Setting up a diverse work team around the world.

I am currently reading the book 21st Century Skills and I would like to comment about something I read in Chapter 5.

There is a section in Chapter five that starts off: "Diverse work teams, scattered around the globe and connected by technology, are becoming the norm for 21st century work."

Some people are reluctant at first to accept this, but people change...

Last week my brother Mike called me about a frustration he was having when working with a programmer for a website project that he was doing. This programmer just needed to fix a few bugs in some Flash code on a photographer's website that my brother hosts. My brother thought it was something that would take just a couple of hours at most. But week after week he kept getting the run-around and now he didn't know what to do.

I told him to fire his US programmer and find someone in India. "That's too far away, how can I manage it?" he asked. I told him that it was easy and to use an  in-between company like oDesk or Elance. He was reluctant at first but then dove into the deep end.

He registered with a company (in this case oDesk.com), posted his job, reviewed a few of the hundreds of applicants that wanted to work for him. Picked a qualified person from some strange european country that I can't even pronounce and hired him to do the job. He managed the work through a slick interface that allows him to see the work progress as his person works on the project.

The next day he opened his email to see the completed programming and a bill for less than one hour of work: $7.41 (my brother had set the limit at three hours).

Wow, guess who just went down the rabbit hole?

"Holy Crud!" My brother exclaimed to me on my phone this morning. "Do you know what this will mean to my company and the backlog of work that I need to get done?"

I think he posted five more jobs this morning.

I would like to repeat what I just read...

"Diverse work teams, scattered around the globe and connected by technology, are becoming the norm for 21st century work."

What does this mean for the students of today?

Get used to working online with colleagues all across our planet -- your future depends on it.