It’s uncertain to me whether our recent obsession with horizontality started with Thomas Friedman’s flat world. What is certain is that it is picking up steam. The theme of the Internet and mobile technology facilitating asymmetric competition, empowering the little guy, and dissolving traditional barriers is pervasive in business literature – see for example Nicco Mele’s “The End of Big” and Michael Saylor’s “The Mobile Wave”. New business models such as crowd-sourcing and complexity science inspired ant colony organizational models combine with the literature to reinforce the horizontality orthodoxy.
Yet even as technology is dissolving the barriers that had prevented a “flat world”, the invisible hierarchy of human purpose and meaning remains as if not more valid than ever before.