This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Hidden in the Andersen Website....
If you visit Andersen's website, you'll find a "hidden link". This is no joke. Just go to andersen.com or arthurandersen.com (both take you to the same one-page content), you won't see much.
But if you "select all" (i.e., CTRL-A), you'll see everything highlighted. And just above the "All rights reserved" in the lower right, you'll see a small letter "q" that's a link. The text is in the same color as the background, so you don't see it unless you select it or happen to run your mouse right over it.
Click on it and it takes you to a familiar place for anyone who has ever been part of the Andersen family (yes, even the Accenture folks know what I'm talking about).
Consider "The Blog Novel". Use of the blog medium to tell a narrative in real-time. Think Fox's "24" plus interactive fiction plus the web-community fuel of "Blair Witch". You can even weave real-time real-life events into the novel. The main character (or characters, each with a 1st person point-of-view?) reacts and writes based on actual events, with links to real news and events.
Think of the potential. Readers become authors as they follow and comment on the postings. Think a new level of the digital Soap Opera. Think of links to fabricated and real sites to enhance the story. Perhaps it's not even clear that it's fiction. The anonymity and apocryphal nature of the web would allow such blurring of fact & fiction.
The term "interactive fiction" comes to mind. I think the term got popular with Infocom's series of games in the early Apple-II days (Zork series, mysteries, and other text-based games with complex puzzles and narratives). There was also a notable attempt by Electronic Arts called "Majestic" that users "played" through the use of real-life real-time interactions through their emails, cell-phones, and fax machines. The players interacted (mostly through the Web) to solve mini-puzzles. The storyline was incredible self-referencing. You signed up with this "game" but something happens and the game gets "bugged" by a mystery entity because it has the potential of exposing a real-life conspiracy. To make things even stranger, the storyline had 9/11 elements -- before 9/11. They officially "closed" the game after 9/11 and officially declared they would stop since it was becoming "too real".
There was a time, not too long ago, where every corporate executive had to address the "Internet Question". What was the company's Internet Strategy? Much ahead of the curve (ca 1995), one of my business school colleagues asked a visiting exec from Coca Cola about the Internet Question. I don't recall a very strong response--the use of the WWW as a corporate medium was still very early, and no one really had any idea what the answer was supposed to be.
I think a similar question confronts companies today: What is your China Strategy? Many comapanies already have a well-developed strategy, mostly companies that have been doing business for ears in the PRC. It's the companies who may incorrectly believe that they are NOt affected by China taht will be caught off guard in the not-so-distant-future.
You may not sell to China, and China may be far removed from any of your activities. Or are they? A quarter of the world's population increasing their living standards at multiple times that of the US will have (and has already had) an impact on the supply (and prices) of energy. It's no longer just call centers and hi-tech manufacturing that finds a nice home in the well-educated populace of the PRC. Many bio-tech companies are looking at outcourcing their R&D efforts in places like China. Surprise yourself by looking for pictures of Shanghai on the Internet.
I am behind the curve if my claim is that China's role in the global economy is something not to be ignored. My claim is that many companies will find themselves underprepared for the "China Question" from a lack of understanding of HOW China will affect them.