What’s next?

Like many people, I’m scratching my head about the state of the world, trying to make sense of the backlash against globalization, liberalism, science and secularism. The emphasis is on “trying”. It is not working. Too many dots to connect, too many contexts to consider, too many systems that are interdependent, too many ideologies and narratives that interfere with accurately assessing reality. Whenever I think I have arrived at some potentially all-comprising explanation, 10 other ideas pop up in my mind, some of them contradicting my previous hypotheses, while others adding additional layers to it, complicating everything.

And so, a lot of only loosely connected, unfinished thoughts are swirling through my head, which I’ll now pen down. Continue Reading

Netflix is the next phase of globalization

For Netflix, 2016 could not have started better. First, the video streaming company announced its availability in 130 additional countries, reaching a point of near-global presence. Then it revealed new user numbers, showing a record international growth (not including the 130 new markets), sending the stock price through the roof.

What’s even more interesting than the powerful kick-off is the company’s long-term vision which over the past 2 weeks was outlined in multiple interviews by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who currently is on a PR tour. Hastings stated in an interview that his goal is to be able to offer the same video catalog worldwide in 10 years from now. One way to get there, according to Hastings: Securing global rights to all newly licensed content. Another one: Massively investing in content specifically produced for Netflix. Last year, the service had launched 450 hours of original content. In 2016, the goal is to launch more than 600 hours of original content.

Hastings clearly wants to turn Netflix into the first global TV network, and he is well on his way. If he succeeds, this will have huge consequences not only for traditional TV stations, but for global media – and for globalization. Netflix’s plan could change much more than individual TV consumption. It could shrink the world yet a significant bit more. Continue Reading

The globalization of news

“What is happening with this world??”

If you occasionally spend time on Social Media, you might be familiar with this phrase. It is a rather common reaction of people to terrible news events involving violence, terrorism or other kinds of destructive aggression or catastrophes.

Whenever I see someone responding with a statement like the one above, I am tempted to reply: “The same things as have always happened”. I don’t, because people in a state of shock and sorrow don’t need that kind of smart-ass remark.

Still, now and here, I think it is important to point out that whenever somebody makes a comment implying that everything is falling apart, some heavy selective perception is at work. Even though the world indeed has become rather turbulent lately, as confirmed by a recent expert survey of the World Economy Forum, not every incident and event should be taken as proof for that. Continue Reading

The Internet is the first global platform for the exchange of ideologies

One of the main building blocks of the commercial Internet are platforms; online places where two or more groups with matching demands and needs can connect to exchange goods, services or information. Among the most well-known and widely used platforms are social networks like Facebook (where multiple parties with a variety of needs and demands are involved), Uber (where people who need to get from a A to B connect with people who are willing to drive them from A to B), Airbnb (where people with housing space connect with people who need an accommodation), Wikipedia (where people with time and knowledge provide information for people who are in need of knowledge) or classifieds sites and e-commerce market places such as Craigslist and eBay. While platforms can take on different looks and shapes, a major characteristic is that the operators of platforms try to let demand and supply find itself as freely as possible. Especially when it comes to legal proceedings, the companies behind those platforms regularly claim that they only provide the technical infrastructure and operational framework, but that the users of that platform are the ones responsible for their actions. Platforms have evolved as one of the superior forms of how interactions and transactions happen on the Internet, and they will for sure keep growing and expanding.

Looking at the idea and mechanism of platforms from a more abstract point of view, here is a thought, or rather an analogy: The Internet itself can be considered one large platform. A platform whose users utilize it for the purpose of globally offering and “consuming” ideologies, cultural ideas and thought concepts. This is something completely new to humanity, groundbreaking but also not easy to digest. Continue Reading

Ask what your country can do for you (and the world)

Over the span of a lifetime, most people have various changing employers/jobs. A couple of decades ago this thought would have upset many. Nowadays, it is considered the default in most developed regions and industries. But when it comes to countries of residence and nationalities, the majority of people follow the ideal of lifelong loyalty and dedication to one country and culture – usually the one they grew up in.

Many, if not most people, have internalized the idea of belonging into the country they are citizen of. Some are even developing quite an advanced level of patriotism and nationalism. Others do not go quite that far, but still are willing to put an effort into “their” country. John F. Kennedy’s famous quote “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” stands emblematic for that mindset. Continue Reading