A Flat World Ride

Like riding a bike in the forest, I found myself a bit lost, despite so many beams of light and opportunity.

Thomas L. Friedman published The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century in 2005, and captured the imagination of many Americans. The idea of a global trust, based on peer-to-peer transactional networking and cross-boundary collaboration remains an exciting Futurist’s dream, a realization of John Lennon’s Imagine. This trust actually happens here at FWT.

As an early adopter of e-commerce on the web, Friedman’s iconic book rang in my ears. While I had built pioneering web stores and Internet-based financial technology, I found the world of visual solutions and early days of user experience design quite intimidating. Like riding a bike in the forest, I was a bit lost, despite so many beams of light and opportunity. FWT had hardware, software, engineering, Internet communications and security resources resolved, but what I needed was an artist, a muse and a wordsmith. Thanks to Thomas Friedman, I discovered Karl Mooney.

Karl and I have built many websites, for clients in retail markets, financial and corporate sectors, non-profit, human services, academic and entertainment industries. Through it all, Karl has deployed his magic of listening to clients, and responding with incredibly successful designs and UEX solutions. We interact on a daily basis, moving large volumes of work through our company.

I have never met Karl, in person, that is. We are collaborators, like Friedman predicted. Karl spans two worlds, Brazil and Ireland; I run my company from Philadelphia in the USA. We stumbled across each other on a website called e-lance.com, over 10 years ago, where international talent of all kinds are accessed in an open and secure human resource marketplace. One thing led to another, and after about 100 websites and Internet projects, he and I head an extraordinary technology company. I am particularly grateful to Friedman who introduced me to e-lance-type portals.

So Karl and I live on Skype; we work hard together, and share family and friends as well as clients, through the miracle of the net. Astonishingly, I found this guy among the billions of Internet endpoints in our virtual world. I got a chance to make a real connection to a bright star that I would never have found without a flat ride to new places.

I had a great boss many years ago who said to me, “You need to know and trust these three people in your life: a banker, a mechanic and a doctor.” I needed a fourth, a gifted artist and translator. If you don’t have one, find one!