In the book The New New Thing, Jim Clark is described as the man with his finger on the pulse of the future. He had the ability to create three companies that each reached $1 billion in market valuation—Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and Healtheon. His entry into the technology sector with Silicon Graphics was a step ahead of his time. The creation, or better yet, the vision of what Netscape became was also one of the single most powerful insights that have changed almost everyone around the globe. The creation of Healtheon also showed how the web could link organizations in a method never tried on such a large scope. The fact that Clark was ahead of the technology cycle leads one to believe that his shift in business models might also forecast an entirely new direction for the web.
Today's models might be grouped as:
1. Traditional brick and mortar
2. Internet service or product companies
3. Hybrid Web Entities (HWE)
Most businesses prior to 1994 were completely brick and mortar, using technology as a way to enhance communications. Remember the fax machine? Even today there are many companies that have yet to plug into technology's new operational tools, and that consider the web to be only a marketing and email architecture.
Many internet services and product companies, free or for hire, have based their entire operations on the creation of a dominating position in the web infrastructure in order to be valued as the mainstream URL, such as Amazon.com. Business executives have positioned themselves to be portals, engines, links, or windows to other areas of the net or brick-and-mortar operations that may in the long term generate profits. In addition, there are a number of internet operations that are making money using the net as a model in and of itself.
Lastly, there exists the hybrid web entities that have been catching up with the new organizations ever so slowly. These are businesses that have either needed time or understanding in order to embrace technology. They have been given ample transition tools so that if we compare their operations of just seven years ago to today, their structure, communications, operations, and marketing now appear to be reborn. Companies that embrace technology, including backend, automated systems, and customer relationship management software, will see a lowering in the cost of doing business. They are faster, more efficient, and understand the basic business model of making a profit. Engineering firms can keep current and move product design faster through their systems. Sales companies can benefit from 24/7 business operations by showing their products and conducting sales meetings with their "brochures" right in front of the customer at any time of the day or night. The fact is that cash-rich organizations with tremendous reach have been able to meld the new operating models into their existing enterprises, are more savvy, and are willing to invest in future expansion in web-based and traditional markets.
This past week has been a topsy-turvy investment nightmare for most investors linked to the net. After years about concerns in the technology sector, it's not hard for many to say “I told you so.” However, they too may still be wrong. The changes in the market are both a sign of "the new rules" and of the obvious fact that some companies will surmount the technological challenges and some will not. Analysts are expressing concerns about Internet-based businesses that are falling short of predictions, and we are sure to see many bankruptcies and closures as capital is directed elsewhere. In most case, the future will comprise ideas that move to market quickly and then become the standard for web based business.
Jim Clark has now created a brick-and-mortar business that expresses itself as an internet company. In reality, myCFO.com is the epitome of giving information and resources to people by utilizing the net as a tool for the enterprise. myCFO has been created to allow the millionaires of today to have the very best financial services while enjoying life around the globe. myCFO, like the emergence of the "new" way of banking, provides 24/7/365 client access by utilizing the Net. myCFO gains access to billions of dollars in capital to leverage services to its members; hence, Clark can say, "We have $500 million to invest in your project, and we want a special deal."
This is not to say that the future of the web is to move out of technology; on the contrary. Companies involved with the hardware and structure of the web have billions in profits to generate. It does, however, suggest that the future of successful businesses is either in building their infrastructures to meet customer’s expectations or in not mistaking the web as just another marketing tool to the world.