In the beginning ... According to the Bible, Adam was God’s greatest creation and last original idea. Eve was merely a variation of the theme, although she was decidedly the more attractive of the two, and obviously had several magnificent attributes that Adam lacked. “Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis, 2. 23. In a quite a miraculous, non-invasive procedure, God took a rib from Adam without leaving him disfigured or misshapen, made some interesting changes to the original idea, and created the lovely Eve with complementary, but different and distinct anatomical features.
If instead you subscribe to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, then you believe that we are all only a variation of the theme as the theory espouses that all life is related and has descended from a common ancestor. Whatever your beliefs, “variation of the theme” is the common thread that everyone can agree upon.
And so it is with the World Wide Web and all things Internet based. Although many devotees believe that the Internet is the greatest creation since Adam (no disrespect to Eve), nothing could be further from the truth. As it was in the theory of creation, and in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the Internet is merely a variation of a theme. And what is the theme you ask? Communication! What is communication? One of our favourite definitions is from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education – Communication is “The successful transmission of information through a common system of symbols, signs, behavior, speech, writing, or signal”.
The world at large seems to have bought into the mistaken notion that the Internet is a fantastic, new creation because it is a media darling and something sexy for hungry marketers to sink their teeth into. The Internet is a news maker, a headline grabber, and has spawned billions of dollars in new businesses. It has become its own industry. However, in simplistic terms, the Internet is nothing more than a variation of a theme. It has evolved naturally as a form of communication that began at the beginning.
Nothing is new! “Those that forget history are bound to repeat it,” said Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. While politicians simply ignore the lessons of history, marketing professionals believe that with a little razzle-dazzle and a slick dog and pony show, you won’t notice that the latest and greatest thing to hit the planet today is no more than yesterday’s news repackaged, repurposed, renamed, and launched to an unsuspecting public. The marketplace and technology are in a constant state of evolution and revolution and the one thing that you can be guaranteed is that everything old becomes new again. As Marshall McLuhan said, "When a thing is current, it creates currency."
By simply understanding the principal that the Internet is no more than a variation of a theme, you too will become a cynic on how the Internet has been adopted, manipulated, and marketed to both business and the general public. Marketers want us to believe that email and email/Internet marketing are new fangled inventions created by their brilliant minds that can and should be exploited at every opportunity and that the concepts of blogs and social media are totally new phenomena that have never before existed in our history. Not true! Just as their predecessors faded to black after their equivalent of Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame, so will these latest and greatest technological marvels just as soon as the new latest and greatest bursts upon the scene.
This book will examine several of the leading web fads and technology from a historical perspective. As Howard Schultz, the Chairman and CEO of Starbucks said so eloquently, "We would take something old and tired and common - coffee - and weave a sense of romance and community around it."
Once the romance and the hype are removed you will be able to clearly view the World Wide Web, the Internet, and technology with an Old World eye. Leveraging the historical perspective into your everyday decision making process will maximize your ability to create profit and success.