Monday, November 12, 2001

John's views are worth reading as a case study, if nothing else, in relentlessly gung-ho marketecture.

I particularly objected to his Internet revisionism "As Internet traffic began to explode in the first half of the 1990s, it became clear that huge network and server capacity was needed to keep things going. It was business that made that investment. While government and academia remained (and still do remain) important, it was business that fueled the investments that have made possible the medium now used by hundreds of millions of people." (John's emphasis).

It became clear that here was an affluent market that was not being served. Not only that but the non-affluent side of the market (the students) were tomorrows affluent market in embryo. An opportunity that no business could afford to miss - or worse, let their competitors capture!

The investment was most decidedly NOT some altruistic donation intended to "keep things going."

It was a pure marketing play in the oldest and most envious opportunity-eying sense of those words.

The major "businesses" were mom-and-pop ISP's and consortia formed by the Universities because big business was too blind and stupid to see the potential of the net. It was only the burgeoning recognition of the net as a market that bought out the big guns.

Only then did we see the big telcos opening up mass market (see?) ISP's that put most of the small ones out of business. Only then did we see the creation of the massive commercial backbone operators that made the academics, well, academic. Only then did the banner ads become the piss-off-du-jour.

Nothing wrong with business, nor with big business, don't get me wrong, I'm a dyed in the wool capitalist, but this revisionist nonsense is not only plain wrong, it is insultingly wrong.

It also highlights the veracity of Chris' view that the captives inside are as much captive of their perspective ("we're inside, they're outside") as they are of the organisation itself. There is a none too subtle co-dependency gig going on here between the organisation and its captives. The old prisoners dilemma. John is transparently unable to free his voice and say what he really thinks, everything is couched in terms that will not rock the boat because John is most certainly IN THE BOAT!

I did get a laugh out of John's repeated opening, though: "we agree on many things but from different views" - as if repeated assertion is truth (a symptom of the broadcast mindset?) - even as Chris systematically dismantled his views and illustrated their (near*)-complete irrelevance.

* I'll give him the benefit of that small doubt.

Thanks, tom tom.

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