Farrier? Thats such an old word that I had to look it up
in the dictionary (and the spelling check on my computer doesnt recognize it).
A lot of todays newfangled terminology sounds just as strange and old.
It may be dead before any dictionary bothers to record it.
Lets assume, for a moment,
that we live in a world where the fastest means of transportation
is riding horses or using horses to drag carts and coaches.
Then comes the motorcar. What happens to the
farrier, the chap that shoes horses? If thats
all he knows, his future is rather dismal. If he is a good
blacksmith, he can learn to fix cars.
It may or may not be true that
the web era
is over. But technologies are changing and whats leading
today may be obsolete tomorrow. I know web
specialists who cant read HTML
code. They set up a page with some graphic software, convert it automatically,
and when something goes wrong they dont know how to fix it.
Quite often they dont even bother to check if it works
online. And, whats even worse, they dont care about
content, readability or usability (thats a
catchword today but I dont know many people who understand
what it means). They are only interested in some flashy
technique that may please the eye (until it becomes so common
that its only boring) but doesnt serve any real purpose.
Peculiar? Well, yes; but thats the way most people work.
Even the best web experts may be in trouble,
a few years from now, if all they know is how to set up a
website. I dont know if the next evolution will be in
technology or it will be enough to make a radical change in
something more basic, such as strategy, communication and
content. I dont know if the historians of tomorrow will
consider the world wide web as a lasting feature or a
short-lived phase in the development of the internet. But the
fact is that there will be more failures in e-business if we
dont go back to the original blueprint and understand what
makes the net different from other means of communication.
In the ridiculous proliferation of clumsy
acronyms, the latest fashion is P2P
peer-to-peer. Someone now is suggesting, not unwisely,
that we could make a step forward if we got rid of all the this-to-that
jargon and settled for A2A
anyone-to-anyone. Thats the internet, isnìt it?
The site-centric era is over. It can be
propped-up to keep it artificially in place, but it its only
a prop, a facade, an empty box. It was only a short-lived
disease, one of the growing pains of the net. It was an
attempt to tame the net and force it into a
broadcast pattern. But under that clumsy surface the real,
wild, untamed net, that has no hubs or portals, where each
node (each person) is the center of its own, tailor-made
network... is alive and thriving (hardly noticed by the
mainstream media and the broadcast-minded people who are
startled and confused when the get a glimpse of the real internet).
I am not suggesting that we should go back to gopher,
veronica, anonymous FTP or echomail.
But the big step forward that we must make is back to basics.
Lets forget the jargon and find the simple truths that can
be explained in plain language. Peer to peer
communication is not a new discovery or a new technique
invented by Napster or Gnutella. Its the heart and soul of
the internet. Its actually older than the internet.
There were nets before the internet, and they wanted
interconnection. There was e-mail before the @. There were
newsgroups and mailing lists, communities and netiquette,
before the TCP/IP protocol became a standard.
There was online trading long before anyone coined the word
e-commerce. If some monstrous glitch destroyed all of the internet,
we would have to re-invent it to fit the human needs.
(See Is the internet forever?)
Many billions of investment will be wasted, many
of todays most powerful empires will crumble.
I dont know which, when and how
and I dont really care. I dont think
its particularly important to know which technologies
will replace the rather clumsy stuff that we are using today.
The substance is not technology, its human relations.
Those dont change so quickly. They evolve gradually,
they build up over time, and they are solid ground on which
long-lasting relationships (including business) can be based.