Hype Free Zone

Am I the only one fed up with dotcom hype? My favourite exaggeration is the line of thinking that claims "There are no rules on the Internet". That's bunk. As anyone who's ever built a Web site can tell you, there are plenty of rules.

Rule number one: technology makes all the rules. The technology path you choose, and your ability to master the tools at your disposal, dictates your options and frames every decision you make.

Another rule? The rules of good business apply online just like they do everywhere else.

The story of business on the Web is not about a bunch of Silicon Valley whizz-kids gambling with other people's money. The real story is how the Internet is transforming traditional companies, and forcing them to adapt or perish in a wired world by finding new markets, new relationships and new notions of corporate culture - without losing their good old common sense.

Because if any rules do apply to online commerce then certainly they are the old rules of sound business practices - ideas like listening to your customers, showing strong leadership and encouraging innovation.

There can be little doubt that traditional bricks-and-mortar companies have the most to lose - and gain - from the new economy. In today's world of online business, no company can afford to adopt the attitude that it's safer to observe the Internet shake-out from afar. Equally risky is the assumption that, because bricks-and-mortar companies weren't the first in the Internet space, they don't have the opportunity to create new sources of revenue and value for themselves.

That's where WebBusiness comes in. You won't find any starry-eyed hyperbole about the Internet in these pages. Our sole aim is to help e-enablers learn from the example of other blue-chip companies that are successfully addressing the challenges - and opportunities - posed by online commerce.

After all, people can throw around the terms "e-business" and "e-commerce" until they're blue in the face, but as far as we're concerned there are only two words that really matter when you're talking about business - profit and loss.

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