Thursday, December 1, 2011

@Developers Worldwide: Give Us the Global-Virtual Option

The New Virtual Organization World
It's a New Principled World, It's Virtual, and It's Organized

How many times have you gone online to post an item,  event,  or a classified ad for a career opportunity and  found yourself becoming very frustrated at filling out the Location section of a form that not only doesn't meet your needs but also  does not reflect  the realities of life in today's global-virtual environment.   

It seems that most software developers, programmers,  GUI designers, human interface designers, web designers,  and web developers worldwide are still stuck in a time warp - the brick and mortar mindset - and remain focused on providing a Global-Local option to their clients.   They just can't seem to shake off the archaic marketing mentality of targeting,  only or primarily to, local audiences - what I refer to as a Global-Local mentality.

Posting an Item or Service For Sale Example

For example, let's you say you have for sale a high-demand item or service which can be sold to anyone anywhere in the world.    However, once you go online to place an ad for that item on the classifieds section of an advertising network,  the program for the online classifieds site will immediately try to pigeonhole your ad and assign it to a LOCAL section or region based on the information that you provide in the  Location section of the form used to fill-in your information.     I have personally gone to a huge number of  popular sites to post an item, which I am more than willing to pay for, but have walked away in disgust because I know it would be a waste of my advertising dollars to post an ad on a site that is primarily geared toward  targeting  LOCAL audiences.       

Posting an Event Example

Let's say you have an event which can be attended by anyone anywhere via a web-media-teleconference.     However, once you go online to place your ad, you encounter the same darned thing.  The advertising network begins to target your ad to individuals based on the advertiser's location.     It's as if almost every single programmer or designer out there is clueless about the global nature of the internet and its possibilities, which we know is not true.     But how do we explain this total disregard for life as it exists in today's global-virtual world?      This just doesn't make any sense at all. 

Posting a Career Opportunity Example

Let's say you have a position that can be performed by any qualified person  anywhere in the world.   However, once you go online to place your ad, you are faced with a whole range of options which have absolutely nothing to do with your actual needs.     For example, we are not concerned about the candidate's distance from our mailing address,  relocation and related costs,  visa sponsorship, citizenship status,  immigration status,  9-5 working hours, etc.    Our primary concern is the candidate's qualifications and whether or not they have the tools needed to perform in a 100% virtual organization environment.     At the end of the day, most of the candidates responding to your ad turn out to be local candidates,  and  the career advertising  network winds up excluding a vast array of superb talent and highly qualified candidates -  who could be currently unemployed - not only here in the US but also anywhere else in the world.      Shame, shame, shame!     

Solution:  "Targeting Location" Section with a "Global-Virtual" Option

In today's day and age, the Location section of a form should only be used to obtain "contact information" on the person or organization filling out the form instead of "geo-location targeting" information and, therefore,  such contact information must be incorporated into the Contact Information section.     

To accommodate the diverse needs of a global-virtual audience,  there should be an additional section titled Targeting Location,  and which automatically provides to you, the advertiser,  a Global-Virtual default option as the first line item.    The next line item option should be Current  Geographic Area for advertisers who only want  to target their LOCAL audience.  The third line item option should be the standard selection from the list of countries, with the possibility of being  able to drill down to a State , City, or Zip/Postal Code level.    Consequently, when a site visitor lands on the advertising site or network, they will have these options  immediately available to them without stressing out and having to go on a frustrating search for the holy grail. 

Benefits of Global-Virtual Option

For the advertising network, the number one benefit of providing the Global-Virtual option is an increase in advertising revenues due to becoming an all-inclusive  network.     It is now able to attract and generate revenues from both Global-Local and Global-Virtual advertisers and visitors. 

For the advertiser,  the number one benefit is an exponential increase in footprint around the globe and a corresponding increase in economic efficiency, marketing reach, and revenues from satisfied clients. 

For the global economy as a whole,  it is the equivalent of introducing the railroad and steam engine  in very remote parts in the world in order to give them access to civilization and a bright and prosperous future.

In Conclusion

The bottom line:   It's time for all developers to start thinking out of the box and take the lead with respect to providing the Global-Virtual Option insight to  their clients when they approach them for a solution to their global information technology infrastructure and e-commerce needs.    They need to take a lesson from history:  Hotmail, Facebook, Google,  Skype, eBay, and Apple, etc. became successful because they were immediately available and accessible to everyone around the globe  regardless of their actual physical location, therefore, keep the Global-Virtual option alive and front and center when presenting all stakeholders with a series of options.


About Author:   Pierre Coupet, CEO & Q of Virtual Organization Management is the founder of Virtual Organization Management Institute (VOMI), VOMI Virtual Organization Academy, and Virtual Organization Recruiter:: founder of the modern virtual organization management and virtual organization recruitment disciplines pioneered since 1997:: founder of League of Extraordinary Virtual Organization Executives:: and Architect of THE NEW VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION WORLD Collection. Contact directly at; or via CHAT.

Stock Photo: courtesy of Pixabay

Copyright 2007-2016.  Pierre Coupet.  VOMI. Virtual Organization Management Institute. VOMI Virtual Organization Academy.  Virtual Organization Recruiter.  All rights reserved.  Cannot be reproduced without permission.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comprehensive Listing of VOMI Global Think Tank and Advisory Board Opportunities

The New Virtual Organization World
It's a New Principled World, It's Virtual, and It's Organized

We are pleased to announce the publication of a comprehensive listing of all VOMI Global Think Tank and Advisory Board opportunities.     

About VOMI Global  Think Tank and Advisory Board:  The VOMI Global Think Tank & Advisory Board serves as a think tank and advisory committee to the Office of the Chairman of VOMI on matters pertaining to local, regional, and international issues, events and opportunities. As advisors to the Office of the Chairman, its members provide the sort of global insight and diversity necessary to promote and achieve the mission of VOMI.       

Postscript:    Deprecated information - displayed for archival purposes only


About Author:   Pierre Coupet, CEO & Q of Virtual Organization Management is the founder of Virtual Organization Management Institute (VOMI), VOMI Virtual Organization Academy, and Virtual Organization Recruiter:: founder of the modern virtual organization management and virtual organization recruitment disciplines pioneered since 1997:: founder of League of Extraordinary Virtual Organization Executives:: and Architect of THE NEW VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION WORLD Collection. Contact directly at; or via CHAT.

Stock Photo: courtesy of Pixabay

Copyright 2007-2016.  Pierre Coupet.  VOMI. Virtual Organization Management Institute. VOMI Virtual Organization Academy.  Virtual Organization Recruiter.  All rights reserved.  Cannot be reproduced without permission.   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Second American Revolution: WE, THE PEOPLE, Must Wrest Control of Our Economic Destiny

The New Virtual Organization World
It's a New Principled World, It's Virtual, and It's Organized

Second American Revolution:  WE, THE PEOPLE, Must Wrest Control of Our Economic Destiny         by Pierre Coupet

We've all heard of the Arab Spring, a time when people throughout North Africa and the Middle East,  who have been cowered and living in fear all their lives under tyrannical regimes and previously felt helpless to do anything about it,   decided to take control of their own destiny and rose up en masse against these petty and cruel dictators in order to gain their freedom.    They finally reached a turning point whereby they understood that the struggle for-and hope of-freedom required a change of attitude and action from the  bottom instead of waiting for some benevolent dictator or corrupt or well-meaning politicians at the top to free them from the yoke of oppression.  

Sadly, WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,  have reached a similar point in our "economic" history whereby we've been cowered and living in "economic" fear on a daily basis under a socio-politico-economic system which makes us feel impotent and helpless to do anything about our economic destiny.     We've been made to feel that our economic destiny rests in the hands of:  Corporate America sitting on trillions of dollars of cash deposits;  Wall Street, Standard & Poor's and other credit rating agencies, and economic gurus;  our ability to increase the country's debt ceiling so we can continue to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into debt - and forever be beholden to China, Russia, Japan, and the other countries financing our debts;  OPEC; the heads of the Federal Reserve and our banks and other financial institutions who frankly aren't sure themselves about what to do for the economy;  the United States Congress and its bickering politicians putting party, ideology and self-interest ahead of country; a Tea Party or some other party; and, last but not least, a savior President  or presidential candidate who will come to us like a knight in shining armor on a white horse in order to rescue us from this economic abyss.

Enough is enough.    It is time to stop this masquerade.   The power to rescue the American economy does not come from the top.   It does not rest in the hands of Corporate America and politicians of any stripe, persuasion, ideology, or party; and nor does it rest in the hands of Wall Street, OPEC, credit rating agencies, our financial institutions, a new political party, or a white knight in shining armor.   The power to rescue this economy comes directly from the bottom and,  by that, I mean the American people.  Therefore, it's high time that WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, shake off the yoke of economic fear, intimidation and slavery and assume control of the economy because if we don't, then no one else will do it for us.

So how can we, the American people, accomplish such a task, you might say?   The answer lies in the hands of approximately 180 million Americans, a figure which includes those who are receiving some form of government assistance.    As many visitors on numerous web sites I have visited over the past few days have remarked, we can start with a website that will do the following:
  1. Identify the companies--from moms-and-pops to conglomerates--that provide a viable product and service; have a successful business model; are doing right by the American people by expanding their business and workforce here in the United States;  and rank them in order of "good corporate citizenship" on a list of preferred companies for Americans to do business with.  
  2. Also identify the companies that are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash deposits; refusing to invest in the American economy at a level commensurate with their profits either out of fear, economic incompetence, or poor business leadership;  expanding their workforce abroad at the expense of Americans living here in the United States due to greed, incompetence, and economic shortsightedness;  and rank them in order of "shameful corporate citizenship" on a list of companies to avoid doing business with.
This is a powerful weapon that resides in the hands of nearly 200 million Americans, in short, anyone with cash savings or who derives any sort of income--be it regular earned income from wages and self-employment  or supplemental government assistance--and who has the mental faculties to make a decision as to whom or which company to do business with.   This does not require the assistance or involvement of politicians or any sort of governmental entity.  In fact, I would highly recommend that we stray away from any politician who offers help or support in the form of some government mandate or legislation or subsidy or tweaking of a monstrous tax code.   We do NOT need their help since most politicians are bought and sold by powerful and special interest groups and all sorts of dueling and competing constituencies and ideologies, which explains why we are in the mess that we are in now.   This has nothing to do with political party or politics or religion or social engineering agenda.

This is a battle for the heart and soul and economic destiny of the American people.  Therefore, we cannot afford to entrust the outcome of this battle in the hands of a few people.   WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, can do this on our own and so should we because the only change we can believe in is the change that we can make on our own.  So whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Tea Party activist, right-wing or left-wing or conservative, super wealthy or rich or middle-class or low-income, concerned or apathetic citizen, very young or very old, physically challenged or able-bodied, soldier or veteran or retired military, African-American or Asian or Hispanic or Caucasian or American Indian or other ethnic group member, man or woman or unisex or transgender, gay or straight or celibate, Catholic or Protestant or Baptist or Mormon or Lutheran or Muslim or of any other religious affilliation,  join us in this powerful, peaceful, dignified, and patriotic call for a Second American Revolution.

Join us in this battle at VOMI Global Think Tank and Advisory Board and become the sons and daughters of the Second American Revolution.


About Author:   Pierre Coupet, CEO & Q of Virtual Organization Management is the founder of Virtual Organization Management Institute (VOMI), VOMI Virtual Organization Academy, and Virtual Organization Recruiter:: founder of the modern virtual organization management and virtual organization recruitment disciplines pioneered since 1997:: founder of League of Extraordinary Virtual Organization Executives:: and Architect of THE NEW VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION WORLD Collection. Contact directly at; or via CHAT.

Stock Photo: courtesy of Pixabay

Copyright 2007-2016.  Pierre Coupet.  VOMI. Virtual Organization Management Institute. VOMI Virtual Organization Academy.  Virtual Organization Recruiter.  All rights reserved.  Cannot be reproduced without permission.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vision of Professional Office Buildings in a Virtual Organization World

The New Virtual Organization World

It's a New Principled World, It's Virtual, and It's Organized

Vision of Professional Office Buildings in a  Virtual Organization World
by Pierre Coupet

Old habits are hard to die and so are the reasons why we think we need professional office buildings in this day and age.  You will notice I did not say that we no longer need professional office buildings, it's only the reasons why we need them I am questioning.  Therefore, let's proceed with my vision of professional office buildings in this brave new world we have been approaching and steadily inching toward over the past 17 years: The New Virtual Organization World.

First, let me define a "Virtual Organization":    A Virtual Organization is an organization which strictly uses all of the following:  a virtual workspace,  a virtual workforce, and virtual organization management (i.e., best practices, policies and procedures for operating in a 100% virtual environment).

In the new virtual organization world, our emphasis is placed on people and getting the job done instead of buildings and other forms of erect and artificial structures which have more to do with habits and symbolism than utilitarian value.   For most of us, there is really no reason to get up in the morning and drive 50-100 miles to a central location in order to gain access to the tools we need to work and get the job done.  We are no longer limited to the typical (9-5) uniform schedule that was necessary in order to gain access to these tools.   Communicating and collaborating with our colleagues during a set time is no longer an issue since today's virtual technology allows us virtually instant and unlimited access to our colleagues from across the globe regardless of time, distance, geography and time zones. 

Since the Virtual Workspace (now called the "Cloud") and the Virtual Workforce (those equipped with today's technology)  already exist and are widely available at a moment's notice, then the only missing virtual organization component that we need in order for us to reach this brave new world I call the "Virtual Organization World" is virtual organization management (herein defined as best practices, policies and procedures for operating in a 100% virtual environment).

Once we reach that stage, we will need to make different uses of existing professional office buildings and, with respect to construction of new buildings, significantly alter their architecture in order to adapt to today's realities, and the future - as best can be predicted.  

New Uses for Large Professional Office Buildings

So what are we to do in the new Virtual Organization World when it is no longer fashionable to mandate an army of denizens (a la zombies, robots, or army of ants) to all get up at the same time, walk out of their residence, march in lockstep to their automobiles, get on a congested freeway and breathe tons of toxic fumes down their lungs, walk into a building and go sit at their desks for 8 hours;  and again,  in lockstep fashion, get up from their desks, walk out of their building,  march back to their automobiles,  get on a congested freeway and breathe some more tons of toxic fumes down their lungs, get out their automobiles and walk back into their residence, and go back to sleep at the same time so that they can repeat that whole cycle all over again the next 4 days out of the week.   In fact, not only this will no longer be fashionable, it will one day look so archaic and primitive by the standards of the new Virtual Organization era that most organizations will not want to look like "relics of the past" and will be breaking their necks,  and going out of their way,  to let the world know that they have virtualized all of their operations and that they are a "certified" 100% virtual organization - outside of a couple of physical facilities here and there that they are able to get exempted from the certification requirements. 

Talking about relic of the past, not to digress too much, this reminds me of a trip I took to Palo Alto a few weeks ago in order to attend a mini CEO breakfast-conference at SAP headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.   Being that I exist in a 100% virtual organization environment and, over the past 10 years, have never even considered attending a "brick and mortar event" for business purposes, I decided to give myself a long overdue 3-day vacation weekend, since the event was on a Friday, so I could take and enjoy the beautiful scenic drive from Southern California to Palo Alto.  To my amazement, when I got there I saw a world that I hardly recognized.  Other than myself, not one single person at that event had on a suit and tie.   In fact, I did not see one soul in the building wearing a suit and tie.  Not having to wear the standard "corporate suit and tie uniform"  is now the "new uniform" in Silicon Valley.  Even the most ultra conservatives dared not challenge the "new uniform."   I stood out like "a relic of the past."  The geeks have won!

Well, in the new Virtual Organization World, it will not be cool at all for people - including potential employees, clients and business partners - to know that you are a brick and mortar ("suit and tie") organization and that your organization is so outmoded and primitive to the point of requiring your employees to undertake that TOXIC MARCH to your office building in order to do their job.  You  will stand out, like I did,  as a relic of the past.   By then, we, the ("no suit and tie") Virtual Organization Evangelists, would have won!

Hence my vision of new uses for professional office buildings in the new Virtual Organization World:

Professional office buildings, depending on their size, will be used primarily as one or more of the following:  1) Large Corporate Meeting and Conference Centers, 2) Corporate Entertainment Centers, 3) Mega Telepresence Centers, 4) Disaster Management and Emergency Response Centers, 5) Self-Sustained Post-Disaster Shelters or Settlements, 6) Private Cloud-Public Cloud Data Centers,  7) Critical Infrastructure Protection Centers, and 8) Temporary Corporate Housing and Corporate Retreat Centers.

Form Follows Function: Shift to UGF (Underground Facility) Architecture

As we all know, form follows function.  Therefore, let's examine a bit some of the functions of these centers and the reasons why they are best suited in an underground facility.

Large Corporate Meeting and Conference Centers

As we all know, you can conduct a virtual meeting with as large an audience as you can in a virtual environment, however, there are extremely rare times when the "meet and greet" social component may be needed or required either during or after the meeting.    In that case, it may be appropriate to bring everyone together under one roof.

As well, there are times when, for competitive reasons, a certain amount of confidentiality may be required when you need to broadcast some information to a very large and geographically dispersed audience.   However, that being said, although no information is really secret when more than one person knows about it - since a determined foe can, given the right amount of time and resources, penetrate your most hitherto impregnable fortress and wreak havoc on your organization - that doesn't mean you have to completely let your guards down and broadcast private and confidential information to the world over a loudspeaker; which, in rare instances,  could be the case when broadcasting that information over the internet.  

Another case for an onsite meeting could be for security reasons.  For example, you may need to disclose or discuss some highly sensitive information to a select few and need to be in "total control" of your environment; which means that the information cannot be discussed or recorded using any means of telecommunications and that only those present during the meeting are privy to what's being discussed.   In which case, there is no substitute for an onsite meeting at your company location; that is, of course, assuming that you've taken all other necessary security measures.    

Or it could be that you have more than one physical corporate location and want to securely communicate between one or more corporate locations and be in total control of these environments; in which case,  you would have your personnel meet at their respective locations.

But why a UGF facility?  The reason is very simple: for business continuity purposes.  However, that being said, let me elaborate a bit on this point.  Being able to account for and communicate with your employees is not something that should be left to chance or the whims of nature.   Therefore, a well-designed UGF facility offers the best type of protection against any sort of potential disasters, be they man-made or acts of God and nature.  Think of 9/11 in 2001, the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City terrorist bombings, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.  Now that you've done that, think of a disaster that is a hundred fold in order of magnitude and which covers an area that is 10-100 times greater.     Although I am a huge science fiction fan, this is definitely not science fiction and the possibility of that occurring in our-or our children's-lifetime is just as real as the sun rising in the morning and setting at dusk.
Corporate Entertainment Center

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Familiarity breeds contempt.   The 100% virtual environment is the perfect solution for fostering or enhancing a fond and harmonious relationship among employees in an organization.   For the most part, it prevents the sort of familiarity that employees who work with each other on a daily and hourly basis experience and which, sooner or later, after the honeymoon period is over, normally results into a lot of acrimony and contempt for each other, rivalries, gossiping, back biting, internal politics, prejudices, and outright hostility which sometimes results in verbal assault, physical injury or even death; and all the other negative things that we are capable of manifesting when we are confined to close quarters or facilities.
However, that being said, although a business can function in a 100% virtual environment, it is important to note that life in a 100% virtual environment entails a certain amount of sensory deprivation.  As well, it is equally important to note that humans are, after all, "social animals" who are constantly in need of social interaction,  requiring a certain amount of "human touch" which can only be achieved in a brick and mortar setting.   Therefore, management needs to provide an outlet whereby everyone in the organization will have an opportunity to meet with others within the organization just long enough to experience that human touch and express that "fondness" developed in the 100% virtual organization environment.    The best way to achieve that is in an "entertainment" environment instead of a business environment and this should be done at least once a year.   A Christmas party is obviously one such example.

But why a UGF facility?   In this particular case, it is purely for practical reasons since it doesn't really make any sense to go out and build a brand new above ground facility just for entertainment purposes a couple of times a year.   Therefore, the corporate entertainment factor will have to be taken into consideration during the architectural design of the UGF facility.    Think of Disneyland and Magic Mountain in terms of entertainment in an underground facility.

Mega Telepresence Centers

What is a telepresence center?   Today's telepresence centers are lifesize, high-definition video conference rooms that are designed to give you the sensory perception that everyone is sitting at the same table in the same room and at the same time; which makes corporate air travel for important business activities unnecessary in 90% of cases.     Although, by today's standards, telepresence centers are considered the "Rolls-Royce" of video conferencing and, as Eyenetwork, a leading telepresence center provider,  describes it, "the first class alternative to business travel", there will, however, come a day and time when today's telepresence centers will seem crude by comparison. 

I see the day when you can actually walk into a Mega Telepresence Center which consists of a large and "empty" studio quality, hybrid-virtual reality room, a la Star Trek style, which can accommodate up to 500 people; whereby you can emulate and/or simulate any virtual environment that you wish (waterfall, resort, jungle, night club, boardroom, etc.) with the click of a remote control device and begin discussions with one or more colleagues thousands of miles apart in their own or similar environment.   At the push of a button on your remote control device, the room itself can be "physically" configured and/or partitioned into different types of pre-defined configurations and accessories (e.g., boardroom, conference room, training room) which would rise up directly from the floor.    Every square inch of the room, including all 4 walls and the ceiling, would be part of the hardware and controlled by the software for this mega telepresence center. 

How soon do we have to wait for this to happen?  Not too long if we really put our minds to it.  A great deal of this type of work is now in progress at the Virtual Reality Applications Center at Iowa State University in partnership with Mechdyne Corporation and other industry partners.  As well, I am sure there are plenty of brilliant scientists and visionary entrepreneurs out there who are fervently working on some version of this architectural vision for mega telepresence centers.

The bottom line: When designing such mega telepresence centers, take into account technological advances down the road, meaning the next 15-20 years, so that you don't have to start from scratch 20 years later.  That is, of course, assuming you are a fiscally conservative organization.

But why a UGF facility?   Again, as stated earlier for large business and conference centers, for business continuity purposes in the event of, God forbids, man-made or natural disasters.  After all, business must go on in an orderly fashion when a game-changing event takes place or else it will be the end of civilization as we now know it.
Disaster Management and Emergency Response Centers

For most ordinary citizens in the western world, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of a disaster management and response center is: our local police department, fire department, or hospital.  Depending on the severity of the disaster, the army and national guard and other national branches of government (e.g., FEMA in the USA, etc.) become our next line of defense although we wouldn't necessarily reach out to them directly.   It's all well and good that these response centers exist, however, that being said, whenever a real disaster of epic proportions arises, these response centers quickly become,  for the most part, overwhelmed and ineffectual for the task at hand.  

In the new Virtual Organization World, when designing and constructing new office buildings, we will take into consideration how quickly they can be converted into "secure" disaster management and emergency response centers - or post-disaster shelters and settlements - that can withstand all elements; in which case, they will have to be UGF facilities.   The size and location of the building will determine what it will be designed to accommodate as a dual-purpose facility and its existence and purpose will be publicly advertised and well-known to the entire local community.   Just as we are not afraid to let people know where our local hospitals, police departments and fire stations are, so shouldn't we when it comes to these additional response centers.   All disaster management and emergency response centers will be socially linked a la Facebook or Google+ style on the internet [and] via standard hard-wired legacy communications systems in order to coordinate their activities with each other.

For example, according to the Energy Information Administration, 1995 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, there were over 705,000 office buildings in the United States comprising a total of over 10.5 billion square feet of office space which represented 18 percent of all commercial floor space in the U.S.;  1% (7050) of which had more than 10 floors.    Therefore, in theory, just going by 1995 numbers, in just the U.S. alone we could have had an additional amount of over 7,000 major disaster management and emergency response centers that could quickly respond to any major disaster of cataclysmic proportions IF they were situated in UGF facilities.   That would still leave us with a remaining 697,000 office buildings  and another 82% (over 45 billion square feet) of commercial floorspace in the U.S. which could have some dual purpose that everyone is aware of and could immediately call upon in the event of an Armageddon disaster.

With respect to existing office buildings, a major effort will be under way by all office building owners - either individually, in a concerted effort with other building owners, and/or in a partnership with the federal government - to retrofit these buildings and turn them into dual-purpose office buildings which can be instantly converted into disaster management and emergency response centers.  Governments at all levels-federal, state, county and local-will provide the right economic incentives to do so and the flurry of such building activities will be a big boon to our economy and fill up the coffers of these governmental entities.

Self-Sustained Post-Disaster Shelters or Settlements

Were it not for underground cave and tunnel facilities (UGFs),  I doubt seriously that mankind and many other plant and animal species would have been able to survive the natural cataclysmic disasters that have befallen our planet over the past billions of years.   Whether we want to or not, natural disasters are things that we have to live and contend with for as long as we live and our planet continues to exist.   The federal government has spent billions of dollars investing in continuity of government (COG) facilities and operations and, as we all know, most-if not all-of these facilities are located underground.    But what about continuity of business (COB) facilities and operations?  And what about continuity of species (COS) facilities and operations?

More to the point, how many of us wake up and think about, or know, where to go in the event of a natural or man-made disaster?    And how secure are these facilities?  Even this very minute as I write this article, I don't have a solid clue of where to go and what to do outside of stocking up some food and water and attempting to round up family members for next steps. Unless you happen to be a survivalist, you are in a deep mess.

Globally, our first instincts and natural tendencies are to set up tents and mobile homes  in an open air environment that quickly turns into filthy, stinking, and unsanitary refugee camps.  Even in America, the richest and most powerful country in the world, we were humbled by Hurricane Kathrina and its aftereffects and it took us years just to begin to wake up from that nightmare.

Well, in the new Virtual Organization World,  there will be no shortage of post-disaster shelters and settlements and their locations will no longer be a mystery.   When designing and constructing new office buildings, we will take into consideration how quickly they can be converted into "secure" post-disaster shelters and settlements.   And the best way to secure these facilities against all elements - be they man-made or acts of God or nature - is to follow the lead of our federal government(s) and locate them underground.  With respect to existing above ground office buildings, they will be retrofitted to become dual purpose facilities that can [instantly] be converted into alternate shelters based on the nature and extent of the disaster.   Governments around the world will also provide to businesses the proper economic incentives to create these new facilities and retrofit existing ones.   The economic effect of such activities worldwide will also be immense. 
Private Cloud-Public Cloud Data Centers

In the new Virtual Organization World,  commercial office building developers will switch gear and begin to design and construct for major conglomerates highly secure, Private Cloud-Public Cloud Data Center office buildings  that are able to withstand any sort of natural or man-made disasters.   Why a Private Cloud versus a Public Cloud?   The answer is: 99.99%  Security, Quality of Service, and Business Continuity, in respective order.  And, of course, to be repetitive, only a UGF facility can reliably address the business continuity component of this equation.  As for businesses which cannot afford to have their own Private Cloud-Data Center, commercial office building developers will design and construct highly secure, underground Public Cloud-Data Center office buildings.  

With respect to existing commercial office buildings, existing owners or lessees will begin to retrofit suitable facilities that are ideal for conversion to Private or Public Cloud-Data Centers and governments around the world will provide to businesses the economic incentives to do so. 

Critical Infrastructure Protection Centers

Mankind has always lived in dangerous times, however, the more technologically advanced we become,  the more dangerous the times.   It is a case of us humans just getting too smart for our own good.  What, at one time,  would have required a massive military attack by a conventional, established, and well-known adversary in order to cause severe damage to our nation's critical military and civilian infrastructure, is no longer the case.   What happened on 9/11/2001 in the United States is a stark example of that, however, that is only the tip of the iceberg.   A small band of homegrown terrorists, or just one determined lone and invisible wolf,  armed with a laptop and/or portable weapons of mass destruction,  can cause critical damage to a nation's critical infrastructure.

This is no longer about hacking.....nerdy kids with plenty of time on their hands, playing around and causing mischief,  or just a lone wolf motivated by greed.   Criminal organizations around the world have their own cyber divisions.....the equivalent of Dillinger sporting the Thompson submachine gun while the small town cop on the beat is carrying a pistol.  We are now living in the age of STUXNET, Anonymous, Wikileaks, Iran, China, India and the list is just growing.  ALL governments - from the most advanced Western and emerging countries to the largest, smallest and/or most corrupt and repressive dictatorships and authoritarian regimes around the world -  are developing the technological sophistication needed--and using it in a lot of cases--in order to launch or be able to launch large scale attacks on friends, foes and those in between; as well as the capability to defend against them.  After all, just because we're friends today doesn't necessarily mean this will always be the case.   The genie is out of the bottle and there is nothing we can do.   Closing the barn doors after the horse has already left is an exercise in futility.

According to section 6(a) of the United States' Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7: Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection :: ::   "critical infrastructure" has the meaning given to that term in section 1016(e) of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 5195c(e))."  According to Section 1016(e),   the term  "critical infrastructure" means " and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters."   Examples of such systems and assets, as defined in section 15, include "..the following critical infrastructure sectors: information technology; telecommunications; chemical; transportation systems, including mass transit, aviation, maritime, ground/surface, and rail and pipeline systems; emergency services; and postal and shipping."

It is also noteworthy to mention that section 5 of the presidential directive acknowledges that "...while it is not possible to protect or eliminate the vulnerability of all critical infrastructure and key resources throughout the country, strategic improvements in security can make it more difficult for attacks to succeed and can lessen the impact of attacks that may occur. In addition to strategic security enhancements, tactical security improvements can be rapidly implemented to deter, mitigate, or neutralize potential attacks."  In fact, there is no security apparatus anywhere in the world that can protect all its citizens just as there is no single branch of government that can guarantee the freedom of all its citizens. 

Protecting our critical infrastructure should not be a top down directive but rather a bottom up requirement.   Just as freedom and democracy is not a top down directive in the United States but an imperative from the governed-the American people,   protecting our critical infrastructure should also be an imperative from businesses and a nation's citizens.   Protecting our critical infrastructure is a primary business concern that should be addressed by the private sector.  Businesses are interested in making money - tell them where the money is or how it could all vanish into thin air and, like bloodhounds or protective mothers, they will follow the trail all the way to the end or make damn sure that they protect their investment.  Shareholders, investors, and lenders should want to know how safe are their investments.   Money is the real incentive and there is really plenty of money to be made in both, securing the original investment and being able to continue making money when disaster strikes.   They don't really need subsidies, government interference or dictates disguised as cooperation with the government.   On the other hand, if the government is stupid enough to offer to pay them for something that they should be doing anyway, it's understandable that this is the kind of offer that is just too good to pass up.

The public should want to know which companies are doing their utmost to address their critical infrastructure safety needs and reward them accordingly.   A fierce and competitive spirit, a great deal of motivation,  and the ability to meet almost insurmountable challenges--something that is in the DNA of almost every single American--is  all that is needed in order to spur all stakeholders into action.  Therefore, businesses and local municipalities and major metropolitan areas nationwide should be competing with each other with respect to the security of their critical infrastructures.   Norway and Sweden have made tremendous strides in that area over the past 30 years and so should we.

Absent this mindset and new approach, businesses will consider such government directives just another bureaucratic and economic burden and will only cooperate to the minimum extent possible in order to [attempt] to meet the new requirements placed upon them.   They will hire lobbyists to pester Congress and threaten to support business-friendly politicians, etc.  The people in the communities which stand the most to lose in the event of a critical infrastructure breakdown will continue to remain apathetic and in the dark when it comes to the security of their critical infrastructure since they have become so accustomed to thinking that this is none of their concern and that this is the sort of responsibility that lies with their local, state and federal government.

I can now imagine some people here and abroad, including those from the military and intelligence community,  snickering about how naive this concept is in the age of bunker buster bombs and DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Transparent Earth initiative :: :: which involves the creation of real-time, 3-D maps that can display all properties of the earth deep down to about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).  However, there are plenty of solutions to that sort of current and future technology, the context of which falls outside the scope of this discussion. 

Therefore, in the new Virtual Organization World,  when designing and constructing new office buildings directly related to critical civilian infrastructures, businesses and local communities-not governments-around the world will require that they be located in underground facilities that are able to withstand any sort of natural or man-made disasters.   As an added precaution, the rules of war will be revamped so that nation states will be explicitly and expressly forbidden from attacking and destroying another nation's critical civilian infrastructure, regardless as to whether or not that critical infrastructure has dual military-civilian use capability or can be classified as an enemy command center.

With respect to existing above ground infrastructures, a huge amount of effort will be undertaken in order to retrofit these facilities as best can be in an exposed environment - resulting in a massive amount of economic activity. 

Temporary Corporate Housing and Corporate Retreat

In the new Virtual Organization World, commercial office building developers will design and construct for major conglomerates highly secure office buildings that are intended, first and foremost,  to accommodate the [temporary] housing needs of a company's executives while they are employed with the company and as a corporate retreat facility.  This means that the facility would not only have to be secure but also in a "resort type" location.   Imagine living in a resort environment where you work, live and play 24 hours a day.  Eventually, you'd need to take a vacation from living in a resort location.

For example, the entire 10th floor of an office building could be reserved for the Chief Education Officer of Company Thinking OutTheBox and his entire family, a section of which would include a very elaborate and decorated office, no different than the one he would have in any other corporate office building.   From there, he would work and meet with clients, other business executives, and subordinates,  when required,  just as he would at any other corporate location.   The only difference would be that when it's time to shut down and go home, all he has to do, if he wishes, is lock the elevator to his floor - although it may not be necessary, since a very simple system could be put in place to notify all others when a colleague is, so to speak,  "off the clock."    But we're not only talking about one corporate executive, all the employees in that office building would have the same sort-not level-of accommodation.  Instead of an entire floor, an employee may occupy only 1500 or 2000 or 3000 square feet of home-office space.   And, by the way, other than the fact that the employees who live in the home-office building all work for the same company, they do not necessarily have to report to or work with each other or be in any way affiliated with each other.   

With respect to being a Corporate Retreat facility, this dual function can easily be incorporated in the design of the underground skyscraper.

I am sure that by now you must know what I am about to say:  These highly secure office buildings must be able to withstand any sort of natural or man-made disasters, which means that they must be located in underground facilities.    I can just imagine the horror in the minds of some of my readers who are claustrophobic as well as others who may get the psychological impression of a sense of isolation or the perception of living in a cave when I mention about living in underground facilities.   However, that being said, there is no cause for concern since our modern architects have come a long way when it comes to the design of underground facilities.

Take for example the Coral World Park, an underwater resort hotel set to be built in Palawan in the Philippines, with a completion date set for 2013-2014.  Here is an underground skyscraper architectural marvel that just takes my breath away:  the impressive Earthscraper concept by BNKR Aquitectura :: ::  a Mexico City-based architectural firm owned by two  brothers, Esteban and Sebastian Suarez.   Just imagine a pyramid turned upside down with a glass top that allows light to shine through all the way down through the deepest level.  As of the date of this article, a collection of 15 slides can be viewed directly at Gizmag (now New Atlas)  at :: :: or you may go directly to the BNKR's website at :: :: for more details regarding the Earthscraper concept.

Here is a similar underground skyscraper proposal, but a bit more elaborate, by Matthew Fromboluti of Washington University in St. Louis,  which seeks to fill a 900-foot deep and nearly 300-acre wide crater left by the old Lavender Pit Mine in Arizona (Read more: Underground Skyscraper is a Self-Sufficient Desert City | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World at :: ::    Moreover, FIFA, the international footbal organization with headquarters based in Zurich,  currently occupies an underground skyscraper which was completed over three years ago.

The point being made is that today's advances in underground facility architecture and technology make all these things possible now and that the only thing that is missing is an evangelist who can scream from the top of his or her lungs in order to bring these ideas to the forefront of the nation and world's consciousness.   Mankind's ingenuity is boundless and with the right approach and incentives it can be unleashed in ways that can serve all of mankind instead of just a few privileged ones.       

In Conclusion

The bottom line is this: Although office buildings are not going to go away any time soon and will continue to remain permanent fixtures on our planet's landscape for quite some time to come, their uses will no longer be primarily confined to providing a place which contains the tools that people need to do their job and where people are mandated to come to and work on a daily basis.    Today's young generation and their progeniture will insist on a better quality of life and refuse to be bound by an old-fashioned and archaic way of thinking.  The die-hards will soon give way to progress and just as the Silicon Valley geeks have finally triumphed over the conservative old guard and thrown away their suit-and-tie uniforms or confined them to their closet to collect dust, so it will be someday that they will refuse to work for legacy companies which are resistant to change and require them to engage in a daily ritual that forces them to take that TOXIC MARCH to an office building in order to do their job.    

And when that time comes, we will all know that we've finally made it to the new Virtual Organization World.    Hopefully, and God willing, I will be there just in time to welcome you all and cheer you on with the words: Welcome to the new Virtual Organization World!


About Article:     This article is the second in a series of 14 articles on my "Visions of the Future in a Virtual Organization World." The next article in the series will feature my "Vision of the Entertainment Industry in a  Virtual Organization World."

About Author:   Pierre Coupet,  Founder & Q of Virtual Organization Management is the founder of Virtual Organization Management Institute (VOMI), VOMI Virtual Organization Academy, and Virtual Organization Recruiter:: founder of the modern virtual organization management and virtual organization recruitment disciplines pioneered since 1997:: founder of League of Extraordinary Virtual Organization Executives:: and Architect of THE NEW VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION WORLD Collection. Contact directly at

Stock Photo: courtesy of Pixabay

Copyright 2007-2023.  Pierre Coupet.  VOMI. Virtual Organization Management Institute. VOMI Virtual Organization Academy.  Virtual Organization Recruiter.  All rights reserved.  Cannot be reproduced without permission.