The Time issue has not hit the stands but the announcement itself is a part of what Jag Sheth and Raj Sisodia call The Tectonic Shift and Tom Friedman calls The World is Flat. The unprecedented collaboration between individuals and the enormous outpouring of volunteerism is all made possible by the web. For example just six years ago e-commerce classrooms would reverberate with examples of how the free Grolier encyclopedia disk had overtaken Britannica. Who would have thought that Wikipedia would overtake all regular encyclopedias with very reliable content? In fact, a prominent advertising executive mentioned recently that yellow pages are now extinct as people typically search Yahoo or Google first. Next folks check out forums and discussion groups for any feedback which is again pretty reliable.
All this means really changing times for supply chains. Folks like Dell in computers who have a finger on the customer pulse – directly will continue to do well. Others in the computer industry must figure out what part of this commodity business value chain they want to be in. With direct involvement of consumers in auto design things are changing pretty fundamentally. Imagine having direct access to consumer opinion and feedback 24X7X365 – is your organization and its supply chain ready to deliver ?