Never ride a comet without an ejection seat

With all the hype about Internet, we may be missing something. Sure we all want to be able to make money out of this phenomenon, but wait a minute, if every body is looking under the same rock, maybe we should look some where else. We've seen it before, it's the same-old same-old that happened about three years ago.

Back in 1992 BC (before connectivity) there was little new under the sun, Desktop Publishing had come and gone and many in the IT industry were wondering just how they were going to make (or lose) their next fortune.

Around that time some clever manufacturers and early adopters were beating the boards trying to get people to recognise the significance of multimedia. Nobody wanted to know, many were still caught up in their '80's ponytails convinced that if it was not a corporate product, it was for losers.

After being rejected by the best of them, even multimedia evangelists started to think of multimedia as a "SWAP" (solution without a problem). However, persistence counts and something must have clicked because within two years there was nothing else that counted. If it wasn't multimedia it wasn't significant. But something else did matter . . . Internet.

It must have come as a terrible shock to those who rode the multimedia comet up to the top and forgot to eject before it crashed down to earth. It came quickly. Multimedia was no longer the star it used to be. Internet took over, overnight, and some didn't notice till too late. Get the message? If everybody is looking into how to ride that Internet comet, why not look somewhere else . . . at least keep your ejection seat working!

"OK, OK," I hear you say, "It's easy to preach but what the hell IS new?"

"I'm glad you asked," he says as he cranks up the Gospel Singers.

A couple of years ago I predicted that by now we would be making, selling and buying Domicile PCs, no . . . no . . . not SOHO PCs, Domicile PCs. Fast PCs that live in a cupboard somewhere in the house and serve as the nucleus for all the data that comes into, around and out of our homes. The server that all the other PCs in the house would be connected to.

Perhaps I was a bit optimistic, it's nearly 1997 and there is no Domicile in sight. But I see in the Press lately that some of the smarter players are thinking of exactly the same idea.

The moral is if we all get embroiled in passing trends, if we all close our eyes to new ideas and concepts, we may find ourselves left way behind. Haven't you ever noticed that most of the world's greatest ideas come from small start-up companies? The ideas are born to them and not to the multinational big shots, for they have a vision that is not impaired by the need to play safe for the shareholders' sakes.

Internet is a no brainer, a bandwagon, a safe bet. But as any gambler will tell you, it's the people that make the safe bets that fuel the big wins for those who dare.