Saturday, July 26, 2008

China's Great Leap Forward on the Internet

The Web goes Chinese, Part 2

China has been building a formidable presence on the World Wide Web for some time now, in just about every sense of the word. Now, we may be witnessing a tipping point being crossed: the IHT reported yesterday that China has overtaken the US as the country with the largest number of internet users.

And 253 million users is no mean number - it's more than the population of all but a handful of countries.

Maybe it's time for us to start learning Chinese.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Peripatetic Professional

Our notion of the professional career is set to change.

The vast majority of today's organizations rely primarily on fulltime employees to get their work done. However, there is a small fraction of professionals who work for organizations, but not as fulltime employees: they take on an assignment with specified deliverables for a company, complete that assignment, and move on to the next, usually with a different company.

Although people who work like like this are hardly unknown, we don't even have a name for someone who works in this mode. The closest names are probably 'consultant', 'contractor', or 'temp', but each of these words has many meanings and none of them really captures the essence of this type of professional.

Only a tiny fraction of professionals in any field today work in this manner. But they're the vanguard of a new brand of professionals who will emerge over the next few years, and who will change our notion of the professional career forever.

Why will this change happen? I've outlined the reasons, and painted my vision of how the professional career of the future will look, in this column.

We've come a long way from the notion of cradle-to-grave employment. Now, get ready to live purely from one assignment to the other.