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Hype and Anti-Hype

It seems astonishing to me that the entire technology market can oscillate from one extreme of hype to the other in such a short time. It's almost as if, just as it is with matter and anti-matter in particle physics, for every piece of hype there's another 'opposite' piece of 'anti-hype'.

Over the past months we've entered a seemingly un-ending field of anti-hype—'Business to Consumer E-commerce is a dud' it seems and 'Online Advertising doesn't pay', indeed you might be forgiven for wondering 'how can we all have been so stupid....'

The basic truth is that it's just as stupid to let yourself be lured by the new doomsayers (many of whom—rather oddly—were the old promoters...) as it was to believe the hucksters and promoters of the early hype.

The problem is that during a gold rush the guy in the corner who mutters things like 'Pick the ground carefully', or 'make sure you buy the right pickaxes', or (worst of all) 'don't expect to hit a big seam for some time' is usually trampled, or just ignored as a boring old geezer who simply doesn't understand.

History shows that in the real world goldrushes of the 19th and 20th centuries it was the slow moving, dull types that made the most money and for the longest period of time. Whilst a few pioneers got extraordinarily lucky, the real riches went to the people that took their time, picked the ground carefully and made sure they had the right pick-axes.

There is still a ton of gold in 'them there hills', e-commerce expenditure is still growing sharply, and even with concerns about a decline in consumer spending the importance of business to consumer e-commerce will continue to grow, and as it does you can expect more of the pioneers to fall by the wayside—leaving the riches to be divided between the hardy survivors, and the savvy types who stood aside to let the stampede pass in the sure and certain knowledge that most would fail—just as they'd nearly completed blazing the trail.

About the Author

Gary Barnett is IT research director at Ovum Ltd., a United Kingdom-based consulting firm.

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