When I was in university in the early 1990s, I took a class on American Foreign Policy (no laughs please). My professor had worked in the Nixon and Reagan administrations and would not have been embarrassed by being called an old Cold Warrior. On the first
day of lectures he stood up in front of the class and said. "I don't know what I am going to teach you. For the past 50 years US foreign policy has been focused on the Soviet Bloc. Since that region is no longer around, we don't seem to have much of a policy."Sadly,
(and less amusing) less than a decade later, the US suffered the consequences of their alleged lack of knowledge of the new world order. This may seem to some to be widely left of field, but I have the feeling that we are in the same sort of cross roads with
blogs, social networking sites, wacky alternative reality sites and emerging technologies. I have read yet another editorial about the scourge of "disruptive technologies" such as social networking. And never a week goes by without news of another forward-thinking
(ironic) COO banning Facebook from their internet servers. To quote a senior executive at a major media company "If somewhere here doesn't know how to log on to a proxy server and get access to Facebook, they should be fired." Earlier this year the founder
of Whole Foods in the US was found out anonymously blogging about his rivals, in order to drive down share price (making Whole Foods rivals cheaper to acquire). Hard to police? Yes! New way of doing business? Damn straight! Something to be feared? I say no.
Get with the program I say. Years ago, brokers used to meet in pubs and men's clubs or golf courses and have conversations behind panelled walls. We live in a networked, Blackberry'ed, Facebooked, Linked'in, Second Life world. The sooner business starts living
in the world technology has created, the less these become "disruptive technologies".