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Friday, May 3, 2013

Internet Curse or Blessing


Did you really believe the rumor that Vice President Al Gore invented the Internet?  He can be a little too relaxed in his talks, and maybe even a little clumsy, but he never made that claim, as he is often quoted, and ridiculed about.  The following information is more factual than the rumors that have circulated since soon after he was interviewed in 1999;

  • Gore co-sponsored the legislation that created defensenet, a project that military computers and later grew into the worldwide web.
  • He was pretty much the "Alpha Geek" in the senate from the early 80's, sponsoring and promoting internet related legislation and helping remove the legal obstacles to make the modern internet possible.
  • While the claim, "I invented the internet," is exaggeration to the point of hubris, Gore was instrumental in the rapid growth of the information superhighway and with Bill Bradley led the group of technogeeks which became known as the "Atari Democrats."

Many times over the years, research and development, initially meant for the benefit of the Military, has ended up changing society’s everyday life.  NASA is another fine example of how we have achieved so many advances and improved our lives.  I’ve always made the most of life despite what society may be doing at the time.  I prefer to think of it as ingenuity, and entrepreneurship spirit.  Consider that before the Internet (world-wide-web) news traveled very slowly.  My belief was that trends happening in Los Angeles, New York, or Miami would actually take about 5 years to finally arrive in the Northwest and other far corners of the continental United States.

It was during that period prior to the Internet that I would physically travel to the major cities known for starting trends and then come back and introduce a new item or idea to my turf.  I once made a trip to Los Angeles when the DVD was just starting to take off, and purchased five hundred used rental movies in VHS format at a time.  I found many listing in the Classifieds offerings of used Spanish language rental movie DVD’s for sale for $8 each.  When I started talking quantity, the price was lowered to $4 each.  I shipped them to the Northwest and sold them for $12.99 or $9 each if purchased in quantities no less than 25 at a time.

I repeated the same process with t-shirts and iron on decals.  In quantities my purchase price dropped from 90 cents per decal to 35 cents in quantities of 60 at a time, in a variety of designs.  My T-shirts price went down from $6 each to $1.80 each when purchased in quantities of 144 at a time.  The opportunities even today are still out there even easier (thanks to the Internet) to get into, you just have to remember it’s not how much you make, its how much you keep.

So everything today is a lot easier to get into, the problem is that in the past a sharp mind was all the resource you needed.  Today any person or child with half a brain and Internet access can compete with you.    In the old days long as you protected your sources, you could limit competition.  Today the playing field has been leveled, if you can Google, you can compete.

As shown recently with the incident in Boston, the social media helped capture the culprits (the good side of the Internet).  Very likely the culprits were able to communicate and learn how to make the devices thanks to the Internet (the bad side of the Internet).

Curse or Blessing; the fact is, it’s here to stay.  Evil will use it for Evil purposes, and Good will use it for Good things, there will be a few victims along the way; don’t be a victim. You may as well put it to work for you, and give yourself the advantage you need to be and stay competitive.  The best is yet to come…..

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