This is an archived article.

May 25, 2001

Forbes publisher compares investing freeze, economic downturn to PC fallout of mid 1980s

Today’s economic slowdown and capital crunch isn’t all that bad. In fact the climate resembles the economic downturn that followed the PC hype in the late 1970s and early 1980s, says Richard Karlgaard, Forbes magazine publisher and keynote speaker at an upcoming University of Washington Business School conference on e-business.

“The second act of the PC era was bigger, better and more enduring,” says Karlgaard. “So I’m guessing that what we’ll see soon is the happy result of a second net boom.”

Karlgaard will speak at 9:15 a.m. during “Northwest E-Business Innovations 2001,” to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Thursday, May 31 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Pier 66, 2211 Alaskan Way on Seattle’s waterfront. Senior executives from Microsoft, AT&T Wireless, edge2net and Amazon.com will present their hottest e-business initiatives, products and services at the conference.

Karlgaard, who writes the Forbes column, “Digital Rules: Technology and the New Economy,” says many e-business initiatives are valuable despite the lull in venture capital investing and the dot-com demise.

“Pure e-companies are in trouble, of course, but just look at what GE and others have done and are doing,” Karlgaard says, referring to GE chief executive Jack Welch’s decision to increase spending on e-commerce initiatives.

“(These companies) need cheap, widespread, broadband communications for home and small offices. They also need to learn the lessons of the first act of the net boom — the big fallacy that they needed to be on a global scale by day one. So they spent like drunken sailors on Super Bowl ads and all the rest?”

Other conference topics include wireless innovations, international strategic partnerships, and electronic customer service, as well Microsoft’s .NET strategy.
One session of particular interest, says Jim Jiambalvo, faculty director of the business school’s Program in E-Business, is a talk on the growing trend by brick and mortar executives to take advantage of e-business.

“Many business leaders say, ‘The Internet doesn’t have a significant impact on my company.’ But here we will have leaders from three brick and mortar businesses — Boeing, PACCAR and Starbucks — talking about how e-business is really changing their companies,” Jiambalvo said.

The event is co-hosted by the business school’s Program in E-Business, Center for International Business Education and Research and the Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

AT&T Wireless and Boeing are sponsoring the conference.

For a complete conference schedule visit: http://depts.washington.edu/ebiz/conference/
To register call 1-888-538-7834.

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For more information contact Jiambalvo at (206) 543-9132 or jjiambal@u.washington.edu; Jennifer Fore at (206) 543-8749 or jfore@u.washington.edu.