Fear, Greed, Chaos ... and Belly Dancing
: My new Ryze
has written a self-published book called Fear, Greed, Chaos and Broken Dreams in the New Economy
. You meet a lot of crazy people there. Darkbloom and I showed up fashionably late at the mixer at Zanzibar last night and schmoozed the wonderful Rizzo of Oz, among other, and photographed the belly dancing that suddenly broke out. It was worth doing. I cannot repeat the rumor disseminated by the wonderful wizard about the origins of the business networking site, but believe me, it was scurrilous. The martinis may have contributed. Carrie, a reporter from the New York Sun
was circulating with her little notebook. Maybe I can pitch to those guys. In the meantime, I have all this other shite to clear from the stables, such as writing this week's column. Re-reading Kurtzman and Rifkin's Radical E
[Note the first item in the Amazon search result
] gets me started:
Enron, like other great radicals, has transformed not only itself but also an entire industry. By remaking its business model in cyberspace, Enron has forced its competitors to follow suit and has served notice that the status quo would no longer hold. Jeffrey Skilling, Enron's chief executive officer, says, "We are no longer an energy company. We are a company that makes markets. We create the market, and once it is created, we make the market."
Having quickly discovered how powerful the Internet is in moving and trading its core products, Enron has moved into a raft of new commodity markets, including pulp and paper, coal, metals, plastics, chemicals, and even bandwidth ... Kenneth Lay believes that Enron's business model, layered onto the Internet, will remake countless commodity marketplaces and turn them into fertile businesses. The company has created a new organization called Enron Net Works to incubate and spawn these new business opportunities. If it works, Skilling says, Enron Net Works, of which Enron Online is now a part, will become "the Coca-Cola syrup of our company."
Coca-Cola syrup. A pregnant analogy indeed: highly caffeinated but with little or no nutritional value. Add water and bubbles and retail it at 10,000% of your production and distribution costs, which leaves you with an advertising budget larger than the GDP of the former GDR. Yes, indeed: Dynegy, ACS, and UBS Warburg, among others, followed in the footsteps of the compulsive self-appointed prime mover ... and are all now under investigation by the SEC, as the Wall Street Journal reports today, for putting an unethical spin on the notion of what it means to "make" the market. As in the greedy bastards were really "on the make" and looking to "make out like bandits." The Rolling Stones: "And I'm trying to make some girl, def. 24: "to persuade to consent to sexual intercourse : SEDUCE ."
Darkbloom queries me about Chemdex and other online marketplaces doing the same sort of thing. Chemdex died in December of 2000, my dear Fleur Obscure. Credit Internet Wold's Ruhan Memishi with being one of the first to sound a note of skepticism about the whole thingummy in January, 2001not long before being downsized, of course. Who needs cogent analysis, solid writing, and scrupulous reporting? "It turns out the savior of the New Economy needs saving itself," Memishi wrote. It would be interesting to get the reactions of cheerleaders like Net Market Makers to recent developments.
Ah, Internet World, Internet World. Maybe I should just take that off my résumé and say I was in a Benedictine monastery under a vow of silence all that year. Here's a recent lead:
Imagine extracting from your Web site all the vital information your company needs from its customers to survive in the enterprise. Coremetrics Marketforce, the newest product release from Coremetrics, a Web services provider of marketing analytics solutions, claims it can do just that.
Wow, really? Stop the presses! Imagine capturing data from your Web site! Why didn't anyone think of that before? This is a serious claim, and merits serious investigation. Let's start with the press release. Leaving the syntactical infelicities aside for a moment, note the following: There are, in fact, 200 other companies listed in the Google index under "marketing analytics" and "sales and marketing productivity." E.Piphany? Sales Force? Dave Carrnow at Baseline?on Siebelwith that unfortunate headline, "Analyzing the Back End," which sounds like an article on Freudian proctology from Giles, Goat-Boy to go with Pynchon's Dr. Dudley Eigenvalue, the psychoanalytic dentist? A case study in the squandering of intellectual and human capital and institutional memory: Internet World. You know, the Web site does still maintain a couple years worth of archives, you could actually look this shit up. Hey, there are probably even some boxes of old Web Weeks around somewhere!
Oops. I did a tirade, and beat a dead horse, besides. Good thing nobody reads this. Zippy is of course exempted. And me with shit to do. I want to grow up to be Roy Edroso.