The Internet is Officially Dead & Boring – Its the economy stupid !

There was a lot of discussion about my previous posts here and here. My point is that the internet is a stable platform. Its a utility. Its evolved to the point where you can count on it and develop applications for it without much fear that its going to change.

What confirms my point is that with all the talk of a possible or existing recession, not a single mention is ever made about how increases in productivity from technology will pull us through. That is counter to the recessions of the past 25 years. Whether it was the early 80s, the 90’s or even the post bubble , economists and others pointed to technology as a catalyst to productivity that would help pull us out of our economic doldrums.

When there were boomtimes , as we saw from about 91 to 2000, technology was given the lions’ share of the credit.

So where are the claims of further productivity enhancements from technology ? They are no where that I can find.

In fact, we can start to make arguments to the contrary. That technology and in particular social network and video sites can be a hindrance to productivity in the workplace.

Further arguments can be made that the MSFT YHOO potential merger is further evidence that the technology industry is maturing.

It is what it is.

32 thoughts on “The Internet is Officially Dead & Boring – Its the economy stupid !

  1. Here is the address of the article on parallelism:

    Comment by David K -

  2. It is over my head, but here is an article on Parallelism that makes sense to me.

    Comment by David Knopf -

  3. Mark,
    I know you probably won\’t do this. In fact you may already have!
    But you\’ve been tagged over at my blog.

    Comment by Ryan Holmes -

  4. This is off topic, but have you read the March \”Men\’s Journal?\” There\’s an article about Ultimate Fighting and Dana White essentially calls you out. He says if you want HDNet Fights to compete with UFC you better stop dancing with the stars. I\’d like to hear your response to that knucklehead.

    Comment by David -

  5. The internet is definitely alive & well. As for tech, the future looks bright.

    Comment by darryl -

  6. Sorry Mark,

    Maybe from where you\’re sitting on Billionairs Olympus it looks like the Internet is dead and technology won\’t pull us through as it did in the past. However, it\’s the best of times right now!

    Back in the 70\’s and 80\’s when the Big Iron world pretty much ruled the roost, the same thing was being said at that time! And then what happened? Grass root opportunities started popping all over the place like it\’s starting now!

    Maybe you\’re looking at the comfortable infrastructure and watching it fossilize! Web 2.0/3.0 tech is coming up and you better get this party started otherwise you\’ll miss the next BOOM as the Big Iron companies such as DEC and IBM did in 1991! I know, I was there!

    What many are missing is that the model has shifted yet again! You\’ll have to look for your cheese in a new technological location!

    One big word to focus upon is Community! As in Community Programming as well as \”Through the Web Programming\” and \”Enterprise Rapid Development Frameworks (eRDF).\”

    If you\’re still trying to pump out a project with Java then the train has already left you behind!

    Start looking at technologies such as Joomla and Drupal. Look at Ruby on Rails! The days are gone for grunt level projects where a gaggle of Klingon wanna-bees, slam code for 6 to 9 months because it is in no way efficient!

    If you can\’t sit down the first day, and have a website with configurable widgets that you drag and drop into place talking to your database, YOU\’RE DOING IT WRONG PRINCESS!

    So, Dead? I don\’t think so! Look where the cheese has moved and you\’ll find a ground swell of the next boom!

    Seeya at the top! 😉


    Comment by Mike Addison -

  7. The argument that sites like YouTube and MySpace are responsible for decreasing productivity in the work place, and in some way are responsible for the recession, is beyond moronic. The tech bubble of the late 90\’s was predicated on more and more technology. Technology was what was stimulating the marketplace (obviously too much of a good thing isn\’t always favorable, as was the case with the bubble).

    Advancements in tech sectors such as software and networking (as in the Cisco kind, not the Facebook kind) have exorbitantly increased the productivity at work. Most firms cannot function without this technology.

    Things like YouTube and Myspace have always been around to distract individuals. But I\’ve never heard of any company boycotting Poland Spring because all the time wasted at the water cooler was detrimental to overall productivity.

    Comment by Al Lulla -

  8. so.
    about the mavericks.
    i think you should make a trade for louis williams.
    hes a young developing player who would be able to be used interchangable at the sg and sf position with josh howard, which i think would complete the starting lineup. and this would still enable you to keep jet and stack as big bench contributors.

    Comment by Roy -

  9. I can\’t see how being connected is a hindrance, you know for the average person just being able to read these kind of blogs is productive. If only you knew where I am responding from, and the economic conditions here, you would not think the internet is boring. It is amatter of perspective or frame of reference.!!!

    Comment by Phil Salzman -

  10. Technology can only do so much and another example of how it can be a hinderance is the popularity of some large online games that are a form of online crack!

    Comment by Bill -

  11. The internet has obviously become a platform. No question about it. What interests me the most about it is what will MicroSoft do 20 years from now to make money? As open source grows and grows eventually everyone will realize that we don\’t need high priced software like windows, and office. Mark I would like to read your thoughts perhaps in a future post about what you think the future of open source platforms will bring.

    ps. how funny was the Steve Ballmer article mentioning free soda (if you missed it)

    And also a very disturbing but very funny video of Steve Ballmer that is a must see from 2005:

    Comment by Adam Pritchard -

  12. I have to agree that enabling technologies have slowed a bit. This happens with the maturation of ANY innovation.

    But, web development has continued to make USING web sites easier and more elegant. I can do things today in 3 minutes and 3 clicks what it might have taken me 30 minutes and 20 clicks to complete in 2005.

    AJAX, bandwidth and more common interface look and feel have dramatically increased the ability to get simple but tedious things done using the web.

    I\’m still searching for the next killer app, and I believe we\’ll find a bunch this year (DEMO just finished, and there were some nice finds amongst the rabble).

    Mark Alan Effinger

    Comment by Mark Alan Effinger -

  13. In the 80s and 90s, technology was all about increasing productivity. We know that technology is mature because today we\’re battling the fact that we have too much technology and that\’s hampering productivity. I haven\’t seen a new innovation or idea for a while that made me say, wow that\’s going to make my life easier. Everything is just old technology repackaged to look new with catchy marketing phrases like \’Unified Communications\’ or \’Web 2.0.\’ What we need is for technology to simplify and become smarter. To be designed with the normal human being in mind. Otherwise, it\’ll just become one huge bureaucratic mess.

    Comment by David Chu -

  14. i have to disagree with you here, marc.

    the internet is cool and it\’s still delivering major productivity increases, maybe just not for sports teams. maybe your team\’s staff is wasting too much time following sports? 😉

    what\’s interesting is your perspective on this. you\’re not questioning the value of sports teams, and truthfully, i can\’t think of anything good ever coming out of professional sports.

    anyway, i\’m sure other readers will innumerate the perpetual value of the net so i won\’t go into what may be a repeat. cheers, nonetheless!

    Comment by messels -

  15. i think this post is like a three pointer when the games all tied up that goes around the rim and rolls off and gets rebounded and slam dunked by the other team for a victory.

    Comment by eddie -

  16. I will agree with you the the Net has become boring. Back in the 1990s surfing sites was as engaging as watching the lobotomy box. Yes, it was a complete waste of time but evening after evening just breezed by. I\’d visit hundreds of sites in a typical day to check out the competition and see what was new.

    For the past few years the number of sites I visit regularly has shrunk to less than ten. Basically, the Net has become another home appliance. It\’s used for email, price comparisons before a purchase, looking up the correct spelling for words, and the occasional conversation like this.

    Comment by How Billionaires Become Billionaires -

  17. I definitely agree that technology growth is maturing. I do think that in the next 5-10 years there will be some Killer App to change the growth but for the time being, nothing exciting is going to blow us away or excite the growth rate of technology again like we saw in the late 90s

    Comment by Barrera -

  18. Its a good point. I saw where somebody had said that Tech always pulls us out of economic doldrums be it first with the chips then the PC and then the internet. I think the technology that will pull us out of this period of stagnant technology and an unpredictible stock market is going to be mobile tech. combined with GPS.

    Comment by James B Marshall -

  19. Mark and all..

    This guy is interesting.. Look at the latest post about Acacia suing Apple.

    Comment by Pat Crofoot -

  20. A very interesting video montage of statistical comparisons between China, india, and the US…….The questions it raised in my mind were more thanw orth the 6 minutes it took to watch……

    Comment by Alex Skinger -

  21. Where do we place telecommuting in the economic bottom line? How do we compare a slight drop in the overall US economy relative to 10 years ago when people spent more time on the road going to and from work, but now can savor their hours of each day by staying at home, using technology from the home, and be (perhaps) slightly less productive, but certainly more happy about it?

    I know I am enjoying my life better with our new \”tools\”, even though I may be making a little less.

    Comment by greg -

  22. Hey Mark,

    It\’s really about the Internet making a transformation from a destination to an enabling technology. In the beginning (and probably a vast majority still) use the Internet, and more specifically the web, as an entertainment destination. Now that the platform has stabilized, we are beginning to see more applications designed specifically for it (eg. Quickbooks Online and Google Apps). And this is just the beginning. The Internet today is just like the telephone in it\’s early days. Who would have imagined in the 30\’s that we would have fiber optic or even wireless phones today. They simply didn\’t have the context or experience to imagine those things. In the same way, we can\’t even begin to imagine what lies ahead for our connected world and what it will be able to do for us.

    Thanks for the topic!


    Comment by Thom -

  23. Mobile is next internet

    Comment by Prashant -

  24. Sorry for the double beatdown, but Hooman is right. You still can\’t even sort organic Google results by date directly from Google search yet – they make you go to \”advanced\” options to do this. They got it right with at least.

    Internet 1.0 can STILL be improved. And yes, 1.0…that\’s STILL where we are, the 2.0 and 3.0 crap is just spinmeistering. The Internet has reached the desktop equivalent of Windows 95. Yay!!! better than Windows 3.1, but…big whoop! ; )

    Comment by Robert Seidman -

  25. Mark, interesting post. I don\’t know that I completely agree with your statement:

    \”Its (the web) evolved to the point where you can count on it and develop applications for it without much fear that its going to change.\”

    Although I think that it has become easier for developers to cope with the constant evolution on the web, to say that it is a stable platform is probably a bit much. 🙂

    Comment by Hooman Radfar -

  26. Mark, I usually appreciate your posts and find your analysis of various industries and trends extremely insightful. Here, though, I am not really sure what you are getting at, unless your point is to start a conversation on the subject.

    Comment by Soren Gordhamer -

  27. More productivity means less workers required to produce the final product. As PSC asks, if there are fewer workers, who is going to buy the output of more productivity??? If there are less workers, who is going to pay the taxes to fund local, state and federal government??? As they say, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

    Comment by Jojo -

  28. You\’re of course correct but it still moves faster than 95% of industries. The burn through of social networks starting with friendster, then myspace, and now facebook indicates there is turnover and opportunity. The high traffic numbers of these sites indicates they do create user value. The long run, real monetizable value of that user value is very likely less than the initial web.

    Creative destruction rules eternal.

    Comment by Patrick Boyd -

  29. Technology has continued increases in productivity. However, wages and employment have not grown at the same rate. And labor creates demand for without a good paying job, the average US employee(making 32,000/year) cannot buy the GI Joe with the kung fu grip while paying 3.00 for gas and 3.50 for milk.

    So there is no demand for the goods produced even though we can produce more cheaper.

    So technology is great. But it\’s the old argument that if robots replace the worker, who\’s going to buy the cars that the robots produce?

    Comment by PSC -

  30. I show people at work how to check work e-mail from home as well as work remotely from home at my job often. We push more and more work to online freelancers, which saves a ton of money. Very few companies are really taking advantage of the internet. People who grew up online are becoming major players in their companies and cutting a lot of costs. Before businesses would host their own e-mail and servers, now they are more likely to farm this out at a fraction of the price. The internet is an area every business could use to save money, unfortunately local techs and old managers speculate on the security problems and don\’t give the global marketplace a real shot.

    Comment by money and finance -

  31. I was going through the Sunday paper and came across an ad for a Dual Core Pentium Laptop for $299 (after re-bate)and a 32“ HDTV for $500. I hope the current recession that the media denies we are in pushes prices down even further.

    Comment by Gregory Rueda -

  32. The 2 current buzz technologies that can help productivity have drawbacks;
    Green Technology is generally more expensive than existing methods, everyone is unwilling to spend more for the same results and that\’s especially true during a recession. Unless there\’s some kind of radical legislation I doubt this will help much.

    Nanotechnology has fantastic potential, it\’s just at a very early stage and will be very costly to develop. Research grants tend to dry up & companies shrink the R&D budget.

    As for the last few years, what have we got? blogging, flash video sharing, social networking, twitter? Everything is so dependant on advertising budgets.

    Comment by Adam -

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