DC is Flat – Friedman’s Perspective

On April 5, 2005, Thomas Friedman unequivocally proved the world is flat. Sorry, Pythagoras. In his book The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, Friedman advocates that technology, communication, and innovation have flattened the global-playing field. India can now partner with American businesses, a drive-through in Colorado can be operated in China, you name it. If you want to get a full understanding of Friedman’s arguments, you can get his book here. I’ve said before that DC is the smallest big city you’ll ever live in. DC is flat.

When I first moved to DC, I was awestruck. 6 lanes of insanity in every direction. More road signs than you can process. And monuments popping up everywhere. To a “good ol’ Tennessee boy,” DC was just about as large and overwhelming as you can get. Then two things happened. 1) I started attending Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and 2) I started looking for an internship on The Hill.

My first day at CHBC, I gave my resume to three people, set up coffees with four, and was invited to lunch. Attending CHBC is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – but not because of the networking. Yes, my network blew up the day I first walked in the doors, but my time there has taught me so much more than that. If you want to see for yourself, you should drop by and experience it. I’d highly recommend it.

Those coffees and lunches led to connections on Capitol Hill, and those connections led to more coffees and lunches. Eventually I landed an internship. But it wasn’t because of my resume or my experience. It was because of the connections I made.

DC is flat. What I mean is, everyone here is willing to bend over backwards to help a friend. That means when your friend asks you to go to coffee with an aspiring native, you do it. And then you recommend that person to another friend. Before you know it, walking down the street, you feel like you’re a walking version of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

DC is flat because it is so ridiculously interconnected. The playing field is level for those who are ambitious enough to realize it. DC is the most relational city I’ve ever experienced. And that’s saying something coming from East Tennessee.

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