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A shattered oracle

Thrilled at the discovery, I quickly shot off an email to my dear friend explaining the Yahoo! secret of success. My pleasure in knowing that I had not gone loony was shortlived at the acid reply, which left somewhat of an acrid taste in my mouth.

She knew that Yahoo! had made because of its care-giving ways. But what she wanted to know was how they sustained the traffic. After all, she said, it was now 2000, not 1994. She did not have the six-year lead time that Yahoo! Enjoyed. In fact, she revealed that she was secretly hoping Yahoo! would fumble and the real truth be known.

"It is the virtual world after all. Everything in the virtual world will collapse faster than in the real world because the folks ruling are under age 30, and without the benefit of experience in the real world. What is worse is that they are conning folks with money to invest in them with only a promise of an IPO. Have you seen the burn rate among dotcoms? More like dotcons ruling the world," she fumed.

The insults she hurled took the wind off my wings. I desperately needed a Guinness to raise my spirits back to life. My two kids--raised a la dotcom--did not need such bitter and almost malevolently jealous views to mar their blissful childhood of straddling real life and the Web.

Two pints later, I saw wisdom in her words. The Malaysian Web sites that have sprouted in recent months are shadows of the ones created elsewhere. While the design work is dazzling, the content was severely lacking in imagination. The owners do not look beyond the faηade in their rush to create a portal. They think that quantity rules. They think: "Let's just plug the site with lots of stuff." Relevance is immaterial. The priority is to build traffic and crow about that later.

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.

Check out previous dispatches from Malaysia:

PC revolution? Hmmm, says Anita D.

Bad PC vendors makes no cent$

Real world Net cynicism in a wired world

The art of resistance

Surfing on the Sulu

High-tech utopia or myopia?


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