By Joshua Lucas

Issue # 1

Wednesday, March 4, 1998


During the past few years, experts have pointed to the year, 1994, as either the dawn of a new civilization or as the beginning of the end of decency and morality. The event which is the cause of these statements is the advent of the World Wide Web.

Though the Internet had been around since the sixties, it had always been plagued by having to be explored with obscure UNIX commands. But the Web changed that by bringing a graphical interface to the vast amounts of information available on the Internet.

Almost immediately, a mad rush to be on the Web occurred and it seemed anybody that wanted to have a presence on-line was ready to pay top dollar to the privileged few who knew acronyms such as HTML, FTP, or URL.

At first, the only businesses which populated the Web were large corporations who had the money to spend. This was the first phase of moving businesses on-line. Gradually, as the cost of being on-line diminished, smaller businesses began to show up on the Web as well as individuals who wanted to be there as well. This was the beginning of the second phase for businesses on the Web.

This phase is still continuing as more and more businesses make their way into the on-line world. The challenge for these new pioneers is to separate themselves from all of the other businesses with a URL (an internet address) in their ads. Besides separating themselves from other businesses, a challenge for the small business owner will be to make the necessary commitment to be successful on-line. This is probably the more difficult challenge since it might require a change of focus and attitude.

In my opinion, the smaller businesses who face these challenges will reap the most rewards from the on-line world. They will be more than just an on-line brochure because people in their community will know who they are and what they stand for.

"Lucas, Joshua Lucas"... writes for a living. By day he writes software, and by night he weaves words. Josh has coded in Java, C, C++, and Perl for some of the hippest and most recognizable companies in the US, including The Gap, Starbucks, Nike, and Nordstroms. Josh's rich experience, coupled with his diligent daily research, places him as close to the "cutting edge" as you can get without falling off. He and his wife recently moved from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA.

Your first assignment is an easy one; What is it that most confuses you about the 'Net today? URL's? Browser technology? Secure transactions? Search Engines?

Write up a list of five things that you'd like to know more about, and e-mail it to me at I'll answer your questions in future columns.

So with that as an introduction, what is the business who is not on-line to do? Have they missed out on their chance to be involved in this new medium?

I, for one, do not think that this phase has ended or that it will end soon. Businesses can still get on-line and be successful. All it will take is some time and creativity.

Since most businesses don't have a great amount of time to spare, this column is here to help. Every week, a new topic or concern will be explored with the goal to be the application of the topic in regards to businesses on-line. At the end of each column, a simple assignment will be given. Its purpose is to cause people to think and to ground in what was written. Obviously, these assigments won't be graded, but I am always available for questions.

I hope this column will be a great resource. I am very excited about exploring how businesses can be successful on-line. Hopefully through this effort, more people will come on-line, since the connected world is much more interesting as more people explore and bring their unique vision to it.

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