In addition to the ten flatteners, Friedman offers "the triple convergence," three additional components that acted on the flatteners to create a new, flatter global playing field.
Up until the year 2000, the ten flatteners were semi-independent from one another. An example of independence is the inability of one machine to perform multiple functions. When work-flow software and hardware converged, multiple functions such as e-mail, fax, printing, copying and communicating were able to be done from one machine. However, around the year 2000, all the flatteners converged with one another. This convergence could be compared to complementary goods, in that each flattener enhanced the other flatteners; the more one flattener developed, the more leveled the global playing field became.
After the emergence of the ten flatteners, a new business model was required to succeed. While the flatteners alone were significant, they would not enhance productivity without people being able to use them together. Instead of collaborating vertically (the top-down method of collaboration, where innovation comes from the top), businesses needed to begin collaborating horizontally. Horizontalization means companies and people collaborate with other departments or companies to add value creation or innovation. Friedman's Convergence II occurs when horizontalization and the ten flatteners begin to reinforce each other and people understand the capability of the technologies available.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, countries that had followed the Soviet economic model—including India, China, Russia, and the nations of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Central Asia—began to open up their economies to the world. When these new players converged with the rest of the globalized marketplace, they added new brain power to the whole playing field and enhanced horizontal collaboration across the globe. In turn, Convergence III is the most important force shaping politics and economics in the early 21st century.