In one sense, I was disappointed. His speech was a concise version of the first part of his most recent book, The World is Flat. He basically explained what he calls the levelling of the global playing field, what led to this, and implications for the future. Well, not so much on implications for the future.
However, I’m an auditory learner. Although I’d just finished his book, I felt like I consolidated his teachings by listening to him. Furthermore, he’s a great speaker. He’s a storyteller. He took what was happening in the world today, and explained it in terms everyone could understand, and presented it as this great story of globalization. He did it humorously, sprinkled it with personal anecdotes, and with great changes in voice inflection and volume. Amazing, convincing speaker.
He was right-on with his answers. The things people asked, he’d already thought out the answers way before. Especially when the idiot questioners asked things he’d already addressed in his book. (Oy.)
I did learn some new things. One thing, I don’t remember the thing, but I do remember that Mr. Friedman said he was going to talk about it in his Op-Ed article coming out tomorrow in the New York Times.
Well, I’d love to reference it tomorrow, but unfortunately, all of Mr. Friedman’s articles, and all the other Op-Eds, and stuck behind the subscription wall called Times Select. A pay wall, I must add.
So, in an ironic sense, Mr. Friedman is a little bit behind the times, despite his amazing grasp of the globalizing world. He mentions “uploading” as one of his 10 Flatteners. This is uploading content — like bloggers. Well, interesting statistic: After Times Select went up, I’ve seen approximately zero links to any of Mr. Friedman’s articles.
Now, don’t misunderstand me and think I’m trying to get a “gotcha” moment. Mr. Friedman has a best-selling book out, and people read the paper version of the New York Times, and some people pay for Times Select — he’s still got big clout and big reach. Still, I think the New York Times (not Friedman, I’m sure he wasn’t in charge of this at all), made a mistake. You want your opinions bandied about the blogosphere.
Whenever a speaker mentions that we need great leaders to promote certain things, it ignites a fire in my heart — I want to be that leader. And yet, I always end up chastising my lack of work ethic. But I don’t think it’s that. I think I lack passion. I haven’t found anything that would make me so passionate that it would compel me to amazing action, despite the occasional stirring in my heart. Or, perhaps, I haven’t found it within myself.
In conclusion, I got my book, which I just finished, signed by Mr. Friedman. Pretty cool, I guess. But I’d rather be the guy doing the signing.