For the Week of December 23, 2002
NOTE: We end each year with two special issues. The first gives a review of the previous year's lessons. The second offers some predictions for the coming year. As usual, we're looking for Clues, patterns that repeat, that can help you foresee future trends and profit from them. Have a Merry Christmas.
The original title of this piece was simple: Fuhgetaboutit!
That's an old New York term, short for "forget about it." As in, ignore it and pretend it didn't happen.
In many ways that's the way I'd like to think about 2002. All the warnings I gave in "Living on the Internet" came to pass. The copyright wars, the censorship moves, the attempts by governments around the world to force a worldwide medium into a narrow, local channel...I'd seen it years before, seen it and seen it. By the time it came I was heartily sick of it.
So I looked for new opportunities and found them. The first came in 802.11. This lead to my applying Moore's Law to radios, given the exponential improvements in designs since 1998. Further investigation showed Moore's Law applying to fiber, and storage, and optics.
What I'd found, in other words, was a hook to explain the world of rapid change to everyone. So my book, "The Blankenhorn Effect: How to Make Moore's Law Work For You" (http://www.trafford.com/robots/02-1082.html) really wrote itself. It's the first time that has happened to me. I changed my original outline barely at all. I found all the references I needed online. The first draft was done within a few months and (I concluded) it was really quite good. It started with the basics of Moore's Law, continued on to Moore himself, to Moore Economics, then proceeded to all the Moore's Law enhancements I'd previously found (which explained a lot about what was going on as I was writing). I then went off into the future - discussing the forces that slow Moore down, those that speed it up, and how to use Moore's Law to see what's coming.
Of course I had plenty of time to write this because there was absolutely no other business being done. The summer of 2002 was the true "Slough of Despond" for the Internet. The phone didn't ring, all the e-mail seemed to be spam, and your numbers hovered between 1,500-1,600.
It was the kind of year that could only be saved by family. I suddenly found myself the father of teenagers and (miracle of miracles) good ones at that. My lovely wife emerged, not just as a friend, lover, and companion, but as a leader at her work. I wasn't traveling, but I didn't feel like leaving, either. I started exercising, eating a bit better, smelling the flowers, accepting the aging process as a challenge and a blessing.
Of course, not everyone was so fortunate. I heard some horror stories, of former industry executives living in mobile homes, or on credit cards. Some names disappeared from the memory entirely. Once I had a Web site, made it run, made it race against time. Once I had a Web site, now it's done. Buddy can you spare a dime?
SSP (Shameless Self-Promotion)
The book is here . You may now buy it.
I've gotten my first big new gig in years, at MediaPost commenting on, of all things, the off-line media. (What fun!) This goes alongside new orders from BtoB and Mobile Radio Technology . Things are indeed looking up.
My book, "The Blankenhorn Effect: How to Put Moore's Law to Work for You," should be available in just a few weeks from Trafford Publishing . You can pre-order a copy with no obligation by sending me an e-mail . I'll let you know as soon as it's available.
You can follow the continuing story of The Blankenhorn Effect on my "Moore's Lore" blog . I still write for Boardwatch , Boardroom , Marketing Profs and Thom Reece's eComProfits . I still produce I-Strategy for Adventive
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Takes on the News
This Week's Clue: The Internet in Winter (Part II)
Despite all the financial gloom, even panic, the Internet itself continued to grow and blossom. Millions of people in unexpected places - like China and Pakistan - found they could get value from the resource, and never mind their local governments. Those who were martyred (and in China their number reached to the thousands) found themselves martyred for a good cause, the cause of liberty, and they also found their numbers growing.
The eternal conflict between liberty and order seemed, to the chattering classes, to be playing out entirely in favor of order. That was the message of the American election, of Australian politics, it was the story of Britain's Labour Party, it was even the (hidden) story in Germany. The known, even if stupid and pigheaded, was greatly preferred over the great unknown. (The exception was South America, where some of the biggest stories of next year will be played out - but don't tell anyone in the American government that. Let it be a surprise.)
And what of the Internet commerce space? It got tired of falling, and winners emerged (or at least survivors) - Amazon and eBay and EarthLink, Expedia and all the other travel sites. A few TV sites, like MSNBC, found themselves more successful than the TV networks they were created to sell. Some sites found new routes to selfishness - newspapers insisted on registration and rejected incoming links, while magazines let paid subscribers send stories out free (complete with HTML trade dress) but didn't let people in directly. The New York Times quietly offered incoming links to favored "partners," like Google, and The Wall Street Journal pushed small numbers of its stories in front of its firewall for publicity's sake. What was most remarkable, however, was how thousands of ad salesmen, around the world, learned how to integrate Web sites into their sales, and how thousands of their customers learned to integrate the Web into their ad buys.
Despite the failure of many to make money from the technology, the technology itself prospered. Internet cafes failed in America, but did great in the Third World, and at Kinko's. CLECs went out of business right-and-left, but millions more bought broadband subscriptions, by cable, DSL, and Wireless ISP. Early indications about online Christmas sales looked very, very good indeed.
If you've made it this far you may think you've made it, as the year ends. Even I've gotten some new work and, as I said, the book is finally out . There's a new blog , a promising new magazine (run by my old friend Bill McCarthy ) and a promising relationship with the folks at Mediapost .
Then, of course, there's the book. I've shipped PDF copies to about 50 of you, and another 50 have reviewed chapters. In addition to my readers here, there are those at I-Strategy, my new "Moore's Lore" blog at Corante, and anywhere else I can scare up a crowd.
The future looks interesting. I hope yours looks good as well.
Clued-in is the AP's recent rundown on filters and their danger although the "USA Today" headline is both misleading and Clueless.
Clueless are the claims of products like "NEXTwitness," "RedAlert," and "EnCase" to guarantee security against inside users. The reliance on technology to create a William Gibson nightmare world in corporate computing only hands the future to our adversaries.
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