Home :: About InfoWorld :: Advertise :: Subscribe :: Contact Us :: Awards :: Events
InfoWorld HomeNewsTest CenterOpinionsTechIndex

E-Business Secrets

Survey results are shocking: It's a tie


By  Brian Livingston January 08, 2002  

I asked E-Business Secrets readers on Dec. 20 to answer one question: "Shall I concentrate more on Web management, Web development, or some 'Other' response?" I designed this survey to help me understand some curious patterns in the items clicked on by a sampling of my readership.


Well, I now know why the patterns were confusing. Almost precisely the same number of survey respondents want more on Web management as want more on Web development. Here are the figures, with an "x" in the bar chart representing 2 percentage points:

Votes Percent

665 42.66% xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Management

652 41.81% xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Development

242 15.52% xxxxxxxx Other

Because this survey wasn't a scientific sample, I consider the decimal places insignificant. Thus, with the two main choices winding up less than 1 percentage point apart, I can only reach two broad conclusions:

1. I should dig up even more secrets on Web management.

2. I should dig up even more secrets on Web development.

That's right: I'm going to make E-Business Secrets even better on BOTH the management and the development of e-commerce sites -- without creating ghettos such as "Developers' Corner" and the like. I'll just integrate everything into the mix, and you can pick and choose what's most relevant.

Also, in response to some of my readers' comments on the importance of the lighter side of the Internet, I'm starting a new feature called "Wacky Web Week." This will appear at the end of the column, replacing what was previously known as "This Week's 'They Can't Do That on the Web' Page." (I'm not promising to run a Wacky Web Week item every week, only in those weeks where I find something that meets my wacky standards.)

As usual, I was very impressed with the information in my readers' comments and the important positions held by many people who read this newsletter. This week, as a result, I'm dispensing with my usual format to run some comments from those who voted for more on Web management. Next week, we'll hear from those who wanted more on Web development, followed by those who chose "Other."

"I liken the Internet to the microwave oven. ... People thought you would use the microwave for everything from baking a cake to cooking a turkey. Today, of course, we use our microwaves for only a few tasks, such as heating up leftovers, defrosting stuff we forgot to take out of the freezer, and making microwave popcorn. The Internet is in a stage much like the microwave was when it first came to market. We are still trying to figure out sensible uses for the Internet. We have already figured out a few things that don't work, but we continue to search for the most appropriate uses. A column on Web management would be very useful given the state of development of the Internet at this time in history." -- Sandra Giffin, vice president and general counsel, i-fax.com.

"I would like to learn more about Web management than development. Development is something that can be easily learned, in my opinion. You can read some books or take a class. Web management, on the other hand, is a different beast all together. How do you manage your corporate intranet more intelligently so that I use less bandwidth, less manpower, and simplify it all so that I can lower my costs of operations AND receive better performance? This is a more challenging and perplexing question." -- Frank Migielicz, Network Appliance.

"I do not program or even hire Web programmers. I am interested in what's going on because it will come back to bite me. ... I've got a 75-million-dollar business riding on my decisions and a boss who doesn't understand IP and thinks I'm sloppy when a local loop provider disconnects our service in error and I won't write the company a nasty letter. (I view it as a waste of my time and haven't a clue where to even send it.) One of my IT friends said he would pray for me." -- Name Withheld, IT manager.

"I feel there is a wealth of information concerning the nuts and bolts of the Web (HTML, CSS, Flash, etc.). Due to the massive size of the market, these technologies are not changing as fast as they were several years ago. However, business conditions are changing rapidly. As we weather the bursting of the tech bubble and endure the chill imposed by terrorism, we wonder how business and the Web intersect. We look forward to a sane recovery and for ways to build businesses around new opportunities." -- Chris Cothrun, general manager, Captivads.

"I personally would like to see stories of how e-commerce solutions have delivered their promise. You read a lot about what's new, but you don't see much about how it helped. And, when you do, you don't get the story of how it was implemented, problems, etc. Only, 'Wow, this was the result' (which may or may not have been attributable to the e-commerce solution)." -- Mike Serwetz, MSGlobal S&C.

"When you get right down to it, the basics don't change. It's not the bells and whistles that count. It's the quality of the product and the customer service given that usually determines the winners and losers (unless you own the market, in which case quality and service can, it would seem, be discarded). More and more customers are making choices based not only on the quality of the product but on the quality of the customer service. I strongly believe that it is the quality of the customer service that is going to be the determining factor in the coming decade of which vendor gets the nod." -- Harvey Morgenbesser, president, DreamCatcher Group.

"I'm voting for [Web] management -- of the computer 'process.' Not just the Web, not just the operating system or hardware, but the ability to solve recurring problems and maybe make some money and have fun doing it. Your claim to fame (from my perspective) is in the detail, in the 'Fixes.' Let someone else deal with 'Web development' and write the programming, HTML, Flash, XML, and other manuals and 'How-to's.' You have been very good at the detail -- in making things work. Don't let unfocused popularity blind you to that." -- Dave Adams, director of business systems and training, Industrial Electronic Engineers.

"Stay with the girl you brought to the dance, i.e., e-business secrets. I want to know what works, why it works, who is using it, how it was implemented, how successful it is (numbers), and how I can use it on my e-commerce site. Just the facts, man. NNG [Nielsen Norman Group] does this very well in their reports. ... Once, in a New York restaurant while I was having dinner, a man in a trench coat came in, walked to the end of the bar, looked earnestly and imploringly around at the diners, and pleaded, 'Is this a funeral?' It brought down the house. Without cracking a smile, he slowly turned and walked out the door. Everybody went back to their meals. I think that's the explanation for some of your weird ratings. (This guy is still out there.)" -- Daniel McCoy, president, Computer Technology Associates.

NEXT WEEK: The comments of readers who want more on Web development. Stay tuned.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Steve Perlman, formerly of Apple Computer and WebTV, has announced a new all-in-one device designed to replace the set-top boxes that are now provided to consumers by TV cable companies. The Moxi Media Center will include:

* Digital cable or satellite receiver

* Jukebox for MP3s or songs ripped from your CDs

* Personal video recorder, like TiVo

* DVD and CD player

* Cable/DSL modem with gateway and built-in firewall

The device is expected to sell to providers for about $425, low enough for consumers to lease the boxes from the companies. Perlman already has a deal with satellite company EchoStar to distribute the devices, but he'll be competing against Microsoft, Apple, and others, who have their own plans. (See also News Pick No. 1 for more details.)


http://www.moxi.com http://bri.li/?7559

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


1. Moxi makes its bid for cable/satellite entertainment

http://news.cnet.com http://bri.li/?411

2. How e-commerce sites can avoid the shakeout in 2002

http://www.newsfactor.com http://bri.li/?7f9

3. easyJet Airlines sells 90 percent of tickets on Web

http://www.silicon.com http://bri.li/?be1

4. Some consumer-feedback sites can achieve profits

http://www.nytimes.com http://bri.li/?fc9

5. Ways developers can overcome "programmer's block"

http://www.joelonsoftware.com http://bri.li/?13b1

6. How a handful of geeks saved 20 years of Usenet

http://www.salon.com http://bri.li/?1799

7. Macromedia makes Flash available on Casio PDAs

http://www.internetnews.com http://bri.li/?1b81

8. New study hits sites with poor customer service

http://www.newsfactor.com http://bri.li/?1f69

9. HTML tips: How to encrypt pages for security

http://www.htmlgoodies.com http://bri.li/?2351

10. You'll like this: Dave Barry reviews Windows XP

http://www.miami.com http://bri.li/?2739

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


In a world of unhelpful "help" screens, it's refreshing to see a Web page that not only says, "This Page Cannot Be Displayed" (in a little more colorful language), but also includes thoughtful comments like, "Please try the following, you complete idiot."

I found the page by clicking the "Don't Click Here" link on Clint Vander Klok's personal home page, www.clint.ca . You'll be ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) at his send-up of Internet Explorer messages, the security of your credit card numbers, and what your spouse knows about your Internet surfing habits.

This Page Cannot Be Displayed

http://www.clint.ca http://bri.li/?c379

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

E-BUSINESS SECRETS: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld Contributing Editor Brian Livingston (http://SecretsPro.com). Research director is Ben Livingston (no relation). Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/?0764534939

Windows 2000 Secrets:

http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/?0764534130

Win a gift certificate good for a book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints: mailto:Brian@SecretsPro.com.

Brian Livingston , an InfoWorld contributing editor, has published 10 books, including Windows Me Secrets and Windows 2000 Secrets. Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints. Send in your tips today, at tips@secretspro.com.
Learn how integrated enterprise management tools can help more effectively and cost efficiently manage your organizations highly complex systems and infrastructures while benefiting your resources and your bottom line. Click here to download the free HP IT Consolidation whitepaper today!

HP - IT Consolidation with Linux
Learn how consolidating your IT environment within a Linux environment can help to provide flexibility, scalability and cost savings while helping your organization overcome obstacles to yield lasting infrastructure improvements. Click here to download the free HP IT Consolidation whitepaper today!

HP - IT consolidation Journey to an adaptive enterprise-an overview
Today’s business environment demands more of your IT resources and budget than ever before—forcing you to make tough choices in the process. Learn how to face these challenges by taking a journey towards IT Consolidation. Click here to download the free HP IT Consolidation Journey Guide today!

HP - Need Power? Powerful HP Workstations at PC Prices.
enKoo - Web access your PC & servers. Scalable & failover appliance.
HP - HP ProLiant server blades engineered for adaptive computing
Remedy - More than Help Desk. Best-of-Breed Customer Support. Download your Free Whitepaper now.
AT&T - Is your network secure? Learn about AT&T's security solutions.

Rackspace-The Managed Hosting Specialist - Rackspace offers Managed and Application Hosting with customizable and scalable solutions. 0% downtime and a hardware replacement guarantee.
Mid-Market CRM Made Easy with Oncontact - Oncontact offers customer relationship management (CRM) systems for mid-market companies. Build stronger and more profitable relationships with your customers. Click here for more info.
Intuit Track-It! Help Desk Software - Intuit IT Solutions provides Track-It! - the leading help desk software solution for call tracking, problem resolution, employee & customer self-help, remote control, asset management, LAN/PC audi...
Block E-Mail Spam at Server Level - Block all spam at e-mail server level with GFI MailEssentials. Also adds other tools to your mail server such as e-mail disclaimers, e-mail archiving, auto replies and more. DLD trial today.
File replication and content synchronization - One-to-one, scheduled file replication and content synchronization for cross platform replication on Windows & UNIX.

 HOME  NEWS  TEST CENTER  OPINIONS  TECHINDEX   About InfoWorld :: Advertise :: Subscribe :: Contact Us :: Awards :: Events 

Copyright © 2004, Reprints, Permissions, Licensing