Shrinking the World Down One Community at a Time

On Monday, I will appear on an "Expert Hangout" in an authors' Facebook community. I will speak about legal and business terminology and concepts and how intellectual property affects authors. The interesting thing about this community is that it will be attended by plenty of people outside of the U.S. And I have already informed the community members that I am generally unfamiliar with laws outside of the U.S.

I am noticing my world is shrinking. I love being a part of online communities, some devoted to entrepreneurship, some devoted to college, some devoted to the Mets, some devoted to technology--these communities, though virtual, connect me to the farthest reaches of the globe. In one community, the founder of the group asked people to introduce themselves and where they are from. There was one fellow Long Islander there, but the rest were scattered to every part of the U.S., some in the Super Bowl fan bases of Atlanta and New England, but also: Zurich, Oslo, Venice,  Port Harcourt, Tauranga just to name a few cities in far-flung countries. Tauranga happens to be in New Zealand, which has recently suffered a massive earthquake, but is still considered a hot spot for tech in the future, because of its similarities to Northern California.

Speaking of New Zealand, in my authors group, Barry, a Kiwi (a nickname for New Zealanders) was really interested in my law practice. He hates lawyers. He has been sued three times, once by his lawyer. I was frankly surprised that someone on the other side of the earth (experiencing summer in the southern hemisphere, no less!) would be interested in what I have to say. But while laws are specific to towns, counties, cities, states, provinces, or countries, their origins often share common themes. And issues that matter to Americans seem to still matter outside the U.S. International corporations still want to avail themselves of whatever leverage they may be able to exert outside their countries of origin. For example, U.S. Copyright law may not apply in New Zealand, but if a Kiwi is using one of Getty Images's photographs without a license, you can be sure the Kiwi will receive an angry letter. On the trademark front, the "Madrid Protocol" opens trademark protection to much of the world. And trade partners recognize that intellectual property is a key driver of commerce the world over.

But this discussion doesn't get to the delightful aspect of the world's shrinking. Today, in one of my other communities, a woman named Heidi, from Whistler, B.C., shared her latest victory with her new friends from all over the world:

"With help, hard-ass hustle and many miracles, I have co-created - a business collective grounded in a creative work environment and event space in Whistler designed to bring together the business minds, freelancers, creatives, business owners, entrepreneurs and athletes of the enterprising ski town. So what is it exactly? It's kinda like working at your kitchen table or on your couch but in a clean, spacious environment with great food and the best brew coffee in town." 

We're all invited.