Filed under: Business, Change, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Recruitment, Resources, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: AIESEC, alumni, exchange, internships, opportunities
Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: AIESEC, alumni, exchange, internship
It’s been a long time since it was called a time to move on for me. Since then, I have grown up a lot and I must accept that it was hard to learn to get by without you but I have done so while keeping you in my heart. I didn’t want to be like those creepy ex-boyfriends that show up uninvited.
Every time someone talks to me about becoming an alumnus, a dinosaur, head for the future, going into the life long connection or however you want to call it nowadays I tell them exactly the same thing, and AIESEC, the problem is that you get so deep into our hearts and go so much into the core of who we become, that letting go is initially a pretty hard thing to do; Accepting that it is someone else’s turn to learn and experience the amazing lessons and friends you gave me was a hard task initially and it required me to make a clean cut, a hard cut. So I wasn’t in touch for a while. I needed to catch up with myself without you.
And as your acronyms changed; Careers progress, people move countries, continents and new lessons are learnt; Life continues and one moves on, unavoidably. It seems that all that time I spent with you passed in a heartbeat and it seems that life is going by even faster than that, if my head could comprehend.
It is only after a couple of glasses of wine and in the company of those who shared you with me that I dare to say things like “Years later and I haven’t found anyone that understands me as well as my AIESEC friends”, because it is once or twice a year that every alumnus, dinosaur, headed for the future or life long connected accepts they are nostalgic. It doesn’t matter really how many years we spent with you we all get it here and there. If there is no wine confession, there will be a cryptic Facebook post.
And you were so good to us AIESEC… Many of us are getting ahead in many ways. The business skills that completed my academic education… You made it happen. May we be successful artists, technologists, scientists or business people, entrepreneurs, activists or politicians, we are conscious citizens in this world thankful to that, which made us who we are today: YOU.
There are few magical moments like having a conversation with a truly inspiring person, a real change agent in the middle of a conference on any imaginable topic only to discover they are too an AIESECer.
And then, the question that I really want to ask you pops in our heads… What is the job of an alumnus? Here is the advice I gave to some soon to be alumni:
- Join an alumni association.
- Give advice when you are asked for it.
- Act as a mentor of current members that want to learn something from you
- Chair a conference, a workshop or a local planning weekend when you are asked to.
- Get a trainee.
- Pass on your piece of history to those that can use it.
- Let AIESEC know you are there when it needs you.
- Remember ONE roll call and keep an AIESEC T-shirt; you will need it once.
- If honoured with the invitation, become a member of a BoA or an auditor.
- Show in small and meaningful ways that you will always be an AIESECer.
AIESEC, you have changed so much too. It is hard to keep up with what happens with you in only a few years time but any alumnus can feel nothing but pride when as I went back to you this weekend I discovered
- You do twice as many exchanges in my country as you did (2000!).
- You are present in twice as many universities as when I left you (1700!).
- You change the lives of three times as many students (86000!).
- You expanded to 30 new countries, making a total of 110
Who wouldn’t be proud to be part of a legacy like that?
We had an identity and now a way; We have done projects, leadership, issue based learning, programs and many more; There was 1996, 2005, 2010 and now 2015; there were green forms, pink forms, Match, Insight, Insight 2, myaiesec.net, the orange one and the blue one and many more will come, but there is one thing we all believed for the last 65 years and we will believe in forever: Exchange.
AIESEC, don’t let this letter be only the nostalgia of one that remembers the incredible rush of selling, matching and realising a management internship or the feeling of that full bucket of cold water spilling over my head…
For you are not only an organization for us, you are our life long cause. We are out here, millions of us. Find us.
I am back from an AIESEC National Conference in Germany. Truly inspired by AIESEC’s evolution and success, believing in the impact that AIESEC and its alumni can have together. In this post I think of every AIESEC member in the world, and the two alumni that with their role during my active time in AIESEC , starting in Mexico and until the culmination of my AIESEC International term, changed my life. I am forever thankful to Juan Manuel Ferron and Victor Loewenstein.
Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability
Filed under: Business, Change, Human Resources, Innovation, Society, Sustainability
An organization that is truly diverse understands both the differences and similarities in people. Inside the organization you’ll see people from all different backgrounds working together and how a blend of employees adds intrinsic value to the business.
An increasingly global network, due largely to the expansion of technology, people from all different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives are all coming together to work in various capacities. Virtual connections have significantly increased the capabilities of doing business.
A more diverse business environment is rapidly developing through e-commerce, customer service practices, supplier relationships, outsourcing, partnerships and merges to name a few. As a result people are exposed to differences.
Businesses who embrace diversity go above meeting the confines defined by the law because they recognize the advantages from a both a business perspective and from a social one. They understand diversity shouldn’t divide employees, but instead unite.
There is a strong business case for diversity because companies who are genuinely diverse and invest resourcesin diversity initiatives have found lower turnover rates, and less discrimination lawsuits brought against them for sexual, race and age discrimination.
Additionally, what we all have heard before is: People who are diverse in culture, background, social class, gender, age or religion all bring something different of value to a company because of different life experiences and perspectives. Each employee helps shape a unique perception on work projects, processes and issues because of the differing backgrounds. These distinct viewpoints help businesses grow because of the innovative ideas inspired by diverse viewpoints.
From the social perspective, investing in diversity initiatives means equal practices for all people within their organization without exercising positive discrimination either is the right thing to do. Organizations that have become intensely aware of the value of diversity and from a humanistic point treat everyone equally and with the same respect.
A great case for this is made for example in the commented book, Womenomics while being careful once again of maintaining objectivity; As I mentioned before, exacerbating differences in a superficial way is too one sided. Only genuine appreciation for the unique value different people bring to business will drive growth and could in some cases become a key driver for organizations to operate in a true synergic and organic way, and this kind of adaptability is of utmost importance for those that want to be successful in the future.
What has been observed though is that companies which invest resources in diversity measures experience strong levels of growth. It has been proven customers like to see themselves represented within the companies they do business with, so in addition to the other business and social reasons for diversity, the market base is a high consideration and strong argument for diversity as well.
Also traditionally known… Diversity naturally drives innovation because the differences in ideas, incentives, knowledge base and experiences all promote new inspirations and initiatives. When people who work together think alike, this good to an extent, but it is the challenges which make a company grow.
Businesses which hold strong conviction and dedication to diversity illustrate they recognize the value and advantages that naturally follow diversity. The committed company celebrates the differences which exist amongst different backgrounds and realizes the worthy contributes people all bring to their organization beyond the obvious differences.
An immediate result of globalization is that many of us are faced with the challenge of participating in, managing or coaching a multicultural team. Not too long ago, I was a member of a highly international team based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The team members for the most part shared a background, even a set of shared values and opinions, so it was easy to assume that the most “serious” differences would come from their diverse cultural backgrounds. In this case we came from 18 countries globally.
The performance of our organization across more than 80 countries depended in large part on the ability of this senior team to work together as a cohesive group – within an accelerated and limited time frame. Have you ever found that the cross-cultural models you have learned are not always enough to solve the problem or improve the performance of a struggling international team?
Multicultural Teams are Complex
Cross-cultural knowledge is an obvious pre-requisite for working with any team whose members come from different cultures. We acquire this knowledge from our reading, from our studies, from company-sponsored seminars and most importantly by maintaining a very high level of self-awareness when we step outside our own cultural boundaries. However managing cross-culturally is complex because real business issues are complex and often require more than a linear solution. So, how do we avoid the trap of over-simplifying the complexity of the issues faced by international teams?
Let’s agree that there is more to understanding an international team than being aware of the diversity of national cultures represented by the members. We know from experience that there are key differences found on any team which may include gender, race, individual personality, cognitive and emotional intelligence, educational, and occupational backgrounds.
Working in this international team and living as an expat in multiple countries as a professional expat over more than 10 years has taught me that over-emphasizing the national cultural differences found in a team can sometimes be too one sided. Understanding cultural difference is key but alone, is not sufficient to achieve a highly performing team. Other factors include: the purpose for the team’s existence, the influence of personality differences, the impact of culture, professional identities, the level of emotional intelligence, and the importance of a robust support system for the team.
Purpose of the team’s existence
If we are involved in managing, coaching or participating in a team our first question should be: “what is the purpose of this team?” What brings the team together? Research has shown us that the secret to a strong team is a clear common purpose and identification of each member with that group task.. Indeed the very definition of a “team” is a group of individuals working on a common purpose. Our first analysis of a team should start with looking at the reason for its existence. If the team is composed of members from different cultures, once we understand the answer to the question “what is this group trying to accomplish?” we can move on to examine the impact of different factors on the team dynamics.
My international team was exceptionally good at this. It was the common vision, purpose and timeline that we had that allowed us to perform despite the professional and personal conflicts that arose in a year’s period.
The Influence of Personality Differences
One of the factors that became immediately apparent with the multinational Rotterdam based team was that some of the greatest difficulties between team members had everything to do with individual personality differences and very little to do with culture. It can come as a great relief to any team to recognize that “unpleasant” characters exist in all cultures. Much of the tension generated by some individuals on the team was a result of their personal style, which had little to do with our native cultures.
However, as I have observed in other multicultural teams, it is a risk for any team to almost unconsciously fall into the “political correctness” trap and was trying to tolerate unacceptable behaviour because of the assumption of it being culturally driven. Once teams realized that cultural difference is not an excuse for misbehaving or being inflexible it was as if a great weight had been removed from the collective shoulders. How to come to this realization?
Using models like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Personality Index (PI) to examine the differences in personality style and to practice ways to make constructive use of the differences.
Like similar personality indicators, the MBTI quickly enables a team to construct a “model” of personality preferences. Team members are able to recognize the contributions of the different personality “styles” and how they actually complement one another. Team members can learn to respect the differences in “style” which can begin to be valued as “strengths” which the team could leverage. Extraverts and the introverts can gain new understanding of their differences. The team can start to become aware of the profound differences, dictated by their genes and past through their personalities, in the way that they gather information, make decisions and structure their environment. Can you think of a better framework to begin examining cultural differences?
Unfortunately there are no bulletproof solutions for personality conflicts. Sometimes the personality of a team member can hinder him or her in understanding these principles and to be able to put him or herself in the shoes of a different team member. Finding this type of wall on someone else and how to get past this point is something I still have to discover.
The impact of culture
For the past many years authors on cross-cultural communication, such as Geert Hofstede, Edmund Hall, and Fons Trompenaars have illustrated the role that cross-cultural differences play within a team. Their work has provided us with the intellectual framework, the specific terms and the dimensions of culture to open our eyes to the differences in management style, which are influenced, by culture. The approach that I’ve taken to prepare others to for cross cultural team work starts by helping the individuals examine the values, beliefs and assumptions of their own native culture before they try to analyse a different culture. They quickly learn to see how geography, history and religion impact values, beliefs and assumptions, which in turn shape the characteristic behaviour of a group. They build a model to understand the dimensions of their own culture and only when this is done they move on to examine the points of convergence and divergence with the other cultures represented in the team. The point is to learn to recognize and respect the differences. Only then can the team begin to “reconcile the dilemmas” – as advocated by Trompenaars – which can arise from the clash of cultural differences.
The Rotterdam team for the most part shared a business related background – still there were few with Scientific or Humanities. As we worked through a time these different professional identities began to become apparent in different approaches to problem solving. These “sub-divisions” of cultural identity that members bring to a team can be the source of many dilemmas that need to be reconciled. For instance, it is my experience that engineers, as a group, are very loyal to their profession (fellow engineers) and are very similar in their ways no matter their national culture or the company they work for. The same is no doubt true for other professional groups such as Finance. These are true cultural differences that need to be taken into account. Are there other differences that need to be considered?
I would like to suggest that the “emotional intelligence” of a team is an emerging factor that should be considered and developed. Solid research shows that teams whose members exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence come together faster and achieve higher levels of productivity more quickly than teams with less emotional intelligence. “Emotional contagion” is a very real issue in the life of teams – team members “catch” emotions from other team-members. We have all experienced teams of highly skilled individuals who seem eager to achieve something together only to see politics, squabbling, private relationships and internal competition corrode the team. I have never seen a team that considered “emotional intelligence.”. Therefore, I have come to believe that this is of vital importance in team member selection.
Global Leadership Competencies
I believe that leaders who manage multicultural teams (which frequently are “virtual teams:” whose members reside in different countries) need to have a clear understanding of the dimensions mentioned above. The global leader has to develop a new set of competencies to deal with the challenges of culture. These skills include understanding that they do not have to know all the answers – they need to be able to learn new solutions with and from their teams. They need to be ready to “reconcile” the ethical dilemmas that will invariably result from different cultural approaches. Above all they need the patience, experience, emotional resilience and sense of humour (which correlates with the ability to learn from their mistakes) in order to be able to manage the ambiguity inherent in conducting business across cultures. These skills are not necessarily taught in business schools.
As for the team I referred to – physically based in Rotterdam – I believe we came together as a “high performance team” and managed in most cases to leverage the incredible synergies that arose from our individual differences. And today, after that intense year, years ago, we are close friends. An international team can deliver a life altering experience.
Filed under: Business, Change, Meditation, Personal Discovery, Planning, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: Change, dynamic climate, life-work balance, personal style
My life is changing so fast at this point that I can barely cope. As exciting as it is to the outside, it is uncomfortable, it makes me feel insecure and I start feeling the need of proofing myself once again, even if I thought I was completely exhausted of this process. What is the world demanding of me? Of everyone? Can we even say “enough is enough”?
As the saying goes, the only people who like change are busy cashiers and wet babies. We find change disorienting, creating within us an anxiety similar to culture shock, the unease visitors to an alien land feel because of the absence of the familiar cues they took for granted back home.
Unfortunately as much as I (and you would too, I bet) would like to think that your life will become stable at some point, the matter of fact is that in this century, as an active member of the global economy…
Change is a business fact of life
Is your company is currently undergoing major changes that will affect the lives of all of its employees? These changes are probably in response to the evolving needs of your customers. They are made possible because of improvements in telecommunications and digital technology. They are likely guided by accepted principles and practices of total quality management. And you can expect that they will result in significant improvements profitability–a success that all employees will or will not share. Because our customers’ needs are NOW, we must make changes swiftly, which means that all of us must cooperate with the changes, rather than resist them.
But people do not like change all that much. It doesn’t matter how good you are at adapting, there will always be those fluctuating moments when change gives you the feeling of an “empty stomach”. We tend to respond to change the same way we respond to anything we perceive as a threat: by flight or fight. Our first reaction is flight–we try to avoid change if we can, we seal ourselves off from those around us and try to ignore what is happening. This can happen in the workplace just by being passive. We don’t volunteer for teams or committees; we don’t make suggestions, ask questions, or offer constructive criticism. But the changes ahead are inescapable. Those who “cocoon” themselves will be left behind.
Even worse is to fight, to actively resist change. Resistance tactics might include negativity, destructive criticism, and even sabotage. If this seldom happens at your company, you are fortunate.
But you have to realize… we are not bunnies… Rejecting both alternatives of flight or flight, we seek a better option–one that neither avoids change nor resists it, but harnesses and guides it.
In the life I chose, I have looked for individual practices to enable change to become the means to my goals, not a barrier to them. Still with all the different practices and approaches I have taken here, things are easier said than done.
Both fight and flight are reactions to perceiving change as a threat. But if we can change our perceptions, we can avoid those reactions. An old proverb goes, “Every change brings an opportunity.” In other words, we must learn to see change as a means of achieving our goals, not a barrier preventing us from reaching them.
Another way of expressing the same thought is: A change in my external circumstances provides me with an opportunity to grow as a human being. The greater the change is, the greater and faster I can grow. If we can perceive change along these lines, we will find it exciting and energizing, rather than depressing and debilitating.
Yet this restructuring of our perspective on change can take some time. In fact, coping with change follows the same steps as the grieving process.1 The steps are shock and denial that the old routine must be left behind, then anger that change is inevitable, then despair and a longing for the old ways, eventually replaced by acceptance of the new and a brighter view of the future. Everyone works through this process; for some, the transition is lightning fast, for others painfully slow.
I have tried different practices of meditation and collective intelligence to adapt better to this, and if it is truth that this is a great help, for a human being with a standard level of consciousness (me), there is still a long way to go.
Different individual approaches to change in organizations
As one writer put it recently:
Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them. The next time you feel resistant, think about them and about what they faced–and about what they fashioned from a fraction of the options we have. They blended old and new worlds, creating family, language, cuisine and new life-affirming rhythms, and they encouraged their children to keep on stepping toward an unknown but malleable future.
Human beings are created remarkably flexible, capable of adapting to a wide variety of environments and situations. Realizing this can help you to embrace and guide change rather than resisting or avoiding it.
Corporate employees typically follow one of four decision-making styles: analytical, directive, conceptual, and behavioral. These four styles, described in a book by Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason,3 have the following characteristics:
Analytical Style - technical, logical, careful, methodical, needs much data, likes order, enjoys problem-solving, enjoys structure, enjoys scientific study, and enjoys working alone.
Analytical coping strategy - You see change as a challenging puzzle to be solved. You need plenty of time to gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. You will resist change if you are not given enough time to think it through.
Conceptual Style - creative and artistic, future oriented, likes to brainstorm, wants independence, uses judgement, optimistic, uses ideas vs. data, looks at the big picture, rebellious and opinionated, and committed to principles or a vision.
Conceptual coping strategy - You are interested in how change fits into the big picture. You want to be involved in defining what needs to change and why. You will resist change if you feel excluded from participating in the change process.
Behavioral Style - supportive of others, empathetic, wants affiliation, nurtures others, communicates easily, uses instinct, avoids stress, avoids conflict, relies on feelings instead of data, and enjoys team/group efforts.
Behavioral coping strategy - You want to know how everyone feels about the changes ahead. You work best when you know that the whole group is supportive of each other and that everyone champions the change process. If the change adversely affects someone in the group, you will perceive change as a crisis.
Directive Style - aggressive, acts rapidly, takes charge, persuasive and/or is manipulative, uses rules, needs power/status, impatient, productive, single-minded, and enjoys individual achievement.
Directive coping strategy - You want specifics on how the change will affect you and what your own role will be during the change process. If you know the rules of the change process and the desired outcome, you will act rapidly and aggressively to achieve change goals.
You resist change if the rules or anticipated results are not clearly defined or when you are not involved in the process.
But what to do when change is imminent and you have not been even asked?
1. Get the big picture. - Sometimes, not only do we miss the forest because of the trees, but we don’t even see the tree because we’re focused on the wood. Attaining a larger perspective can help all of us to cope with change, not just the conceptualists. The changes under way in global organizations today follow at least four important trends, which I believe are probably reflective of businesses in general.
2. Do some anchoring. - When everything around you is in a state of flux, it sure helps to find something stable that isn’t going to change, no matter what. Your company’s values (whether articulated or not) can provide that kind of stability for you around decision making. Concentrate in the identity of your organization and make decisions based on your own good and that of the organization as a whole.
3. Keep your expectations realistic. - A big part of taking control of the change you experience is to set your expectations. You can still maintain an optimistic outlook, but aim for what is realistically attainable. That way, the negatives that come along won’t be so overwhelming, and the positives will be an adrenaline rush. Here are some examples:
- There will be some bumps along the road. We shouldn’t expect all of the changes ahead to be painless, demanding only minimal sacrifice, cost, or effort. In fact, we should expect some dead ends, some breakdowns in communications, and some misunderstandings, despite our best efforts to avoid them. We may not be able to anticipate all of the problems ahead, but we can map out in general terms how we will deal with them.
- Not everyone will change at the same rate. The learning rates of any employees will distribute themselves along a bell curve. A few will adapt rapidly, most will take more time, and a few will adjust gradually. Also, many younger employees may find change, especially technological innovations, easier than those older. The reason may be, as one observer explains, “Older people’s hard disks are fuller.”4 On the other hand, you may find some younger ones surprisingly reluctant to take on a new challenge.
- The results of change may come more slowly than we would want. As participants in an “instant society,” conditioned by the media to expect complex problems to reach resolution in a 60-minute time frame, we may find the positive results of change slow to arrive from the distant horizon. If we are aware of this, we won’t be so disappointed if tomorrow’s results seem so similar to today’s.
4. Develop your own, personal change tactics. Get plenty of exercise, plenty of rest, and watch your diet. Even if you take all the right steps and follow the best advice, undergoing change creates stress in your life, and stress takes energy. Aware of this, you can compensate by taking special care of your body.
Invest time and energy in training. Sharpen your skills so that you can meet the challenges ahead with confidence. If the training you need is not available in your organization, get it somewhere else, such as the community college or adult education program in your area.
Get help when you need it. If you are confused or overwhelmed with the changes swirling around you, ask for help. Your manager, or co-workers may be able to assist you in adjusting to the changes taking place.
Make sure the change does not compromise either your company values or your personal ones. If you are not careful, the technological advances jostling each other for your attention and adoption will tend to isolate you from personal contact with your co-workers and customers. E-mail, teleconference, voice-mail, and Intranet can make us more in touch with each other, or they can keep us antiseptically detached, removed from an awareness that the digital signals we are sending reach and influence another flesh-and-blood human being.
Aware of this tendency, we must actively counteract the drift in this direction by taking an interest in people and opening up ourselves to them in return. We have to remember to invest in people–all of those around us–not just in technology.
The “new normalcy”
Ultimately, we may discover that the current state of flux is permanent. After the events of September 11, Vice President Richard Cheney said we should accept the many resultant changes in daily life as permanent rather than temporary. “Think of them,” he recommended, “as the ‘new normalcy.’”
You should take the same approach to the changes happening at your workplace. These are not temporary adjustments until things get “back to normal.” They are probably the “new normalcy” of your life as a company. The sooner you can accept that these changes are permanent, the better you can cope with them all–and enjoy their positive results.
And if change, constant change is the rule of your life and your industry… if you can never expect for “things to settle down”… then, please be welcome to my club. For those who like it, it is exciting, enticing, fabulous and never stopping… yet, remember to sit down from time to time to catch your breath and to realize the beauty of it all.
Filed under: Business, Change, Human Resources, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Resources, Travel | Tags: brimm, complicated questions, cosmopolitans, different cultures, international careers, national boundaries
A couple of days ago I received a an academic paper from my friend Petroula. It lacked the statistical backup I have grown used to see in my day to day (my current employer is obsessed with numerical data) but it described accurately something far more complex.
Trapped in the every day frenzied life style I live, I didn’t reply to say thank you for sending it. It was the first time I read in the words of other person what comes to my mind very often for the past few years, what I have been blamed of, reproached and praised for for my entire adult life. Yes, my choice and achievement, that didn’t come for free. That thing that many envy, that many wish and set as a goal to achieve and that from time to time I feel I have been cursed with: A truly global life. Unstoppable. Unavoidable. Wanted… my only option.
Meet the Global Cosmopolitan – member of a talented population of highly educated, multilingual people who have lived, worked and studied for extensive periods in different cultures.
Global Cosmopolitans describes the world of some (me and my very close friends belong there), a world where national boundaries have become permeable through the opportunities for international careers and personal travel, a new breed of individual has emerged who both reflects this change and promises to be the key player in the next stages of globalization. This is the ‘Global Cosmopolitan’, a featured actor in this emerging drama who has lived in different countries, learnt to speak multiple languages and acquired an ease of moving to new situations. However, being a Global Cosmopolitan can also result in increasingly complex issues of personal identity. New and complicated questions such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where is my home?’ are hidden under more easily discussed topics such as languages spoken, countries visited and passports obtained. This exciting new book by Linda Brimm affords a unique view into the world and experience of Global Cosmopolitans. The author combined the stories of many that could be me or my close friends, told in their own voices, with a variety of useful concepts for understanding the experience that seems to be very rare. So rare that I feel alone in it most of the times, and in company in it just when people like Petroula, sharing that same connection with me, are there.
It was beautiful to see how many of my friends reacted to this book in different ways. Many of us think about it, talk about it for long hours twice a year when we get the chance to meet, and now it is there, on paper… for anyone living with us, thanks to us or despite us.
When my boss described me once as “the first truly international person I have ever met”, I felt flattered. When a colleague at work calls me from time to time “a corporate gypsy” it hurts for reasons he doesn’t understand.
This paper describes accurately the circumstances, fear, frustration and strengths one person gains by choosing ”not to have a home” as most understand it; Bewildered by the wonders of the world, developing an addiction to change, to new information, to new people, to a different kind of success… You simply need to read it.
This type of thing really make you see how the world is flat.
And here some more http://www.globalcosmopolitans.net/
Filed under: Business, Change, Innovation, Leadership, Society, Technology | Tags: Censorship, Freedom, Internet, Legislation, Technology
I wished I was talking about soup or pipes, but not, this is not the case…
Once a week in the mobile market that gets set up close to my parents home in Mexico City (one of hundreds in the city every weekend) and in there, a DVD, CD, and pirate software booth — the proprietor sets up early in the morning and leaves when the market closes in the afternoon. Instead of just offering up ripped DVDs with handwritten titles in paper sleeves, he sells meticulous copies of the entire package from sleeve to disc label, and there are a few legitimate used DVDs thrown in for flavor. If not for the suspiciously low prices and the occasional printing error, you might not ever know the entire operation was operating in brazen defiance of the law.
Stands like these are an important touchpoint when you read or hear about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and its sister bill in the U.S. Senate, the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. Both bills attempt to deal with online sites that traffic in illegally copied content, but at extreme cost of remaking the architecture of the internet itself. That’s a high price to pay, especially since neither bill will actually curb real piracy: SOPA and PIPA are the effective equivalent of blowing up every road, bridge, and tunnel in New York to keep people from getting to one bootleg stand in Union Square — but leaving the stand itself alone.
What SOPA and PIPA do
- Order internet service providers to alter their DNS servers from resolving the domain names of websites in foreign countries that host illegal copies of videos, songs, and photos.
- Order search engines like Google to modify search results to exclude foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
- Order payment providers like PayPal to shut down the payment accounts of foreign websites that host illegally copied material.
- Order ad services like Google’s AdSense to refuse any ads or payment from foreign sites that host illegally copied content.
That’s just the first part. SOPA section 103 and PIPA section 4 require payment processors and ad networks to shut down accounts if they receive the right kind of letter from a copyright owner — a system modeled on the heavily criticized notice-and-takedown provisions of the current Digital Millenium Copyright Act that requires a service like YouTube to pull down infringing content after the copyright owner complains. That system has been abused on occasion, but it ultimately works because it allows YouTube to avoid direct responsibility for the actions of its users — it would have been otherwise sued out of existence.
There’s no such balance of interests for the payment processors or ad networks under SOPA or PIPA: they simply have to block their accounts within five days of getting a letter, unless their accused customer writes back with a letter promising to visit a U.S. court. A site like YouTube would remain protected under copyright law, but become extremely vulnerable to having its finances choked off by overzealous copyright owners under SOPA — imposing a huge additional cost on new startups that host user content and effectively undoing the flawed but effective protections for those services currently in copyright law. Remember the death of Napster or Kazaa? Well, that sort of thing would happen easily, fast and with little research.
Oh, but it gets worse. Much worse. SOPA section 104 offers legal immunity to ISPs that independently block websites that host illegally copied material without any prompting from the government. That’s a major conflict of interest for a huge ISP like Comcast, which also owns NBC — there would be nothing stopping Comcast from blocking a foreign video service that competes with NBC if it could claim it had a “reasonable belief” it was “dedicated to the theft of US property.” And indeed, Comcast is among the companies that support SOPA.
Now, you may have noticed that while all these rules are totally insane, they’re all at least theoretically restricted to foreign sites — defined by SOPA as sites with servers located outside the US. That’s important to know: at its simplest level, SOPA is a kneejerk reaction to the fundamental nature of the internet, which was explicitly designed to ignore outmoded and inconvenient concepts like the continuing existence of the United States. Because US copyright holders generally can’t drag a foreign web site into US courts to get them to stop stealing and distributing their work, SOPA allows them to go after the ISPs, ad networks, and payment processors that are in the United States. It is a law borne of the blind logic of revenge: the movie studios can’t punish the real pirates, so they are attacking the network instead.
So… What now?
Everyone that knows me can tell you I am not a fan of protests. why? Protests in my life have not made any change, if they have produced a lot of traffic and pollution, still they are a key element for the survival of democracy… limiting the content of the internet in the way these bills purpose to do so is equivalent give a selected group the right to prohibit citizens their right to protest or gather, or telling a newspaper back in the day what they could or could not write.
Remember those moving videos that triggered movement and change during the Egyptian spring last year? Well… someone could say you are not allowed to see them because of the song they play on the background. Maybe you couldn’t even have the kicks watching the laughing baby on Youtube…
A free internet is a key element to ensure the survival of democracy worldwide and to warranty the collective evolution of humankind.
So even if you will not catch me inside any protest, this site was on strike on January 18th 2012, together with thousands of websites that united to protest against the Protect IP Pact making the largest online protest world wide.
And what is there to do? What can you do?
If you are a U.S. Resident… Write Congress! Call Senate!!!
If you are not in the U.S…. Write the State Department.
You can sign the petition of an NGO such as Fight for the Future. It will only take you a few seconds to put your voice behind a critical issue.
Yes my friends, for the love you have to your iPads, iPhones, Androids… for every single person that records themselves playing music of their favourite artists etc etc…. you should do this.
Filed under: Business, Change, Resources, Sustainability | Tags: Culture Scan, People Scan, Spiral Dynamics
Filed under: Change, Innovation, Personal Discovery, Society | Tags: Acceptance, Authenticity, Connetion, Courage, Fear, Gratitude, Joy, Shame, Vulnerability
Dream for a minute of a world without masks, without mind and power games…