|FIVE YEARS OF EXAMINATION OF THE INTERNET, TECHNOLOGY AND RANDOM WEB SURFING THOUGHTS. THAT'S OLD BY MANY NEW MEDIA STANDARDS. MANY WEB SITES ARE TOMBSTONES IN THE DIGITAL GRAVEYARD. OTHERS HAVE BEEN ABANDONED LIKE WESTERN GHOST TOWNS. WE PUKE ON.||
IN THIS ISSUE:
iToon on Mouse Trap
iToon on Realization
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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
When Johannes Gutenberg crafted his 42 line bible in 1455, created on his invention of movable type, to mirror the manuscript copyists of his time, the concept of publishing has continued relatively unchanged to this modern era of communications.
Like the masters assistant, Peter Schoffer, who later opened his own print shop, and who first published a book with the date and place of publication and the printers name in 1457, people have used the media of typed words to communicate thoughts and ideas to others. The growth of the internet community can be directed related to the convergence of several factors: telecommunications, efficient tools and cost.
We are the communication descendants of Gutenberg. We add to the craft of wordsmanship as each generation adds volumes to the printed word. As revolutionary as tacking a printed list of demands on the church door, individuals are now empowered with an electronic printing press; the internet.
Telecommunications access through universal telephone lines gave individuals the distribution channel to reach others effectively and quickly. The HTML editors and web design programs have made it easier for non-technical persons the ability and tools to create their own content. The cost of creating, publishing and accessing content on the web is at a low-cost breakpoint which has established the fertile ground for the explosive crops of individual web pages uploaded each day. This site is one of those pages.
The medium has turned into the cultural message. There has been a lack of general critical, cynical or tangential review of the pop culture surrounding the global informational highway. The business plan here is simple: create a new e-publication on the focus of internet culture on society.
The fixed costs of a site registration fees, web hosting fees, and the like are constant and not megabudget items. Realistically, the site should break even with its limited cost structure, like any other small business, within a year of launch. The projection is to become break-even by the end of year one. The sources of revenue are republication fees, advertising, freelance commission, and merchandise. Control of these avenues of income is easy since this is a barebones, lean and realistic vision of a part-time business enterprise. A social experiment on whether you can create a topical publication in the electronic community. We will see whether the real world timeline of profitability has a parallel to the cyberworld.
I used to believe that you needed some intelligence to create intellectual property. Then, look at network television. Everyone believes that they can do just as well as the professionals. So all materials used on the site is copyrighted by the author. A copyright is the freedom of the author of the tangible idea to put strings on how, when, and where his works will be published. The control of the right to copy is the key to the right to have a return on the investment of creative time. Without the public recognizing the need to protect intellectual property rights, there can be no movement to e-business stability. The initial content is published free to the readers. Later republication will be a resource.
The long term plan is to repackage the content into reprints or a collective e-book for resale. Site advertising will be available. The plan is to take a print publication and transport it to the digital world. But retain the same elements of stories, essays, advertising and feedback. Part of the feedback is advertisers who want to associate with the publication, and to target the audience who come to cyberbarf.com. Two to four traditional magazine ads on the site would be controlled by the publisher. I do not perceive the push ad web programs as being associated with the early development of this site. Other possible revenue sources would include other publications asking for freelance assignments, republication of past articles and merchandise. Since this is a part time small business operation, freelance assignments would be on a selective basis. Merchandise, such as t-shirts and caps with the cyberbarf logo, will be on a limited run basis in the future. The balance of fixed costs and variable revenue streams is the key to creating a successful publication.
In 1999, the world feared the technical collapse of the computer infrastructure. Y2K. Billions of dollars were spent on how to correct perceived programming errors in the industrial, telecommunication, national security and financial networks. Companies put together emergency management teams when the national power grids would go dark. Data back ups; contingency plans. People turned to survivalist bunker mentality of the 1950s Cold War bomb shelter: a rush for portable generators, bottled water, Army surplus food packs, batteries, and the withdrawal of vast amounts of cash in case New Year's Day was without electronic banking.
In the stratosphere of this technology re-tooling, the internet was cresting with its own hubris. Technology was the problem; it was the solution. Electronic commerce companies were the new, nible and cutting edge power brokers of the present, and the old rust belt manufacturing giants would be left in the dust. The drumbeat of the new media led to new publications, a half inch thick bulging with net ads from newly minted IPO capital companies, touting the New World Order.
The Business 2.0 magazine was a prime example. It boasted in its banner: NEW Economy NEW Rules NEW Leaders. The feature stories dealt with topics such as booming business in Silicon Valley, can the New Economy survive, open source, advertising agencies coping with the net, whether mother hens funding startups produce a golden egg, the internet could quash the newspapers hold on news-hungry consumers, bandwith battles, business auction buying for the small company, and investing. The editor found that the current biggest hurdle at the time was that web commerce sites kept freezing up, crashing, or were too confusing for a customer to navigate through to a purchase. He estimated that $6 billion was lost as a result.
There was no prediction of an internet investment bubble. The gee whiz stories of instant millionaires making venture capital deals on the backs of napkins at the local coffee shop were the legendary engines that kept optimism and tunnel vision of the greatness of the new way of doing business so popular. The industry was so young there were no failure stories, no major implosions; the old Fortune 500 companies were being gloaded into getting their act together and join the new pioneers of ecommerce.
Who were the big supporters of this vision? A snapshot of the cultural climate would be the glossy advertisers of this time period: lastminutetravel.com; Lexus; Apple Computer; US Postal Service; Microsoft; sandpiper.net; myevents.com; cmgi; ondisplay.com; Agilent Tecnologies; Honda; o-pinion.com; Nortel Networks; slates.com; Ricoh; infoUSA.com; starbelly.com; flooz.com; altavista.com; digex.com; Fidelity; Yantra; finet.com; Lotus-IBM; Macromedia; wsj.com; Enron; RealNames; liveprint.com; KPMG; messagemedia.com; dealtime.com; Sony; Palm; buy.com; Mercedes-Benz; verio.com; brightware.com; goto.com; SAP; e-centives.com; peoplesupport.com; commercetrust.com; buzzsaw.com; yesmail.com; Continental Airlines; UPS; juno.com; bizzed.com; interland.net; greenfieldcentral.com; apponline.com; 4anything.com; Cisco Systems; portera.com; Motorola; Goldman Sachs; auctionrover.com; excitehome.com; intraware.com; HP; sitescape.com; realmedia.com; Lucent; thestreet.com; Axent; USWeb; Land's End; spendcash.com; clickaction.com; Canon; consumerinsite.com; postmasterdirect.com; styleclick.com; Northwest Airlines; Ernst & Young; servicemetrics.com; driveway.com; GM; Morningstar; Compaq; Fore Systems; estamp; ARP; Anderson Consulting; ework.com; Nikon; Deloitte Consulting; Symantec; cnet.com; service911.com; Intel; BroadVision; net2phoneprofits.com; trainingnet.com; how2.com; britannica.com; individual.com; Great Plains; xcelerate.com; intermedia.com; NinthHouse.com; FutureNext Consulting; Credit Suisse First Boston; cybersource.com; mapquest.com; ibeam.com; onvia.com; Mindspring; Sapient; snowball.com; Solomon Software; pandesic.com; Business Week Online; Gateway; wish.com; planetoutdoors.com; lifeminders.com; razorfish.com; rewardsplus.com; egain.com; beenz.com; psinet.com; northernlight.com; ecredit.com; smallcapcenter.com; Lycos; Deutsche Bank; perksatwork.com; Minolta; imageX.com; allbusiness.com; Toyota and Energizer batteries.
The list of advertising on the dawn was a cross-section of the new kids on the Wall Street block, some old companies trying to sell their products to the nouveau rich. Most of the dot.com advertisers are not household names; you may not even know what they were selling (or buying). The cultural tone was that everyone had to have a web commerce site, the tools to get a prototype up and running, access to an venture funding, consultants to get you to an IPO, and a bank to pocket the funding and cashed stock options. The running theme was that technology would over run the old business community like a stampede, and the new electronic CEOs would be the kings of commerce.
At the same time business publications were selling the sales pitch for the new economy, publications like WIRED were reporting on the impact of technology. In its table of contents prequel, the magazine stated that the time to go to school is during a recession, not now, when you have opportunities in the booming dot.com business spectrum. The feature stories were about speech recognition software (75 percent of the world doesn't speak out language. No problem.), high tech-tough hardware, turning the browser into your regular phone line, and how web is unleashing new comics and cartoons to a vast new audience from independent creators. Six years later, the concept of instant voice recognition like those in Star Trek inspired science fiction remain a tech hurdle. VOP technology is being corraled by telecom regulators and old copper wire companies who don't want to give up their weakened phone monopolies. The web has created a vast distribution system for independent creative artists, but very few have hit the highest heights of old Hollywood contract stars. The media may focus on the flavor of the day, but few webcomics have a massive fan base like newspaper syndicated cartoons have had for decades. The promise is there; the tools are available to the average person; getting your message out is easier than ever; it is just so crowded one cannot see the forest through the trees.
There are some lasting elements of the Turn of Century Technology craze. Electronic gadgets have displaced traditional toys, even with elementary school children. The laid back California Silicon business plan has become a model for new enterpreneurs. The golf shirt, shorts and sandals work culture has made business causal the standard of professionalism diluted to the point where people's Sunday's best is the same beachware they were to court or church. No matter what some work place advocates say, the dressing down does have an impact on the level of professionalism between co-workers and the interaction between the employees and the end customers. The old school your word was your bond as a binding contract has been replaced by mountains of legal boilerplate and simple business dispute reactions, so sue me! It is a short term view of internet business model. Owners don't have a vision of being in business for a century like General Motors. Owners want to cash out and retire as soon as possible, preferably before 30. And employees have similar expectations too; they are not loyal to one company, they don't plan to have a career; they want the quickest way to retirement as possible. Start-up stock options was like printing money and winning the lottery at the same time. But it was a short lived cycle; the employees of Enron can attest to that, as their paper retirement savings was wiped out in the highest profile bankruptcy in recent history. Those who cashed out before the crash are still sitting pretty on the wealth they took when the taking was good; those who tried to scramble to the top but never reached it are now usually underemployed and looking for the next big idea to make them instant millionaires and retirees in a few years.
This change in work philosophy when the internet boom was glamorized by popular culture and mainstream media outlets. It occurred when ideas became commodities, and the not the execution of a tangible product or service that was of paramount importance. People valued the idea more than the implementation of the idea. It did not matter whether the end product made money; the money was to be made fast and quick at the set-up stage, with the next killer idea.
The Real World does not operate in that type of vacuum. America is a consumer driven economy. Tangible goods like cars, houses, furnishings, refrigerators, clothes, et al, is the fuel that kept millions gainfully employed through the good and bad cycles. Internet ideas without a tangible end product can quickly evaporate into dust. But in 2000, no one thought about the negative connotations of the gold rush of cyberspace.
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THE NEW WORLD A CYBERBARF CYBERSPACE ODD-ESYThe Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden
The global on-line gaming experience has quietly exploded into a a bandwidth python of multi-hour, multi-kingdom game spheres. Whether it is the team combat arena, or the total simulated fantasy genre, more and more men and women are using their free time to escape to a virtual world. As a result of our tech guru's prodding suggestion, cyberbarf.com has created Sultanate of Clintonia-Rogstaden. Readers will have a running update of the status of this virtual country; you can peek at the real game pages, or get the backstories outside the game's program. For example, check out the images of the national currency. There will be inside jokes, satire, humor and pulse of a real bizarre country. New features will be added on a regular basis. So check out the cyber-soap opera of nation building here at cyberbarf.com
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