The first flattener, the collapse of the Berlin Wall on November 9th 1989, signified the end of communism and permitted us to view the world on a single flat plane. Only five months later, the first Windows breakthrough operating system was launched. The second flattener, Netscape, is the first commercial browser that connected the Internet with the World Wide Web and brought the Internet alive as a device people could use to connect with one another. Netscape triggered the dot-com bubble and installation of fiber optic cable that allowed people all over the globe to communicate virtually for free. The third flattener, work flow software, revolutionized the way applications are able to connect with many other applications, allowing people all over the world to work together on more projects than ever before. This created a global platform for multiple forms of collaboration. The fourth flattener, outsourcing, is the first new form of collaboration empowered by this global communication platform. Offshoring, open-sourcing, supply chaining, insourcing, and informing are flatteners four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine respectively. These new forms of collaboration are also empowered by global communication platforms. The last flattener, Friedman nicknames “The Steroids,” which is the wireless voice over the Internet and file sharing that turbocharges the new forms of collaboration.
Ten years have passed since the publishing of “The World is Flat,” leaving room for debate over what the eleventh flattener would be if Friedman extended his list to today. A convincing argument can be made for awarding smartphones the title of the “eleventh flattener.” Today, there are nearly two billion smartphone users throughout the world (Bleeker, 2014). Smartphones have made it possible to connect through social media, check e-mails, shop online, conduct Internet research, and perform countless tasks using over a million mobile applications from all over the world. The rise in popularity of Smartphones led to a sharp increase in global competition that continues to lower the price of technology today. As American’s we are most familiar with smartphones that retail for hundreds of dollars such as the $649 iPhone 6. Nearly 20% of the world’s population earns less than two dollars a day. Now, with smartphones retailing for $35 in developing countries, people can purchase a smartphone with three weeks pay as opposed to a full year’s pay (Kessler, 2014). This will have a huge impact on the global economy because smartphones