Mexico City, DF - I am sitting at a lovely Starbucks in Mexico City, specifically in the Lomas District which is near many of the foreign embassies here. Mexico City is a surprising and spectacular city, truly one of the great capitals of the world. We are lucky enough to be the houseguests of a diplomat from Brazil who is a friend of a friend, so have had the opportunity not only to tour Mexico City as guests of a 'local' resident, but also to understand Mexico City from the eyes of someone as foreign to this place as we are.
I am on deadline today for EDA Weekly. By midnight tonight, Mexico City time, I must submit an article that will be published next Sunday night at midnight, California time, on EDAToolsCafe. My article, which I will complete in tandem with my extra-hot, non-fat, vente white mocha here in this sunny patio in Mexico City, will be sent tonight to an IBSystems employee in India. It will be Thursday daytime for him. He is an assistant web master for the company, who reports to the EDAToolsCafe web master who lives and works in Silicon Valley.
I am typing this article on my brand-new HP Pavilion laptop. It was manufactured in China, but designed in a host of other locales. I'm guessing partly in the U.S., partly in India, and perhaps a bit in Eastern Europe - I'm not really sure. Of course, the operating system is Vista - somewhat unstable in these early stages of its product life, but functional nonetheless. Hence, the operating system on my laptop was conceived in Redmond, although the coding undoubtedly occurred across a range of other geographies. The “gadgets” I have set up on my desktop include weather updates for Boston, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and Guatemala City. Ni importa why I have chosen these places. The point is, I am enjoying instant updates on local weather conditions in a host of places that house the people of importance in my life.
Yesterday, I drove through the newest commercial/corporate district here in Mexico City. It's in the northwest of the city and is called Santa Fe. There I saw dozens - and I mean dozens! - of 30-story, gleaming, steel and glass skyscrapers which have all come online in the last decade or so, and appear to house regional headquarters for Nokia, HSBC, FedEx, and so on. They say the occupancy in this mystical city of Santa Fe is not what it should be, nor the transportation system. Perhaps the place is channeling Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, enroute to Santa Fe, we passed one particularly luminescent complex emblazoned with the Hewlett Packard logo. Clearly, HP has a major presence here in Mexico City along with most other major internationals.
Which brings me to one point of this eclectic essay.
Twice in the last two years I have cringed deeply at some of the questions lobbed at panelists at the BigWig/Troublemaker panel at DVCon. One was a withering and belittling question addressed to Jasper Design CEO Kathryn Kranen in 2006 (and I paraphrase) - “Jasper R&D in Brazil? Yeah, right. Like there are any EDA developers in Brazil!”
The other question was equally withering and belittling, and was addressed to Sequence CEO Vic Kulkarni at the DVCon panel in 2007: “Vic, why do you hate America? Why do you want to outsource everything?”
Ay, qué cosa, hombre! Could we look more stupid, more provincial, more America-centric with such idiotic questions? The world is evolving, it's on the move, and it will leave those populations in North America in the dust who do not recognize the changes. Work and play is going on all over the world!
All over the world!
In metropolitan centers like Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Delhi, and Shanghai, the populations are not waiting for the green light from North America to contribute to, and enjoy, the fruits of globalization. They are not waiting for the mocking, disrespectful attitudes of certain populations in North America to subside.
The peoples in these dynamic, hyperactive economies are producing and consuming products designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold within a truly worldwide electronics industry - and in volumes that defy the imagination. They are living their lives on cell phones, on the Internet, speaking multiple tongues, wearing fashions from around the globe, and exploring ways of life and (my phrase) philosophies of fusion that we are barely able to grasp. It's all so new, so quick, so changing, and so altering to our worldview. Neither my parents' parents, nor my parents, could ever have conceived of such a thing. And even my own generation, in our youth, could never have predicted the pace of this race to the future.
Having said all of this - I am sure to receive feedback from the somber realists among you who say these changes I dramatize here are superficial, or only apply to those at the top of the socio-economic ladder across various geographies, or are bad for local economies, disastrous for regional cultures, deadly for distinctive languages, habits of dress, and traditional mores, or are highly destructive to the environment. And yes, you realists are possibly right - in part. Change for the sake of change or universal knowledge for the sake of universal knowledge is not enough.
But I will also argue that change cannot be stopped, that history does not always take the correct or optimum path. Bad, destructive, disastrous, or deadly are not adjectives that have necessarily been enough to prevent change. And sometimes those adjectives are in the eyes of the beholder only, beholders who are shielded from the larger realities, including the profound advantages and/or harsh realities of change.
Consider this - I'm now halfway through my white mocha, which tastes exactly like the one I can buy in Silicon Valley. People around me are chattering away on their cell phones in Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Japanese, and Korean. They are pounding away on their laptops, sending and receiving messages, making arrangements to meet for coffee, closing business deals, and working to establish or expand on treaties and agreements between governments.
In so doing, they are not only using the tools delivered to them by the brains and brawn of the electronics industry to facilitate it all, they are also inadvertently using these tools to create a totally new uber-culture, a new language, a new moré, and a new method of interacting that is quite possibly larger than the sum of its parts. The world is being drawn together at warp speed and simultaneously being jettisoned into a fantastical cyberspace that dazzles and seduces the young, and exhausts and dismays the not-so-young.
Do I think it's happening too fast? What I think doesn't matter. Do I think it's destroying my own personal way of life? It doesn't matter. Do I think it's upending various careers and national opportunities for the land of my birth, the land of my ancestors? It doesn't matter what I think. History does not care what I think. Change will happen because that is the human condition. Nether mocking questions nor insulting jibes will prevent it, because the only thing that is a given in this world of change is change.
Which brings us to the global village.
Before Mexico, we were in Guatemala. We arrived in the capital, Guatemala City, on the morning of Saturday, March 10th. Prior to our trip, we did not know that President Bush was scheduled to arrive in Guatemala on Sunday evening, March 11th. Perhaps he heard that we would be there, and decided Guatemala is a happening place. More likely, his people felt it was important to include Guatemala in the president's list of destinations as he made his 10-day lap around Latin America.
In any case, we were lucky to arrive when we did on Saturday morning, because had we planned to arrive later that day, even though it was the day before Bush's arrival, we would not have been able to land. The entire airport was shut for more than 2 days in and around his visit.