Eradicating the Hierarchy

By Drucker, Vanessa | Global Finance, December 2012 | Go to article overview

Eradicating the Hierarchy


Drucker, Vanessa, Global Finance


In this month's Salon, Global Finance sits down with David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect As founder and CEO of Techonomy, he hosts conferences that illuminate the growing connection between technology, innovation, economic growth and social equity.

Global Finance: How does technology fit into your view of management and organizational structures?

David Kirkpatrick: Everyone needs to immene themselves and become a technologist.Those who don't embrace technological changes risk missing the bigger picture and losing their ability to predict the future. I always liked the concept of trying to flatten corporate structures. In the 1990s, I became excited about Groupware, which I believed could improve functions by flattening the organization [making complex organizational structures unnecessary]. Those early initiatives failed, because bureaucratic hierarchies - unhappy with the idea of reducing their power structure - could still prevail in halting the penetration of programs like Lotus Notes [the collaborative software platform]. Now we are moving to a world where everyone has a powerful, Internet-connected computer. It is imperative to think what the empowerment of individuals [on a global] scale will mean for systems of society.

GF; When did that philosophy become clear to you?

DK: Meeting Mark Zuckerberg in September 2006 was a transformative revelation for me. By that time, the social and macro implications of the Internet were becoming more obvious. I realized that Zuckerberg was trying to take the same set of ideals and the vision of flattening organizations that Groupware promised in the 1990s and extending it to everyone in society. But this time there would be no way the corporate hierarchies could stop this flow of technology, which has been further embraced by individuals with the growth of mobile access. Five or six billion people already have cellphones, and another one billion have smartphones. …

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