Tom Friedman: Five Ways to Thrive in Hyperconnected World

Tom Friedman: Five Ways to Thrive in Hyperconnected World

Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Tom Friedman assembled some of his favorite columnists, colleagues and CEOs last Thursday in San Francisco at the New York Times Global Forum to share their wit and wisdom about the brave new world of hyperconnectivity.

Friedman had five pieces of advice. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

1. Think Like a New Immigrant

Friedman advises us to “Lean In” to this world of hyperconnectivity. (Yes, he’s also in awe of the multi-talented Sheryl Sandberg.) Specifically, Friedman urges us to be “paranoid optimists,” i.e. pursue opportunities more energetically, persistently and creatively than anybody else; and act with the YOLO attitude of a new immigrant while remembering that anything new can be taken away in a flash.

2. Think Like An Artisan

Friedman was obviously inspired by Steve Jobs biography here. He says: do your work every day with so much pride and extra effort that you want to carve your initials into it.

3. Always Be In Beta

In your mind, always think of yourself as a work in progress: iterate, polish, iterate. Think of FINISHED as a four letter word. Friedman thanks LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, for this Silicon Valley pearl of wisdom.

4. It’s A 401K World

It’s a world of free opportunity with defined contributions, but not defined benefits. The divide is no longer just digital; but motivational. Get motivated!

5. Think Like A Waitress

Not just any waitress, specifically the waitress at Perkins Pancake House in Minneapolis (Friedman’s hometown). On a recent visit, the waitress demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit by bringing Friedman and his colleague extra fruit. As Friedman explains, “She didn’t control much, but she could control the fruit ladle. That was her source of ‘extra'”

Result: She earned a 50% tip. Moral of the story: try to become Friedman’s waitress on his globe trotting travels, and don’t forget those extra ladlefuls.

But seriously since that’s probably not feasible, try to emulate that savvy waitress: Be relentlessly entrepreneurial, change whatever you have control over, and find that new business or opportunity.

Friedman finished his speech with advice for President Obama:

1. In this new world of hyperconnectivity, there will be a growing number of “have-nots,” so safety nets will have to be reinforced and extended.

2. Get yourself a decent narrative to inspire the country, like President Kennedy did in the 60’s with space exploration. e.g. Make America the platform where everyone in the world will come to launch their own moonshot.

Check back soon for an exclusive Fresh Dialogues interview with California’s Leuitenant Governor Gavin Newsom who shares his passion for action on climate change and why he wants to be governor one day.

This event took place at City View, Metreon in San Francisco, June 20, 2013.

See an exclusive (and amusing) Fresh Dialogues interview with Tom Friedman from the archives: Tom Friedman explains his China Envy

How to Predict the Future: A Tom Friedman Lesson Plan

How to Predict the Future: A Tom Friedman Lesson Plan

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Today, we’re presenting the second in our new Lesson Plan Series based on Fresh Dialogues interviews. The series is compiled by Lisa Lubliner, our new Fresh Dialogues Education Expert.



Lesson Plan: How to Predict the Future

In 2010, New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman, made some bold predictions in a Fresh Dialogues interview. He predicted that the demand for Clean Energy (solar, wind, biofuels) was going to explode and that if the US government doesn’t invest sufficiently in Clean Energy research, China is going to dominate the Energy Technology industry.

What do you suppose our standard of living will be like if we don’t dominate the ET industry?” he said. “If the next great solar company is Chinese? If the next great wind companies are Danish? If the next great battery companies are all Japanese?” Read the transcript here.

News analysts, politicians, historians, and scientists all use current information to predict the future and make decisions for acting.  Using historical documents, this lesson encourages students to consider:  Why do we make predictions about the future? Do predictions help us? If so, how? On what do we base the predictions that we make?

What did historical figures imagine our lives would look like today? How can we make informed predictions about the future? In this lesson, students consider and discuss predictions about life in 2011 that were written in 1931 by prominent thinkers of the day, and then draw on New York Times articles to develop their own predictions about the future.

This lesson is ideal for Grades 9-12 and is correlated to McREL’s national standards (it can also be aligned to the new Common Core State Standards)

More at New York Times Education Blog

Check out the WONDERFUL files that contain historical documents and other extension activities for teachers to download.

Looking for more Fresh Dialogues based lesson plans?

Check out Carbon Tax and Carbon Capture – Paul Krugman

And our Education Tab

For more videos, check out our Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel

Tom Friedman: The Clean Tech Race

Tom Friedman: The Clean Tech Race

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

This week, a report by the Pew Charitable Trust was released, underlining how much the United States is trailing in the clean tech race. Phyllis Cuttino, Pew’s Program Director wrote a succinct piece in the Huffington Post pointing to the fact that the United States fell far behind China in clean energy finance and investment in 2009. China’s total was over $30 billion compared to the U.S. clean energy investment of approximately $17 billion. In light of the BP oil spill and the continuing saga of disaster, both environmental and economic, she reaches a strong conclusion:

“Safe and reliable clean energy can be harnessed to create new jobslessen our dependence on foreign energy sources and reduce global warming pollution. That is, if leaders in Washington can look past current partisan differences and work together to create an economic environment for tomorrow, in which our nation’s can-do spirit can again thrive.”

An excellent time to revisit the advice of one of the most vocal advocates for a new energy policy: Author and New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman who spoke with Fresh Dialogues on the subject of energy policy and DC last year.

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview


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Here’s a link to the VIDEO (Tom Friedman on China Envy)

Also see Tom Friedman on Copenhagen Video “This is a problem that will be solved by innovators, not regulators.”

From the archives: I caught up with Pulitzer Prize winner, Tom Friedman, at the Foothill College Celebrity Forum lecture series, where he delivered a spirited argument for why the United States must embrace a green economy. In this second part of our interview, we explore his part in driving the green agenda. Last January, he took part in a congressional hearing on green tech and economic recovery, sponsored by US Senator, Barbara Boxer. We discuss his role in that; and how he deals with critics.

Click here for part one of the interview about his book, Hot Flat, and Crowded.

On Friedman’s role in driving the green agenda

“I use my platform as a journalist to drive this agenda that I see as important… I see a lot of things that are very exciting happening – exploding really – on a kind of small scale, but they haven’t yet reached critical mass and when you’re talking about changing the climate, you are talking about critical mass. It hasn’t yet been translated into policy at scale.”

On his action at the Congressional level in January

“It was an informal hearing, sponsored by Barbara Boxer, on climate and energy. John (Doerr) and I were the two main expert witnesses…No one intervention like that is going to be decisive, it takes many more…most of all from the President.”

On dealing with critics

“I think there’s a big audience for what I say and I don’t really pay attention to the critics. I keep on marching on. I hear it and it’s fine. And it’s a free country. You can say whatever you want.  But I’ve got my own bully pulpit and I use it. I don’t use it to shout back at critics; I use it to get my message out.  I’m looking forward. You know, the dogs bark and the caravan moves on. I’m in the caravan. My feeling is, I’m out there. And therefore, if you can’t take the heat, don’t be out there… Why would I waste a column writing about one of my critics? So what I always say to the critics is: ‘you may be writing about me, I really appreciate that, but don’t think for a second that I’d waste a column writing about you.’ ”

What drives Tom Friedman?

“I’m having fun. I have the best job in the world. I get to be a tourist with an attitude…go wherever I want, write whatever I want…and they pay me for that. I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I still enjoy getting up every morning, hitching up my trousers and getting out there…opening up my laptop and taking on the world.”

The interview was recorded at the Flint Center in Cupertino on September 10, 2009

For Part One of the interview, click here

For Part One transcript, click here

For Part Two transcript, click here

Maureen Dowd: Talks Green

Maureen Dowd: Talks Green

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

This week, we take a look at the Fresh Dialogues archives. Last April, I met with the enchanting Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Maureen Dowd. We had an animated conversation during a green-themed morning in downtown San Jose. Over cups of delicious mint tea, we discussed Maureen’s Irish heritage and how that inspires her fiery prose. We also discussed her belief in America’s green future.

In this excerpt, we discuss fellow New York Times Columnist, Tom Friedman (whom she describes as “her office husband”) and his new book, Hot, Flat & Crowded.

“I try to get advice from Tom Friedman who is Mr. Solar around our office. He’s done a new book which is very involved with energy and his whole house is solar designed… I ask him and he’s trying to coach me in how to be more environmentally correct.”


Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview


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“This was the first campaign I’ve ever covered where I’d go and watch Hillary and Obama in the primary and they were both competing to come up with a plan for green jobs and for me it’s very exciting because for the eight years that Bush and Cheney were in it felt like we were going backwards in every way. You know we weren’t coming into the 21st Century and we were kinda like the Flintstones – we were just not moving forward. So I love all that.”


To read the TRANSCRIPT of the full interview click here

To see many other exclusive videos at the FRESH DIALOGUES CHANNEL  click here

For a full archive of interviews with Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman, Martin Sheen and many other celebrities click here

Tom Friedman: China Envy Video

Tom Friedman: China Envy Video

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

I sat down with Pulitzer Prize winner, Tom Friedman, just before he delivered a lecture to an expectant Foothill College Celebrity Forum audience at the Flint Center in Silicon Valley.  We discussed his bestselling book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded and why he thinks the U.S. government MUST jump-start the green economy. According to Tom, creating the right ecosystem is key: funding research, setting price signals and creating incentives to encourage green innovation. Tom admitted to some China envy in that regard. (see below or check out the transcript) He also has some thoughtful words on the Van Jones resignation and dealing with loud critics. Are you listening Van Jones?

In this video excerpt, Tom explains his China envy and why he said “Am I a bad guy for wanting to be China for a day?”

I asked him, in light of Van Jones’s resignation (and the climate of such criticism), does he consider himself a bad guy?

Tom has some strong words for his critics….people like Glenn Beck et al:  “If you’re criticizing me, God Bless you…I’m not above criticism. My focus is on my ideas with my audience…You may be writing about me, but don’t think for a second I’m going to waste a column on you!”

Download or listen to this lively Fresh Dialogues interview


We welcome feedback at, click on the Contact Tab

For more interviews with Paul Krugman, Martin Sheen, Charlie Rose, Vinod Khosla et al, click here