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What lessons can be learned ?

Firstly, the rate of change is perhaps not quite as simple as imagined. The atavism of generations is difficult to dispute. The exponential development of Internet is not quite as all embracing as some lecturers would have us believe : I suppose that like me, you have heard it said that Internet needed only a seventh of the time that the black and white television took to penetrate the domestic household. Given that Internet is 30 years old in 1999 (don't forget that it's another name for ARPAnet, which was created in 1969), Black and white television would have needed 7 x 30 years (210 years) to make its impact. In fact, the calculations of these optimistic statisticians are based only on the latest applications of Internet, which appeared very recently (late 1992/early 1993) and which has spread very rapidly, but which is based on an update of much older products (the computer and computer network).

Internet is therefore a mature phenomenon, and the NSADAQ has not invested in a fashionable gimmick, but in a technology which will be common throughout the world in two or three years.

Next, the impact of the new technologies is much more predictable than is generally thought. The rapid expansion of electronic commerce in particular was anticipated to take place at the beginning of the 2000s : phase 3, the appropriation of computer technology, took place in the years 1980-90 and has thus prepared a whole generation for the concept of buying by computer. Video games, computer-assisted teaching and network communications have helped familiarise the general public with computer technology. The development of electronic commerce is thus clearly not a theoretical or local phenomenon but relates to a whole generation. You only have to count the number of Nintendo or Sega consoles in French households in 1990, and add 10-15 years for the children who are playing to find work, to find the number and profile of consumers in 200-2005. The equation may appear simplistic, but to me it seems equally accurate as the many surveys which have been published recently. These surveys are often based on canvassing methods which are perfectly relevant for clearly defined markets, but totally unsuitable for the emerging market of electronic commerce, which will mostly consist of completely new products. And here history can help us to identify which products and services will make up the basis of the digital economy.


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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

We still believe in innovation, creativity, rigour and results control.

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