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Fear and greed on the Internet
By Anita Devasahayam
June 5, 2000

What is the world-famous Internet navigator Yahoo!'s secret to success? How are they able to stay ahead and lead the pack, a friend asked a few weeks ago? Me, a journalist, the one that goes around asking questions, and more often than not offering my two sens' worth of opinions without being asked, gaped, speechless. My brain went on the blink.

My opinions that some quarters in the computing industry were prescient and followed faithfully like lemmings to sea were suddenly reduced to nothing by this double-barreled query.

For once, I was the one with eyes glazing over like the majority of the Malaysian population when the subject of the Internet was brought up. Thoroughly chastised by my lack of knowledge and bewildered into silence, it dawned on me that not every Tom, Dick and Mary here understood my fanatical fervor that the Net will someday rule the world.

To them, I was the one lost in cyberspace. The one who was wandering through portals and vortexes of convoluted circuitry searching for nirvana. But they are so wrong. I see what they cannot even begin to imagine. My questing journalistic mind gathers the information and processes it to make a whole.

You see, I have been seeing things. I don't know for how long this has gone on or how many people have been enriched by their mere encounter with my person. With great pride I carry that innate Malaysian hospitality to dispense helpful hints--even counsel.

I first saw the light in 1994, a landmark period when Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo started out with the seed of an idea to build a guide to keep track of their personal interests on the Net. That guide grew from a hobby into a full-time passion. Yahoo!, which otherwise stands for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle", also helped numerous users efficiently locate, identify and even edit material stored online.

Yahoo! gives and gives. The tenet in giving is that all things come full circle. After establishing themselves as a giver, and a caring one at that, people began to give back. The very same people who entered Yahoo!'s realm and enjoyed the creative agenda provided by Yang and Filo began to give back.

 
Dispatch from Malaysia

Here's a nation that has built a first-world infrastructure. But can the country truly lead its people down the Yellow Brick Road to the smart city of tomorrow? Our Dispatch from Malaysia taps into the collective mindshare.



Anita Devasahayam spent a decade in technology journalism and currently plans to live the next one in Ipoh, far from the madding crowd and closer to home and family. When not pottering about the house, she is planting seeds in people's minds about the Internet and journalism as a career.


 

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