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The tiny, expensive pipeline to consumers was tellingly named "the channel." Control the channel and you could feed them what you wanted, on your terms.
Result: a capital investment in a startup this quarter shows up as Yahoo earnings next quarter—stimulating another round of investments in startups.
As in a Ponzi scheme, what seemed to be the returns of this system were simply the latest round of investments in it.
Since the Internet was the big new thing, investors supposed that the more Internettish the company, the better. It was not the railroads themselves that made the most money during the railroad boom, but the companies on either side, like Carnegie's steelworks, which made the rails, and Standard Oil, which used railroads to get oil to the East Coast, where it could be shipped to Europe.
I think the Internet will have great effects, and that what we've seen so far is nothing compared to what's coming.
Recognizing an important trend turns out to be easier than figuring out how to profit from it.
The mistake investors always seem to make is to take the trend too literally. In fact most of the money to be made from big trends is made indirectly.
But most of the winners will only indirectly be Internet companies; for every Google there will be ten Jet Blues.3. The general argument is that new forms of communication always do.
They happen rarely (till industrial times there were just speech, writing, and printing), but when they do, they always cause a big splash.
And as soon as these startups got the money, what did they do with it?
Buy millions of dollars worth of advertising on Yahoo to promote their brand.