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Geeks, gadgets & greed

Is there anything wrong with this dot-com rush? Every Net-aware person will tell you that it's important to embrace the New Economy with your heart, devote time to learn about it and try every conceivable idea in your mind to gain an insight to its workings.

Do you actually see the generation of baby boomers doing that? Surely they would employ an efficient team of webmasters to take on the challenging task. Why dirty their hands when they can pay others whom they believe to be proficient in shaping the Web? They only need to dictate the terms.

While the ambitious and ever-hopeful young Turks have reasons to leave their mark on earth - or in the virtual world - the baby boomers turn to the Internet because it's now hip to be in the dot-com cult even if its beliefs elude the new converts.

Naturally, it helps to have a deep pocket; the baby boomers can choose to either start their own domain or better still buy into one that has had some measure of presence. After all, one cannot be left behind in the dot-com race. The transition from bricks to clicks is however no easy journey, especially now that the astronomical returns from an initial public offering are a thing of the past.

Despite the lack in substance, many dot-com companies backed by deep-pocketed conglomerates have gone out to promote themselves - shamelessly or otherwise. It has become a typical scene in the city to hear of hotshot public-listed companies buying into little dot-coms for amounts that are anything between RM250,000 and RM20 million.

Some entrepreneurs have gladly given up their start-ups even though they did not go beyond the incubation stage while others are sitting around waiting for the proverbial bar of gold. In between, the well brought up kids defer buy-out propositions with the moral stand that they cannot take someone else's money and run.

Besides these Net-preneurs are not interested to join some huge monolith and become a cog in the cumbersome wheel of bureaucracy. Said one: "I am running my own business; this is the time for me to learn without having someone dictate the terms. The money would have been great but I don't think I know enough to warrant RM10 million."

Pity I thought, but heck, maybe he knows better. He could have taken the RM10 million and run with the baton. But I guess he has a point for wanting to be his own man. There is, after all, nothing like running the show yourself and testing the limits of your own potential. Then again, he maybe just a crazy Malaysian trying to be hipů

On the other side of the spectrum, the suits tend to take the plunge just to make a quick buck from IPOs. What are they thinking? The very idea of using public money to fund start-ups is not exactly a safe bet. Especially since everyone is aware that there are as many losers as well as winners in the online territory.

The details do not interest most. They seem to have their front-end pretty much taken care of but the back-office is still a mess.

Are organizations really managed that way? Do they just look great on the outside even though the insides are a total mess? Is that what they call organized chaos? Wouldn't any right-minded individual realize if a person or a company does not have the house in order, it is totally inconceivable that it can get better online?

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:

Fear and greed on the Internet

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


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