July 11th, 1995

Business As Usual: A Surefire Path to Internet Oblivion

07/11/95 RMIUG Meeting Minutes - Business As Usual: A Surefire Path to Internet Oblivion

The 18th monthly meeting of the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group was held Tuesday, July 11th. Attendance was about 110 people. Dan Murray MC'd the meeting. (Next meeting is Aug 8th on Telecommuting - see below.)


***RMIUG needs a NIST sponsor. If you work at NIST or know someone who does, please contact dan@rmiug.org ***

There are still 4 RMIUG T-shirts which have been paid for, but not claimed. The following people should contact dan@rmiug.org ASAP: Frank Douglas, Katie Walter, David Sanders and Kelly Long. Also, anyone interested in purchasing an RMIUG shirt ($20) should send email.

Alek mentioned the RMIUG BBQ, which was held last Saturday and was a lot of fun; we'll put details (and a picture or two) up on our Web Site shortly.

The Denver International School is seeking donated Mac computers. Contact Richard Miller at thepoet@netcom.com for details.

The Denver Post Business section has just started a new monthly section called End User that will appear the second Monday of each month. It looks at how computers are changing our lives and the first issue (7/10) deals with Windows 95, viruses and online commerce.


Our featured presentation was given by Christopher Locke (clocke@panix.com), Editor and Publisher of Net Editors from internetMCI. Mr. Locke spoke on "Business As Usual: A Surefire Path to Internet Oblivion." Net Editors can be found at http://www.internetmci.com/whats-new/editors and Mr. Locke's homepage is at http://www.panix.com/~clocke.

Christopher Locke talked about "thick description", a type of detailed narrative common to some cultures and seen in places on the Net. He told the story of how US automobile companies were living "one big happy delusional trip" as their markets eroded and customers fled to import models. The economy is changing, as former economies of scale which fed mass markets are changing into economies of scope - as companies offer customized products to many small market niches.

Large companies were compared to drug addicts, mainlining cash instead of heroin and engaging in a dysfunctional rush for the bucks. When they bring this philosophy to the Net, they run head-on into the cultural aspects of the Net and try to force a mass-market mindset where it doesn't work. One key to success in business is tapping into the local knowledge held by front line workers, that companies rarely recognize. The Net serves as a gigantic nervous system with many tiny fibers (people) connected to a larger whole.

Mr. Locke described the 5 C's for business success on the net: Content, Communication factors that link people, Communities of interest, Corporate participation (not advertising), and Commerce. It is a model of creating online communities of interest (vocational, avocational or regional) that people are drawn into and having the participation of companies with offerings that are interesting to those communities. It is not intrusively shoving mass market ads in front of a huge mass of undifferentiated netizens, and it is not television with a "buy button". In fact, Reebok's Web site doesn't really even do any merchandising - it builds "mind share" in their customer base, with links to Amnesty International, etc.

Why not use intrusive advertising on the Net? Nobody will listen - they have too many other choices. The Net is an "attention economy" where companies must capture the interest of online consumers before selling them anything. As consumers get online, they wake up and become changed consumers. They are not passively mesmerized, they seek information and participate in discussions. The idea of "Joe six-pack consumer" is becoming a myth. As consumers, we get a say in what is acceptable and we vote with our mouse clicks about what we want to see on the Internet. Companies that offer what online consumers want, and respect the culture of the Internet will win, ultimately.

RMIUG wishes to thank Internet One of Boulder for sponsoring the refreshments, NIST for the use of their meeting room, and XOR Network Engineering for maintenance of RMIUG's WWW site and email lists.

Suggestions/comments/feedback are always welcome - please email these to rmiug-comm@rmiug.org.

RMIUG has 3 email lists for its members. Send an Email to rmiug@rmiug.org for an auto-reply message with more info ...

The next meeting of RMIUG will include a telecommuting panel. The meeting is scheduled for August 8th. Please send any questions you want to pose to the telecommuters to rholt@rmiug.org. Randy will forward these questions to the panel members to provide them an opportunity to address as many questions as possible with in-depth answers.

Dan Murray

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