Et Tu, Business 2.0?


As a pre-Internet technology critic/writer/reporter, I should be crowing about the pending demise of Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 magazine.

To start with, it was constructed out of smoke and mirror shades. There's no such thing as Business 2.0–just as Web 2.0 is an utter fiction. People have been writing blogs since the dawn of the World Wide Web (and etching graffiti into walls since the Summarians roamed the earth), we just didn't call them blogs (we called them Web pages, electronic diaries, hobby sites,…you get the idea). And when Netscape was introduced the whole idea was to serve up things like word processing (hello Google Docs) and services online. The only problem: We were living in a dial-up world. But I digress…

Business 2.0 was a fiction predicated on the idea that there were plenty of advertising dollars left on the table by the likes of Fast Company magazine and original tech magazines like PC Magazine. That's what the term "Busines 2.0" really referred to: the publisher's business 2.0 plan, not yours. All one had to do was be cozier with the Silicon valley kids, and you'd be in like Jobs. Furthermore, technology companies had been thriving for decades before eCompany, er, Business 2.0 came along. And nothing had really changed (it was all still built on the information superhighway that Al built and on the integrated circuit). Nothing new–except for the hype, stock options, and flim-flam burnrate mountebanks.

And now, the mask is off, the advertisers have fled, and the macrobiotic, thin woman with a carbon footprint smaller than your pinkie is about to sing for Business 2.0.

But I'm not gloating, unlike some competitors (like Forbes). No, I'm not gloating. Why not? Because the soon-to-be-announced demise of Business 2.0 indicates that businesses are buying another fiction espoused by the likes of Google and accepted without question by, well, Forbes, and others. Call it another form of TP. Better yet, call it Advertising 2.0, the new, new fiction. Behold! A shimmering online world filled with better advertising, a form of communication exceeding any heretofore conceived of by human minds. (Until, of course, the privacy folks come in and spoil the party.)

And so, today, we scramble to worship the new online advertising God, burn our books, toss our magazines, and surf instead of read, skim instead of think, click instead of critique.

Me? I'm going to plunk myself down on the couch and watch TV.  



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About jquain

Technology reporter, writer, and television correspondent, JQ has been covering the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries for more than 25 years.A contributor to The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, PC Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and many other publications, JQ appears on CBS News television program Up to the Minute and on Fox Business.
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1 Response to Et Tu, Business 2.0?

  1. superpixel says:

    interesting perspective. I'll agree about 80% of what we're seeing is hype, but there's a 20% of gold in there too. this is the beginning– calling it 2.0 is lame. I don't think we're even there yet, we haven't gone Gold Master, that's for sure.and I would argue that online you have a somewhat better chance, in some cases (not many, really) to find better, more targeted ads. Heck, those things pay me!but at the same time, you can only slice an onion so thin, and all the while you'll be crying. so let's be fair. without credit cards, would ANY of this be possible? 😉

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