I suppose after reading 'Treasure Island' you should be careful about dots, particularly black ones given to you by sinister visually impaired people called Pugh.
It's a lesson that apparently hasn't been learnt in Silicon Valley, the centre of the dot universe. The valley's caution was thrown to the wind the last five years. Anyone who was anyone had an association with a dot. It was, of course, the world of dotcom mania.
But then we witnessed the bursting of the dot-com bubble, which left lots of casualties. Many have or are expected to die - although a few have survived. The media today talk about the dot-gone, dot-bomb and even dot-dead.
But there's another kind of dot which is cautiously emerging into the commercial light. I think we're starting to see the dot-strong.
Watching a large bubble burst was and is a good media story with plenty of true-life drama. However, we now should turn our attention to the players that have survived and are realising the power of the internet. Enough of the graveyard gossip. Focus on the living, the survivors and the newly created.
I say this because we're starting to see successful use of the internet to reduce costs and realise more efficient processes. It is becoming the power it once promised to be. Look at the airline business that is shortcutting the travel agency industry using online services. Tell me who in the Western civilisation has not bought something directly over the internet from amazon.com. There are many more survivors who are using the dotcom proudly and with sound business ideas.
The dotcoms are already bouncing back and new ones are being created. These stocks, while not burning hot, are showing some signs of life. Some are using the dotcom naming convention, while others are using its real meaning, namely the network. The latest indication came a few weeks ago, when Netflix added its name to the lineup of upcoming IPOs. Los Gatos, California-based Netflix runs an online DVD rental service.
Another company joining the fray is overstock.com. An online retailer offering items at clearance prices, overstock.com plans to hold an IPO that could raise up to $37 million. Overstock.com buys and resells excess inventory from both internet and offline business.
Even net.com has recorded two quarters of growth in an industry that is in a lot of pain. So let's get back to why we have the dot: it is because the ubiquitous network, the internet, is a revolution in networking. A revolution that has only just begun.
It's onwards and upwards for the Dot-strong.
Hubert "Bert" Whyte
Bert Whyte has worked in the telecoms industry for over 30 years. His career kicked off at the old GPO, followed by a partnership with Terry Matthews and the then newly created Mitel Telecommunications.
Within a few years Mitel was sold to BT and Whyte made the move, with Matthews, to a small startup, Newbridge Networks. From initial fledgling company, under Whyte's expertise international business turnover reached £100m within a four-year period.
In 1995 Whyte moved to Newbridge affiliate ACC, the company which was the first to install a node on the internet. Whyte overhauled the firm and presided over its now famous $400m acquisition by Ericsson in 1998.
1999 saw Whyte move again, to become president and chief executive of net.com.
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