Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Vint Cerf (Google), both industry heavyweights, have likened the Internet to a tidal wave. That analogy certainly works well in pointing out the explosive opportunities. Another analogy may well illustrate an even more important aspect of the dynamics of Internet growth.
This is a phrase used by Ray Ozzie (Microsoft): grassroots activity. This concept has even received support from Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State in a letter she wrote to the European Union on the role of ICANN. ICANN is the non-profit US-based organization that governs the allocation of Internet domain names.
Grassroots might suggest some weak effort without obvious support. However when a lot of grassroots get together, it can be one of the most powerful and resilient agents of change. That’s the driving force behind the Grassroots Leadership movement. One fine proponent of that is the Grassroots Leadership organization run by Mike Abrashoff, who was the Commander of the USS Benfold. This ship was awarded the USS Arizona Battleship Memorial Trophy, reflecting superior performance in combat readiness and battle efficiency for the years 2003 and 2004.
One thing that grassroots leaders have is a keen sense of reality. When Shell Oil was embracing the grassroots leadership theme, they used the expression ‘the workers at the coalface’. The front line troops are not insulated by layers of staff from the realities of the market place. Which is a roundabout way of introducing the gentleman now appearing in the heading of this blog. He’s very much grassroots, down to earth you might say. Indeed although he is fictional, he is probably the best-known resident of my birthplace, Hartlepool, in England. For those who don’t know him already his name is Andy Capp. You can get more details by clicking on his image. He first appeared in a cartoon in the Daily Mirror in 1957 and he’s still going strong around the world. You can even find him in the Washington Post.