gibbons, 2009).  Another example, and one of the biggest complaints about the DMCA, is that people are not allowed to legally "rip" or copy CDs or DVDs they have purchased in order to create backup or personal copies. The webcomic xkcd demonstrates why, thanks to proprietary protection software and changing technology, this is such a problem; especially as more people begin to buy strictly digital media products, like music on iTunes.   

It is this principle of fair use is where a lot of legal and ethical gray area begin to appear. Take down notices and fair use claims are now common to many more people because of social media and internet sites such as Youtube. In fact it wasn't until recently that courts even upheld fair use as an affirmative defense against copyright claims, and force companies to act in good faith concerning fair use before issuing a DMCA take down notice (Lenz v. Universal Music Corp, 2015). That case is currently being appealed and the Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to hear it. And if you wanted to see the video Stephanie Lenz posted that Universal Music deemed copyright infringement, it is right below.

While Universal was originally able to take this video down as a copyright violation, I doubt many people would find the video itself unethical. In fact, it would have probably been much smarter for Universal to reach out to the creator of the video, providing links to Prince's album, instead of the knee jerk reaction to remove it entirely. A short-sighted view that has now cost them a fortune in court costs. This video also highlights a viewpoint that many people have regarding the internet and how its inherent interconnected nature makes the traditional copyright and intellectual property right ideas seem ill fitted.

Bessen and Maskin (2004) argue that two unique aspects about the internet in particular make it troublesome for traditional intellectual property and copyright laws: interactive communication and sequential improvement (p. 2). Take for instance this blog, at the bottom you can comment and a discussion can occur, but the intellectual property rights begin to get muddled, a large problem consider that online discussion happens on almost every website now, not just blogs, but Youtube, news websites, etc.

The other issue is with sequential improvement, especially in regards to software which is constantly being developed based on innovation and competition (Bessen & Maskin, 2004, p. 4). Patent eligibility is still in a gray area when it comes to software and the internet. When is a competitor stealing your ideas versus just improving on them? Is something as fundamental as online banking as an idea eligible for a patent? It seems that for now patent eligibility is destined to be determined at a case by case basis, see the famous Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International case in 2014 as an example of software being determined illegible for patent, while the recent case of Enfish LLC v. Microsoft Corp. (2016) upheld patent eligibility claims.

Bessen and Maskin (2004) feel that because of the unique challenges surrounding the internet, a weak form of intellectual property law makes more sense. They go on to say,
moderately weak intellectual property protection is optimal. The best sort of intellectual property rights are strong enough to prevent direct copying and knock-off products, but weak enough to encourage the greatest amount of cross-licensing and sharing of information between competitors.

I would have to agree with them, and it appears that as the internet continues to evolve, intellectual property rights and law must continue evolving right along side it, or risk becoming obsolete altogether. The whole problem is captured eloquently by the National Research Council's Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in the Emerging Information Infrastructure who said:
The committee believes that the issue of intellectual property in the information infrastructure cannot be viewed as solely a legal issue (as it was, for example, in the white paper Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure, IITF, 1995)1 or through any other single lens. Such an approach will necessarily yield incomplete, and often incorrect, answers.
Without the answers, the ethical gray areas concerning the internet and intellectual property and copyright law will persist.


Alice Corp v. CLS Bank International. (2014). 134 S.Ct. 2347.

Bessen, J. & Maskin, E. (2004). Intellectual property on the internet: What's wrong with conventional wisdom? Retrieved from 

Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp. (2016) U.S. App. LEXIS 8699, 2016 WL 2756255. Retrieved from

Flanagan, A. & Maniatis, S. M. (2008). Intellectual property on the internet. London, United Kingdom: University of London Press.

Gibbons, T. (2009, March 15). Google submission hammers section 92A. PC World.  Retrieved from

Goldman, D. (2016, April 25). One million people watched pirated copies of the Game of Thrones premiere. Retrieved from

Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. (2015). 801 F.3d 1126. Retrieved from

National Research Council. (2005). The digital dilemma: Intellectual property in the information age. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 

World Intellectual Property Organization. (n.d.). What is intellectual property? (WIPO Publication no. 450E). Geneva, Switzerland. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The networked worker...good, bad or just different?

The popular webcomic PhD Comics, demonstrates perfectly one of the more serious side effects that the internet has had on science reporting, and something Weinberger (2011) discusses in Too Big To Know. The internet has both enable scientific advances and discoveries to flourish while at the same time provided people the echo chambers needed to remain ignorant (Weinberger, 2011, p. 156). And as noted in the comic linked above and by Weinberger (2011), the media tends to gravitate towards eye catching, even if incorrect or misleading, headlines (p. 157). But the insights regarding the positive and negative effects of the internet in terms of scientific reporting can also be applied to how workplaces are now dealing with networked workers and the opportunities and challenges that they bring to their organizations.

Jarche (2013) several advantages that networked workers bring, all directly related to an employees access to the internet. Among them are the the fact that value is created by the connections that each employee has, a prime indicator of relationship capital (Jarche, 2013). Additionally, the scalability  that the internet provides has reduced the need for the traditional management functions. I'm sure everyone can think of an example in their workplace in which they directly e-mailed a colleague instead of coordinating efforts through a manager. This phenomenon is only amplified in the wirearchies that are developing compared to traditional hierarchies, as discussed last week.

That is not to say that networked workers are not without flaws. This is shown with the range of challenges that are present in one of the more popular networked worker trends, telecommuting. While there are many arguments and research on both sides, an article in 2013 by Network World notes that employees find work positive with bosses physically present and that virtual communication is more rife with lies compared to face-to-face communication (Bednarz, 2013). Finally, and maybe not too surprising, are the results of a survey that shows most teleworkers don't put in a full day of work (Bednarz, 2013).

With all the pros and cons of networked workers in mind, a couple particular things jumped out at me. The first is that while networked workers might be less reliant on the traditional manger role, there is still a great need for leadership. Aside from the benefit in job satisfaction discussed above, a leader can provide the vision and guidance to employees. With proper and effective leadership the opportunities of a freely available internet and networked workforce are more easily turned into competitive advantages and can outweigh the negatives. 


Bednarz, A. (2013, February 28). Is Yahoo's telework ban shortsighted or savvy? Data says both. NetworkWorld. Retrieved from

Jarche, H. (2013, November 5). Networks are the new companies. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Changing Nature of Work and Leading in a Wirearchy

It's no secret that the Internet and technological growth have changed the nature of how people interact with knowledge. This shift in knowledge and knowledge management (as discussed in last weeks blog post) can even been argued to have changed how people think. Due to the web's nature and shape, hyperlink thinking as Weinberger (2011) described it, has changed information from being presented in a long form. He expands upon this idea in his book Too Big to Know, when discussing how long form knowledge was adopted to present information and make arguments based on having to work with a medium such as books, something that is no longer true today with the Internet (Weinberger, 2011). In addition to changing how people think, technology has also changed the way that people have begun working in dramatic ways; individually, in teams, and in organizations. Husband (2017) has developed a paradigm to explain the new way this work is structured, wirearchy.

Wirearchy can be described as "a dynamic two-way flow of  power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology" (Husband, 2017). My direct experience in a wirearchy is limited. That is in due largely in part because the military is, and in my opinion will continue to be for a long time, much closer to a traditional hierarchy in terms of both power and authority. I have, however, noticed the role technology has played in interconnecting people, a huge boast to an enterprise as complex and global as the military. And while still very traditional in many ways, the military is not immune to the very real changes that are occurring to other workplaces in the 21st century.

Workplace changes such as working in swarms and working with the collective, both changes that are described by Gartner in 2010, are also happening in the military despite the somewhat rigid hierarchy that exists. The fact is the military has always been a unique workplace environment, which in turn causes unique leadership challenges. However, leading in a hybrid wirearchy and traditional hierarchy will share some commonalities and Husband's (2017) core competencies of knowledge, trust, credibility and a results based focus are fairly universal.

One thing that I did note in Fast Company's Top 5 Workplace Trends for 2017 article was prediction regarding the changing role of HR and analytics in recruiting and engagement. In early 2017, I took over a new role in my job and one of my duties is similar in nature to HR. I am recruiting/managing a small group of potential instructors to mentor for more advanced training opportunities later in their careers. Already I have begun to create a baseline of analytics to help form the program's methodology and evaluate its success. So in a way, that trend has already affected my workplace in 2017.


Dishman, L. (2016, 15 Dec). These are the top 5 workplace trends we'll see in 2017. Fast Company. Retrieved from

Goadsduff, L. (2010, 4 Aug). Gartner says the world of work will witness 10 changes during the next 10 years. Gartner: Stamford, CT. Retrieved from

Husband, J. (2017). What is wirearchy?. Retrieved from

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Knowledge Management and the Internet

In his book Too Big To Know, David Weinberger (2011) gives a one definition of what knowledge is that is aligned with many classical ideas, mainly that knowledge has the characteristics of justified, true belief (p. 43). But in addition to what knowledge actually is or isn't, one thing that was typically agreed on is how the "truths" of the worlds were collected, on books and in the minds of experts.  However, Weinberger (2011) argues that due to the Internet and the networked nature of the world, the body of knowledge now lives on the network and not it books (p. 45). But the network is messy, and it makes getting to the truth even harder is many ways, despite the opportunities that networked knowledge creates. While reading Too Big To Know, I was reminded of a scene from the movie Men in Black discussing some of the problems that occur with knowledge:

The largest issue that the Internet, and knowledge on the network, has caused is summarized by Davenport (2015) and his claim that due to the web, knowledge management is dying. There is an irony that has occurred with large networked knowledge, in that with a greater amount of knowledge, it is often harder to find and use. And due to the rise of efficient search algorithms, such as Google, it has now become easier to search for external knowledge than to find internal knowledge (Davenport, 2011, p. 2). For organizations to now manage knowledge there must be a shift towards using social learning as advocated by Dixon (2009) and Jarche (2010).

In a recent survey, the difficultly of managing and maintaining knowledge was displayed when less than 15% of organizations were confidant in their ability retain knowledge when employees left (Jarche, 2016). Social learning is certainly something that can and has occurred naturally in workplaces, however, through effective leadership organizations can foster the trust that is a "essential component of social learning" (Jarche, 2010). The networked world is often changing too fast to conduct traditional training, instead leaders need to empower employees and small teams to solve the "how to do it" for themselves (Jarche, 2010). This empowerment by leaders fosters trust and facilitates the organic creation of social networks, which in turn assists in building the community necessary for social learning (Dixon, 2009).

These issues are very relevant to my new position. I am now in charge of updating a training program on a plane that rapidly changes with new technology. The  process for formal training course changes can take years and after approval the changes might not even be relevant. Instead I will definitely be using the advice of Dixon (2009), Jarche (2010, 2016), and Weinberger (2011) moving forward, teaching students as well as instructors how to "fish and move on the the next challenge", develop the skills to learn from each other, and foster a community that encourages social learning.


Davenport, T. D. (2015, June 24). Whatever happened to knowledge management? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Dixon, N. (2009, July 30). Where knowledge management has been and where it is going - part 3. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Jarche, H. (2010, February 24). A framework for social learning in the enterprise. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Jarche, H. (2016,  December 8). Closing the learning-knowledge loop. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Exploring Web 2.0 and Udutu Review

There is no doubt that the internet has had a dramatic effect on how people digest data and information. However, the vastness of the the internet has also brought concerns of so called information overload, as noted by Weinberger (2011, p. 6). I sit here writing with this the T.V. on in the background, my phone besides my computer and Firefox with multiple tabs open. But as Weinberger (2011) describes, information overload is nothing knew, instead the recent outcry concerning how we interact with data can be summarized as a filtering problem (p. 10).

The evolution of the internet into the Web 2.0 is in part an attempt to tackle this issue. According to O'Reilly (2005) several of the core competencies of Web 2.0 sites focus on how data is structured and how it is interacted with by users. The rich user environments of Web 2.0 are now the norm for many people and can provide enormous benefits to leaders in all sectors. One such Web 2.0 service is Udutu, a website that is a learning management service but also can help with eLearning course development.

So what does that actually mean?

Now that computers are so common place and integral into peoples lives, there has been a steady shift in moving towards electronic learning/training, not only in education career fields, but also in military and private workplaces. I know in my experience in the Air Force, computer based training (CBT) has become ubiquitous. Similarly, Creighton's online Ed.D. program (of which this blog post is for) and other online college programs have demonstrated that eLearning is not something that is going to go away. Most large companies can afford to invest in proprietary development of both eLearning courseware as well as a way to deploy (send out to employees/trainees) and manage/monitor that courseware. However, for smaller scaled businesses it might not make since to develop a proprietary solution, which is where Udutu comes in.

Udutu provides a learning management service (LMS) that can scale from small to large companies but still provides a way to develop and deploy eLearning courses. Of course the content isn't limited strictly to courseware. Instead leaders could also use Udutu to send out update to policy or vision statements. Providing a more interactive why to spread a message than just e-mail, while still having the tracking in-place to ensure complete dissemination. The other major service that Udutu provides is assistance in the actual creation of eLearning courses, with several predefined templates. Udutu is fully SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) compliant, the standard for eLearning courses. This means that courses already developed can be used in Udutu's LMS and likewise any courses created using Udutu's tools can fit into a companies preexisting LMS. This flexibility can be extremely useful when an established company is attempting to move to a new service such as Udutu, ensuring that they don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Udutu's toolset and services seem to scale easily as claimed which I see as helpful for the main target audience of a site like Udutu. Additionally, the ability to use templates or a preexisting PowerPoint presentation as starting point for courses makes getting started much less daunting, especially if there in a significant time crunch. In addition to the actual courses, a major factor in determining how effective eLearning will be is based off on the LMS user interface (no trainee is going to want to spend time with a broken or confusing user interface as it can be quite frustrating). Unfortunately, without purchasing the full services offered by Udutu, I feel like a cannot make a complete judgement on how intuitive the Udutu LMS user interface is from a user perspective. 

Even with the benefits of eLearning courses and LMSs, services such as Udutu do have downsides. The biggest challenge for companies is ensuring that the training being provided lends itself to an online or computer environment. A great example of this is an Air Force training course called Self Aid and Buddy Care, which focuses on how to treat battlefield wounds. While there are some strictly academic parts in a course on first aid, a majority of training is going to be much more effective if it is provided in a hands on environment. Therefore, the Air Force has a baseline course in an eLearning environment, followed by hands on training. Leaders cognizant of limitations of eLearning environments are going to also be able to better use computer based training to the maximum extent possible successfully.


O'Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What is Web 2.0. Retrieved from

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Technology and Globalization

In 2005, Thomas Friedman released his book, The world is flat, discussing the role that technology played in the globalization of the world and, in his view, equaled the playing field for all people, regardless of where they were born or lived. I find it interesting that "uploading", the concept of online collaboration that the internet provided, is considered by Friedman (2005) to be possibly the most disruptive role that technology has had towards globalization. This blog falls under the "uploading" concept, and while my writing about globalization and technology is certainly not very important in the grand scheme of things, the idea that anyone with access to the internet, anywhere in the world can create a blog certainly is a powerful idea. Now a normal person can carve out a corner of the internet and share their ideas to the world. While the ability to perform online collaboration is one idea Friedman (2005) has in mind when he talks about the flatness of the world, is he correct or can the role of globalization be explained in other ways?

In response to Friedman's thesis, Professor Florida (2005) of George Mason University, outlined a counter argument that argues that globalization has caused the world to become increasingly "spiky". By "spiky", Florida (2005) argues that urban centers are becoming increasingly important as more people move to live in cities (p. 48). However, more important to Florida's (2005) argument about the spikiness of the world is that production and innovation are now centered around a few key cities (p. 49) Globalization has therefore caused a higher level inequality to be created, with the peak production centers such as New York or London benefiting, while second tier cities, such as Detroit, are left facing increased competition (Florida, 2005, p. 51). Recent rises in anti-globalization and nationalist parties across the globe seem to support Florida's argument and explain the backlash against the inequality produced by globalization (Roubini, 2014).  

I personally find that Florida's argument is more persuasive and accurate, however, both arguments are right to highlight the role of technology and its effect on globalization. The Internet's role in the increase in globalization is undeniable. And as technological progress continues, I am unsure whether that will lead to more inequality and spikiness or a flatter world that Friedman (2005) has argued. It is certainly possible that within my lifetime a human level artificial intelligence will be created, and as Bostrom (2015) argues, that will most likely lead to a cascading effect of super intelligent machines. I like to believe that the creation of AI will lead to a flat world as discussed by Friedman (2005), where people will have every chance to succeed regardless of location in the world, solely based on ability and effort. However, without the controls that Bostrom (2015) warned of, I can see instead AI leading the world being even spikier than it is now, and this time it will be humanity that is left in the valleys.


Bostrom, N. (2015, March). Nick Bostrom: What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? [Video file]. Retrieved from

Florida, R. (2005, October). The World Is Spiky. The Atlantic Monthly, 48-51. Retrieved from

Friedman, T. L. (2005) The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Picador. 

Roubini, N. (2014, June 2). Economic insecurity and the rise of nationalism. The Guardian. Retrieved from