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The Web: Nothing Is Lost, Nothing Is Created… Everything Is Constantly Changing!

June 16th 2009

I am in the middle of a conference at the Quebec Webcamp, and I am struck by a strange feeling of déjà vu, of repetition. My comment here is not meant to be derogatory or pretentious but rather questioning.

There is an intense desire to find the magic recipe to quickly transform water into wine, that is, to change the virtual into the real. Nothing wrong with this level since in business, imperatives and short-term results are essential.

What questions me is the presence of a possible short-term vision that reduces hindsight on subjects that can only be addressed seriously with a more significant time horizon.

Moreover, thinking based on a look only forward automatically ejects any experience that could prove very useful for concrete and rapid progress in a young universe like the Web.

Having said that, I reiterate my fervor for the potential of the Web as a key marketing tool. However, I also believe that the technical community and the way we approach the Web should be more inspired by the historical evolution of IT.

Rising above the technology-for-technology controversy, it is very impressive to note that the questions and challenges raised by Web Geeks today have, for the most part, been addressed, thought and through, sometimes resolved, sometimes not, by the “old Geeks” of so-called “traditional” computing.

Thus, despite all the signals and leads launched regarding the changes in the business model imposed by the Web during this day, all the debates generated by the speakers bring back old classic management themes entirely independent of technologies:

  • How can we better serve our customers?
  • How to better network and market our products and services?
  • How to reduce costs?
  • How to quickly develop applications?
  • How to quickly implement and deploy an application?
  • How to better manage the efficiency of our employees?

With the web, I feel that we are looking to use a new hammer model but that we are helpless in the face of its new possibilities. As if we had never really mastered the old hammer model. As if we had escaped or lost some basic knowledge. For example, on the structure of a nail, its mechanical utility, its possible applications and how to use it with a hammer.

So it is not the "What" but the "How" that takes precedence; how crucial it is to learn how to learn during our formative years rather than simply swallowing up information for information.

When you approach the new possibilities of the Web as part of your research for new ways of doing things in business, be sure to take the necessary step back to identify the backdrop, the key objective behind your continuous improvement approach.

Because fundamentally, in terms of best practices for the use of technologies, nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is constantly adapting to new technical possibilities that emerge over time.

In the end, of course, congratulations to the organizers of the first Quebec Webcamp. A great activity that forces us to rethink our ways of thinking and question our preconceived ideas. Bravo to the VETIQ initiative!

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