Sharp changes are afoot throughout the globe. Demographics are shifting, technology is advancing at unprecedented rates, and these changes are being felt everywhere. How should we develop strategies to deal with this emerging new world? We can begin by understanding it.
Once upon a time, only the elite could network globally. David Rockefeller—the grandson of the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller—was a pioneer networker. According to a recent report, “He recorded contact information along with every meeting he had with about 100,000 people world-wide on white 3-by-5-inch index cards. He amassed about 200,000 of the cards, which filled a custom-built Rolodex machine, a 5-foot high electronic device.”
The early years of the Internet were marked by a libertarian optimism about its decentralizing and democratizing effects. Information would be widely available and undercut the monopolies of authoritarian governments. Big Brother would be defeated. President Clinton believed that China would liberalize and that Communist Party efforts to control the Internet were like trying to “nail jello to the wall.”