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Lunch » Tags » Untagged » The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David the New Goliath » User review

Our world is changing at breakneck speed!

  • Jun 9, 2013
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+4
"Every day I find more and more evidence that we are in the twilight of our own age, and that we can't quite grasp it, even if we sense something is terribly amiss. This transformation transcends any one realm of life--it's all encompassing, even if, as we've seen, it proceeds unevenly and paradoxically. Our twentieth century institutions, which seem as foundational or ahistorical as hereditary monarchy, are on the cusp of collapse--or, if not outright collapse, of irrelevancy and anachronism." - page 250

It is all too much for many of us. Just about everywhere you look and in virtually every phase of our lives things are changing at a dizzying pace. Depending on your point of view some of the changes are welcome while others arouse a certain amount of fear and suspicion. Nicco Mele is the founder of EchoDitto, a leading internet strategy company that assists a wide variety of organizations including nonprofits and some of the leading Fortune 500 companies. Mele deals with these issues on a daily basis and has synthesized his diverse experiences and observations into an exciting new book he has dubbed "The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath". Suffice to say that you will find an awful lot to chew on in this book.

For the purposes of this book Nicco Mele focuses on big news organizations, the two major political parties, big entertainment, big government, the military, the higher education establishment and of course really big business. The declining influence of many of these institutions over just the past ten years has been nothing short of breathtaking! Radical connectivity has opened up vast new possibilities in the areas of commerce, civic engagement, higher education and research. As an example Mele points to a Web start-up called InnoCentive that works with companies and non-profits to create contests for solving significant scientific and engineering challenges. What a great idea! Likewise, we learn that the internet encourages those from different disciplines to collaborate on solving all kinds of complex problems in every field you can think of. As Mele points out "having a wide range of expertise allows for intellectual cross-pollination that leads to solutions." The possibilities in this area appear to be limitless. You can expect to see some of the most radical innovations in the area of higher education. For those who pay attention to these things it is quite apparent that "disruptive" forces have been set in motion that will transform the way that higher education is delivered in this country. Mele states the obvious: "Cramming a thousand students into a lecture hall twice a week to receive the distilled knowledge of a tenured professor hardly makes any sense when these lectures can be recorded and distributed digitally. The ability to publish anything at any time to any audience at virtually no cost has led to an explosion of educational and research-based resources online, radically democratizing the creation, consumption, and disemination of knowledge." Going forward, traditional colleges will be competing with for-profit colleges, professional organizations, online educational providers, companies and even community groups for students. Meanwhile, the emergence of 3-D printers has the potential to shift the balance of power away from big business to smaller, locally-owned concerns. In so many areas technology will transform our nation and our world in ways that we cannot yet even imagine.

Overall, I really did enjoy "The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath". Nicco Mele has an awful lot of important information to offer in this book. Having said that I could have done without much of the political commentary. Mele is an unabashed liberal and frankly I found a few of his opinions to be a bit much. Yet I must confess that most of the recommendations he offers in the final chapter of the book about how to cope with all of this made perfect sense to me. "The End of Big" is a thought-provoking and well-written book that should appeal to a wide variety of readers. This is defintely time well spent. Highly recommended!

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June 11, 2013
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Wiki

How seemingly innocuous technologies are unsettling the balance of power by putting it in the hands of the masses - and what a world without "big" will mean for all of us.

 

In The End of Big, social media pioneer, political and business strategist, and Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicco Mele offers a fascinating, sometimes frightening look at how our ability to stay connected - constantly, instantly, and globally - is dramatically changing our world.

 

Governments are being upended by individuals relying only on social media. Major political parties are seeing their power eroded by grassroots forces through online fund-raising. Universities are scrambling to preserve their student populations in the face of less expensive, more accessible online courses. Print and broadcast news outlets are struggling to compete with citizen journalists and bloggers. Our traditional institutions are being disrupted in revolutionary ways, some for the better. But, as Nicco Mele argues, the benefits of new technology come with unintended consequences. In The End of Big, Mele examines:

 

    • How fringe political forces enter the mainstream and gain traction using everyday technology - with the enormous potential to undermine central power 
    • What happens when investigative journalism is replaced by ad hoc bloggers, mobile video, and instantaneous tweets…and whether they challenge or simply enable power 
    • Why Web-based micro-businesses are outcompeting...
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