Found a funny link through Advertising Lab, a 1995 article from Newsweek wherein the author decided that the internet was nothing more than a passing fad. What’s very interesting about the article is this opening salvo:
But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. 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.
The irony of this comment is that just over 10 years after this article, just about all of the things that the author of that article lists as “baloney” actually exist. Sites like MySpace and Facebook are “virtual communities.” Internet commerce has exploded exponentially, with sites like Amazon and iTunes far outstripping their real world counterparts. Entire libraries of books can be found online and there are colleges that offer online degree programs. So its safe to say that the Newsweek author was more than a little short sighted in his views.
So what can we take from this? Mainly that the only constant is change. It is impossible to predict what the future holds. However, just like the successful companies I noted above. we can take the steps to be at the forefront of the change and to use the change to our advantage.