Friday, October 14, 2005

Becoming a more global player 3

Some time ago, I suggested ways to become a more global player by learning to see ourselves as others see us. One of the other ways we become more global is by learning about others. Art in all its forms—music, dance, paintings, photographs, theater, and movies—provide a window into others' ways of thinking.

My daughter invited me to watch Good Bye Lenin! not too long ago. She's spent much of the last several years overseas, so she has DVDs from Europe and the USA. Thanks to DVD region encoding, though, she's restricted in her viewing of them. She can view her European DVDs on her laptop, while she has to find another machine to view her US DVDs.

More to the societal point, especially in the USA, we're hard-pressed to find such windows on the world in our local stores because most of us won't be able to view them without compromising our ability to watch DVDs made for our local region.

Why do I single out the USA? Because we're largely insulated by oceans from other countries. Some of us are close enough to Canada or Mexico to be influenced by them, but that's a small fraction compared to the larger fraction of people in European countries, for example, who regularly see the influence of other countries.

What can each of us do?

  • As a person, take any advantage to observe the culture of other countries: learn their languages, watch their movies, read their books, magazines, and newspapers, listen to their music, and, whenever you can, engage their people in dialog where you spend at least as much time listening as you do talking.

  • As a businessperson, think hard about the possible adverse societal impacts of technology proposals such as DVD region encoding and other DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme before deciding to implement them in your products.

I think that was important in the past, when the USA, Japan, and Europe were the big three in international trade. With China and India increasingly exerting their economic might, I think that's exceptionally important for those of us in the USA.


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