Hype and Anti-Hype
- By Gary Barnett
- April 16, 2001
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.
Gary Barnett is IT research director at Ovum Ltd., a United Kingdom-based consulting firm.