Seth Godin's recent comments about the current state of the Internet are worth a few comments:
1. Penetration. There are 50 times as many people using the Net as there were then. 50x is a multiple you don't see every day.
Not only that, the Net is no longer a behavior for fring or the bleeding edge of society. The quality of the people has improved dramatically to the point that retirees are going to be spending their retirements as function of web-enabled services and products.
2. Bandwidth. It's easy to forget how horrible modem surfing was. The prevalence of high bandwidth connectivity means that surfing is far more natural, more frequent and that the experience is better as well.
The more I see, the more I want to buy. So back then, it took 15 minutes to do an e-commerce transaction, now I can learn all about a product in 2 minutes with the benefit of rich content and spend another 1 minute making the purchase. In the next 12 minutes, I'm off to 3 other websites to find something else to buy!
3. Tools. You can launch most any online service with almost no custom programming. Changethis.com demonstrated to me how straightforward this has become. It also means that finding the world's greatest programmer is no longer a critical component for most services.
Brilliant Seth. It's all about the idea and the brand and the execution, not the nuts and bolts.
4. Servers. When google can offer a gig of storage for free, it's proof that server space is essentially free. You may recall that just
threeten years ago, a onethree gig hard drive cost $3000.
Just about FREE. The state of data is increasingly important if I can time-shift every media experience. For 99% of what I do, 24 hours old is fine with me. Just update that 100 terabyte hard drive in my home and business at 2AM. Thank you!
5. Wifi. The next generation of wifi will be faster, but more important, have a vastly improved range. Which means, for example, that all of downtown Philadelphia will offer free wifi. With ubiquity will come cheap machines that dramatically increase the number of surfers, and put those surfers most everywhere.
I used to think about computing at my desk, now I can think about computing anywhere!
6. Multimedia. The web is still stuck in ASCII world, but not for long. Add a few million video cameras, fifty million cell phone cameras, every song ever recorded, every TV show and movie ever made and the contents of most any scholarly book and it gets interesting fast. Sure, the lunkheads at the RIAA and MPAA will make up lies to try to stop it, but the cosmic jukebox meets the realtime surveillance camera is going to happen.
That's why I want 100 terabytes!
7. Grandmothers. It is no longer necessary to explain to the average American (of any generation) what this "Internet thing" is. Google has made the world safe for entrepreneurs. Don't underestimate how important this is.
Oh yea, I already said this. The people with REAL money are online.
8. Teenagers. The Yahoo generation is now getting driver's licenses!! These are kids who have grown up without encyclopedias or videocassettes or lps. These are kids who have completely and permanently integrated the Net into their lives and are about to go to work and to college.
Connectivity is not an option. It's what they do.
9. VC. Fred Wilson (Link: A VC.) has more than a hundred million dollars to invest in great Net companies. So do a dozen or more other (less talented) venture capitalists. Given that it takes far less money today (see #10 and #3) than ever, this means the search for money is not the challenge.
I think this has been true for about 2 years.
10. The death of TV. (It wouldn't be a Seth Godin post if I didn't mention the death of TV, would it?) You know what killed the first crop of stupid $100 million Internet consumer service startups? Advertising. They all believed that they need to spend millions to build a brand. Today, we've got proof--every single (no exceptions!) Internet success is a success because of Unleashing the ideavirus. It's not TV ads. It's word of mouse.
Thanks Seth. Got to put that in. One last little jab for the clunky CRT in the living room. I gave mine to Goodwill in 2001.