Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Surfing for Money

This being spring, I’m preparing to go surfing. Not surfing the combers off Baja, but something just as exciting: surfing the electronic pulses of the World Wide Web. So wax up your keyboards, kids, slip some Bob Marley in the CD drive, and come along as we cruise down the electronic highway to the virtual beach where all the pretty URLs hang out.
Why bother learning to navigate the Web? Because the Internet is the most important development in the history of human endeavor since the invention of moveable type which made it possible for people to mass-reproduce printed material such as The National Enquirer and junk mail flyers. The Internet is even as important to the expansion of human knowledge as the perfection of indoor plumbing which allowed people to read the National Enquirer in undisturbed privacy. When they come up with a computer that can provide people with access to the World Wide Web from the bathroom, they will finally have created the perfect learning environment!
The fact is that there is literally something for everybody on the Web. No matter your interest or field of professional endeavor, you will find masses of information relating to it on the Web. Body piercing? You bet - complete with photographs (not for the weak of stomach...). Information about how to raise earth worms in your basement for fun and profit? Piles. Want to know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Or whether there is life after death? Or how many people have been abducted by aliens in the last week? Or how it is possible for bumblebees to fly? The answers are on the Web. So are the answers to questions of whether California wine is equal to French wine, how deep the oceans are, how high the mountains, and what love has got to do with it.
Is there a God? The Web knows.
But while the Web is obviously a great place to learn stuff, what does the Internet mean to the business community? Well, for one thing, it means that those of us working at computer stations now have ready access to about a trillion new electronic games which we can play while looking as if we were working on crunching numbers for the annual report, or writing columns for radio programs. We can also chat with several million people around the world, spreading untraceable rumours about people we don’t like. The Internet also provides a place for the lovelorn to meet others who are single - or like to pretend they are - and conduct virtual electronic office romances in cyberspace (all the steam with none of the heat).
Business can also sell things on the Web, and the potential for profit is this arena is not to be underestimated. For instance: given that nothing on the Web is "real" in the conventional use of the word – which is why it is called “virtual” - doesn't it stand to reason that pretty soon consumers are going to be clamoring for virtual products? What we have here is a world-wide market for products that never actually have to be manufactured! The arm-chair extreme skier will need the latest in virtual skis for his next virtual skiing trip, right? In the "real" world such a pair of skis might set the consumer back hundreds of dollars, but in the virtual world of the Web, the latest in high tech downhill skis could be made available at a fraction of the cost. The first company not to manufacture the best in virtual skis will make a killing! The same goes for just about any consumer good imaginable. Whoever is the first to make these non-existent products available to the denizens of cyberspace will reap fortunes to rival those of Bill Gates.
And of course, it will just grow from there as virtual yard sales become common on the net as imaginary products become obsolete and have to be replaced by newer, better and ever-more hypothetical non-products.
Somebody will be making a virtual fortune in illusory products for the Web. It might as well be you! But first you have to know how to get around in that vast electronic ocean, and you'd better get started - it's a surf or be deleted world out there!
Plugged in and catching the wave, I’m Otte RosenKrantz
Who Links Here Free Website Counter
Free Web Counter