SAN FRANCISCO (04/03/2000) - To B2B or not to B2B That is the question. Just when you thought you'd seen the height of B2B madness, along come a few new players eager to cash in on the hottest business model since, well, Crossworlds CEO Katrina Garnett.
Fresh on the heels of a successful London musical based on their works, the Swedish supergroup ABBA launched a site today called AB2BA, a massive online marketplace that will deliver MP3 versions of the pop group's oeuvre to a select audience of leading industrial players. Among the major customers are such heavy hitters as IBM, Ford and Cargill, which cite studies by industrial anthropologists noting the increased productivity of workers who can structure their shop floor work to the beat of such hits as "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia." The venture plans to roll out the project under the slogan "Wired with Waterloo."
Also jumping on the B2bandwagon is the Children's Television Workshop, which has announced A2B2C, an online literacy venture that will help spread the reading bug to all the child employees of the world. Hot on that project's heels is BBB2B, the electronic delivery of services from the Better Business Bureau. Finally, Amazon.com, concerned that its dominance over the now-pedestrian B2C market might vaporize its market cap, announced Bezos2B, an electronic marketplace that will deliver the pronouncements of BBJB (balding billionaire Jeff Bezos) to businesses and business reporters via a vast digital agora. ""Such a marketplace will save billions of dollars in productivity for readers, analysts, and consumers, who would otherwise have to troll through such disparate sources as Time magazine, "60 Minutes," and various and sundry business publications," said a spokesperson for the company. Of course, not everyone is B2besotted. Some question the staying power of the current craze.
"Personally, I never meta model I didn't like," said Forest Gomez of Advisors Reports. "But at the end of the day investors must ask: Is this model really the B2B-all and end-all - or is it a crock of B2b.s.?"
Tunnel Visionary Boston's famed Big Dig project has always set its sights low (120 feet below ground, that is), but not until recent months has the project become truly depressed.
News of a billion-and-a-half-dollar overrun for the gargantuan highway project has led to congressional outrage, public recrimination and gnawing private doubts that this huge undertaking will ever be completed. Into the maw has stepped Internet idea maven Bill Gross, who identifies the salient features of the Big Dig - exponentially growing financial losses, major delays and promises to provide high-speed access to affluent folks from wealthy suburbs - as the key components for a Net IPO.
Announcing plans to bring "Bigdig.com" public, Gross said, "This massive construction project represents the mother of all public works. Why shouldn't it have its own public offering? What is the Big Dig, after all, but the ultimate portal?"
Gross calls the project "the cement-and-girder highway for the millions of workers building the information superhighway." Several local sponsors have offered support. Regional advertising giant Hill Holiday plans to run an ad in next year's Super Bowl featuring a team of construction-hat-wearing football players pouring money into a ditch. As the dollar bills flood into the tunnel, an announcer intones, "When you're $14 billion in the hole, it's no time to punt."
Another local player, Waltham, Mass.-based Lycos, sees a branding opportunity.
At the Big Dig's entrance and exit the portal will post billboards bearing the legend, "Lycos: At the end of the tunnel." Justifying the scale of the project, Gross compared it to Microsoft's recently released Windows 2000: "The Big Dig will take just about as long to complete, will cost just about as much, and will be just as obsolete by the time it opens for business."
The Business of America Is Business . . . News Citing overwhelming public interest in the actions of the head of the Federal Reserve Board, C-Span announced today that it would scrap its political and cultural reporting, as well as all live and taped coverage of congressional hearings, in favor of round-the-clock coverage of our leading banker.
The network's new name: "Green-Span." Green-Span will feature all-Alan, all the time. Programs will include "Dressed to the Nines," in which fashion consultants forecast economic trends based on the patterns of his ties, and "Cooking With Irrational Exuberance!", in which our central banker dons a chef's hat in order to cook his favorite savory meats. During the summer doldrums, the station will rerun viewer favorites, which will almost certainly include Alpha Male Al's appearance on "Jeopardy." (The Green man's golden categories: Global Currencies, Historic Wage Freezes, Obfuscation, and Andrea Mitchell.) In a related move, medial mogul Steven Brill announced the launching of his next niche-TV network, "cc: CNBC-CNNfn." As Court TV dedicates itself to news and features about the judicial system, cc: CNBC-CNNfn will only cover news about business news. A pundit has already dubbed it "Must cc TV." Not to be outdone by Green-span's rerun policy, cc: CNBC-CNNfn will fill up the dog days with guest appearances by Lou Dobbs, who will use a Pop-up Video format to narrate classic editions of Moneyline. Brill's meta-content play will also air a series revolving around the colorful names of financial reporters. Kelli Arena will explore the merits of various sporting venues, Willow Bay will host a show about trees and Kitty Pilgrim will expose the pros and cons of Thanksgiving.