I have a voice. I have opinions. I have experiences.
50 years ago, if I wanted to share my voice, I would have had a very small reach: the people I work with, friends and family.
At best, I would have had the opportunity to write a column in a weekly newspaper, lost in a sea of far more "important" news and opinions in the grand scheme of how relevant it was to the general public.
The world was as tall as it was round: a ladder with rungs guarded by the gate keepers of fame, fortune, change and most importantly, innovation.
If I wanted to be a star, I'd have to move to Hollywood and hope that one of those gate keepers noticed and accepted that I was bound for stardom. If I wanted to find a job, I'd be limited to opportunities in my town or city. If I wanted to start a mentorship with one of my heroes, I'd have no idea where to start short of sending a letter to their address listed in the phone book. How would I start a revolution? I'm not even going to shoot in the dark on this one.
It was a world of I, and at best a very small "we".
That world has changed. The internet changed everything. Today, the world is flat.
Today, I can share an idea worthy of being shared and it can go viral. Viral. 50 years ago, masses of people would have cowered in fear at that word. Today we crave it.
Just think about the implications of how different our world is without gate keepers, boundaries or rungs:
You have thoughts and ideas? You're an expert at fitness and want to share your knowledge? You want to build a platform? Video services like YouTube and Vimeo give you the opportunity to impact millions of people, in a scalable way: simply upload a video that persists for anyone at any time to share with any number of other people.
You want to keep up with thoughts from leaders of your industry? Interact with CEOs? Have a shot at a mentorship, internship or find a job? Distributed social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn not only enable you to pursue those desires, they enable you to do so from the comfort of your own home, worlds away from those you're interacting with.
Has your life goal been to write a novel that others will read? Or maybe you want to share political opinions? Do you want to become a thought leader? Free blogging platforms like WordPress, Ghost and Tumblr remove all the barriers to published writing so that within minutes of signing up, you can create content for the world to see.
Do you have an idea of a product that could change the way humans interact with their homes? A game you believe could increase a child's ability to learn to read more quickly and efficiently? A new clothing item that makes runners and cyclists more visible to motorists? If it's an idea worth investing in, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo not only make it possible for you to validate your idea, but to have it financially backed by anyone who has money.
Why is it so important that the world we live in is flat? At this point it should be obvious: Your voice, ideas, experiences and opinion all matter and in a flat world, they can have world-wide, scalable impact.
No other civilization in our world's written history has experienced the flatness that we experience today. A flat world presents limitless potential in the innovation and wonder we can achieve.
What do you think? Do we live in a world that has been flattened, that anyone can become anything by sheer force of will and determination? I'm interested to hear your thoughts!