Wall Street Journal Suggests Internet Is Dead
July 19, 2009
The addled goose is not certain if the story “The Internet Is Dead (As An Investment)” will be online without a charge when you click the link. Newspapers fascinate me. Some of their information is free; some transient; and some available for hard cash.
What I find useful to follow are stories that make it clear that certain business sectors are “dead”. In Heathrow on Friday, June 17, 2009, I received a free Daily Telegraph when I bought a nut and granola bar. I did not want a newspaper because my Boingo connection was alive. Even though the Daily Telegraph was a svelte bundle of paper, the news was old. Free “yesterday” was not compelling. The argument in James Altucher’s wealth column is that utilities like electricity and the Internet are linked in this way:
Electricity greatly improved our quality of life. But I’m not going to get excited about buying a basket of utility companies. Same for the Internet. Can’t live without it, but can’t live with it (in my portfolio).
I recall reading a business monograph The Mind Of The Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business by Kenichi Ohmae. Now more than a decade old, I recall the case analysis of the bulk chemical business. I wonder if that discussion of an uninteresting, commodity business holds some truths for Mr. Altucher and newspapers thinking along the same lines as the Wall Street Journal. The Daily Telegraph may benefit as well. There were many discarded Telegraphs in the lounge at Heathrow. Online economics requires a recalibration of some business yardsticks. Is Internet investment dead like the company who hit the jackpot with bulk chemicals? Glittering generalities are useful but may reveal more about the thinking of a newspaper’s editorial team beliefs, not the opportunities utilities and commodities represent.
Stephen Arnold, July 19, 2009