Early this summer I received a call from Jim Dougherty of Intralinks, Inc. We knew each other from some previous work. He asked me if I'd be willing to participate on a panel about the Internet at a conference being held in New York at the same time as the UN Millennium meeting. There would be heads of state and heads of industry there. He was on the board of the Foreign Policy Association, which was sponsoring the conference. I told him that if he thought I'd add anything useful, I'd be glad to. It sounded like fun. I pretty much forgot about it until I needed to schedule things for September.
A little later, I was reading some emails between my friends David Reed and Bob Frankston and mention was made of a book I hadn't read, Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree. The last book I learned about that way, Clayton Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma, turned out to be an important classic, one that you need to understand to discuss technological innovation, which is my job as a Chief Technology Officer. Maybe this is another such book, I thought, so I bought a copy. I started to read it (400+ pages of small type).
Setting up my schedule, I contacted Jim to see what day I'd be speaking. I asked him if the audience would be familiar with Friedman's book. He said they should be. In fact, Friedman was heavily quoted in the pre-event descriptions, and he was scheduled as a major speaker (he ended up giving the first day's luncheon talk).
I found the main topic of the conference, Globalization, fascinating. There's a lot to it, so I thought I'd try to present whatever I could that can help others like me learn what I learned.
To start, I had read The Lexus and the Olive Tree (or at least a few hundred pages of it) before the conference. That really helped me understand what was going on and what to look for. For that reason, I'll start here by presenting some of what I heard Thomas Friedman say in his talk. Then I'll present what I heard others say, followed by a detailed report about the panel I was on. Finally, I'll show some pictures and describe what the security in New York was like. You can follow the links on the left to go directly to a page, if you want.