Stories by Kevin Fogarty

E-Retailing Still Stinks

I had a friend once whose insight on personal relations and prejudgment was that "stereotypes exist because stereotypes exist." Pretty intolerant, really, but he was right in one sense. I know too many slimy lawyers, boring accountants and programmers who can't communicate with biological organisms to really question the validity of some stereotypes.

The E-Commerce Coup

My father used to have a T-shirt that read, "Age and treachery will always triumph over youth and energy." A couple of decades after I was outraged by it, I agree.

E-comm leap of faith onto the rocks

You know what disappoints me about the recent flameouts among the dotcoms? Not that it's happening - everyone knew it was coming. Having dotcom as part of your company name is practically an advertisement that you plan to live fast and die young.

Guest column: The Banality of Failure

You know what disappoints me about the recent flameouts among the dot-coms? Not that it's happening -- everyone knew it was coming. Having dot-com as part of your company name is practically an advertisement that you plan to live fast and die young.

E-commerce ideas aren't enough

Sometimes, it's not what you know, it's what else you know. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning philosopho-history Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond says human societies develop at different rates, but not because of differences in intelligence or ambition. Instead, he argues, some develop faster because of almost accidental alignments of specific technological developments.

Bricks and Clicks: Layoffs are Shortsighted

In an effort to shore up its bottom line a couple of weeks ago, IBM Global Services sold itself short In the hottest economy in decades, with an average U.S. unemployment rate below 4%, at a time when IT jobs at just about every company are going unfilled, IBM Corp. announced it's laying off 1,000 specialists in Y2k and other projects that are no longer active.

Privacy Disasters

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which went into effect a couple of weeks ago, will be the most influential piece of failed legislation to hit the e-commerce world since a federal judge a few years ago tried to reverse telegraph-era case law by ruling that contracts negotiated across a wire aren't legally binding.

Muddling Through to a Disaster

In Brazil three weeks ago, 2,000 angry commuters set fire to a train after it broke down on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. I'm guessing it wasn't the first time that train was late.

Making the Right Bet on ASPs

Until I talked to Scott Manville, I never really got the whole application service provider thing, at least for big companies. Manville is a senior vice president at U.S. Trust in New York. He's a smart, experienced IT guy. He thinks ASPs are a good idea - but not for the reasons I'd always heard. The basic ASP concept is to outsource a whole application. You pay a subscription fee, and the ASP hosts the application, runs it, maintains it and upgrades it as necessary.

Raise Net Standards

In the ready-fire-aim culture of the Web, stopping to assess a problem is seen as a death sentence. Site goes down? Throw servers at it! Throw bandwidth at it! Sure, it costs a lot, but the site's back up, right?

Strategies lose out when fear rules

How much of your e-commerce strategy is driven by fear? A friend of mine works in a top-flight financial services company. Lots of history, lots of infrastructure. A sophisticated, tough-minded, aggressive place that sells specialised info to investment banks and other mega traders, using expensive proprietary computers and networks.

Strategies Ruled by Fear

How much of your e-commerce strategy is driven by fear? A friend of mine works in a top-flight financial services company. Lots of history, lots of infrastructure. A sophisticated, tough-minded, aggressive place that sells specialized info to investment banks and other uber-traders, using expensive proprietary computers and networks.

It Pays to Work With Your Enemy

A nice but overscripted PR person called me last week to talk about a vendor's "holistic, interactive enterprise Internet business solution" and didn't understand why I thought the phrase was funny. That kind of over-the-top hyperbole makes many IT vendors, especially start-ups, sound like they're joking - or just plain nuts.

Can't Beat 'Em? Buy 'Em

This week, an Internet company that started life as little more than a bulletin board for gamers announced a deal to take control of the most powerful brick-and-mortar media company on Earth. Neat trick, eh?

Guest column: Threat of e-retailing Is overstated -- for now

Is it time to end the myth that retailers (and almost anyone else) who don't already have hot e-commerce sites up are dead? Really, I hear this all the time: "The pure plays are so far ahead of the brick-and-mortar players that traditional retailers don't have a chance to catch up. Amazon.com is the wave of the future, and laggards are dinosaurs that no one will even bother to dig up in a few years."