The Internet? Bah! Why cyberspace isn’t, and will never be, nirvana

Wow, this guy was so wrong…

I bet he regrets writing this article for Newsweek in 1995. This is clearly a case of a guy lacking any foresight.

Below are a few choice comments:

“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

“Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.”

“We’re told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun. Students will happily learn from animated characters while taught by expertly tailored software… These expensive toys are difficult to use in classrooms and require extensive teacher training.”

“Then there’s cyber business. We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet–which there isn’t–the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”



3 Responses to “The Internet? Bah! Why cyberspace isn’t, and will never be, nirvana”

  1. 1 Elizabeth Walker November 10, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    You know what, there are people out there who still don’t actually know anything about this, and many of them are actual clients. I had a meeting with the senior partners in a mid-sized accounting firm last week, and explained our methodology (we’re Duct Tape Marketing coaches). They are not doing it (except for email) but they are interested, and they are intrigued with what it means for the business.

    I also teach at a University business school. There is some validity to “no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher”, when you’re not doing straight skills transfer. Mind you, it’s been a while since we used CD-ROMs…

  2. 2 mikefrizzi April 13, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    One of my favorite quotes of the piece:
    “So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?”

    Yeah…that is pretty staggering. It’s actually rather frightening how off base he was. Still, it was a bit difficult to predict the way the internet would essentially dominate the world the way it has, especially back in good old 1995 (my HS graduation year!).

    The real question this raises, is what technologies are we sleeping on now that will eventually change our way of life? And, of course, how can we use them as advertising/marketing tools!?

    Bah, in all honesty, I think this internet thing is gonna pass. There’s just not enough salespeople….

  3. 3 March 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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