Thursday, June 14, 2012

More 1999 Flashbacks: Predictions

Back in the 90s—and even today—you can't go to any kind of industry or technology event without finding people making predictions, which are usually wrong. Even amidst the tech bubble there were always pockets of analysts (usually in the printing industry) who insisted that the whole "Internet" thing was a fad that was just going to go away (some people in the printing industry still say that!). So in that 1999 faux news column in Micro Publishing News, I had to include a panel of expert predictions, written from the perspective of 1996:
Panel of Experts Predicts Death of Web by 1998 
A panel of leading industry experts convened in San Francisco in January to discuss the future of computing. The leading experts in both the print and computer graphics industries unanimously agreed that the World Wide Web, which has seen tremendous growth in the past six months, will be dead by 1998.
“We really don’t see this continuing,” said Cassandra Doomsayer. “Who in their right mind is going to want to sit at a computer for hours on end waiting for graphics and text to load?” 
“I give it two years,” concurred Nestor C. Calhoun. “By ’98, the Internet will be but a footnote to the history of technology.” 
The panel also agreed that proposals to begin what has been referred to as “E-commerce” will fail dismally. 
“Oh, come on,” said Doomsayer. “Buy stuff online? Give me a break. These people are idiots.” 
The panel also recommended against investment in Internet startups. “Anyone buying stock in an Internet company will never see a profit,” said Calhoun. “They’re just going to lose a ton of money.” (1996)
That last paragraph, though, was eerily prophetic...

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