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Monday, September 22, 2008

Why I became a Social Entrepreneur (PART 1)


In the 1990's the world was introduced to what is perhaps the greatest advance in information technology since the invention of printing, the internet. From its inception the potential of the internet, the combination of computer networks across the globe, was obvious. This could change everything. Business, Education, Media, Democracy, every aspect of our society was about to evolve.

Seeing this I jumped on the bandwagon and became a great evangelist for the adaption and implementation of web based technology, especially by the government, which was notoriously slow to adapt. I made my living as a low level consultant working for various local governments, helping them update their data and port it to the networks.

I spent time debating with old school journalists and old women about the advantages of the new technology and explaining and teaching people who were having trouble learning this new technology, and this crusade cost me. But I believed in the internets potential for good, and that it could empower the common man, and bring us better, more efficient systems. I was right, of course, the evidence is all around us today, and the web is still evolving with video and more. But at the time I thought I was loosing the debate, my protests were ignored, I was seen as some arrogant upstart "know-it-all" who couldn't possibly have enough life experience to understand and predict the future.

My arguments got through to some of the people I was trying to convince. The young chose paths that would invest their time in learning new technology skills, but the old, out of time, invested their money, their savings, and their pensions in new technology companies. This was an unforeseen mistake. I couldn't know that they would take my words to heart, and secretly invest their money in start up internet stocks, that would later turn out to be over-hyped failures. Most lost their shirts.

I felt bad about this. I knew more than a few people who were responsible for the "Dot Com Crash". It seems that lacking true understanding of the technology the people I spoke to argued against it, but still invested, hoping for a quick return. What made it worse, some companies succeeded, and most businesses like banks and media adapted to the use of internet technologies, forcing even the reluctant to learn how to use email, convincing them of my cause. These facts convinced people they were missing out on a good thing, so they invested in stocks, in companies they didn't understand, and lost their savings.

Those who should have been held responsible for the 2000 Tech Stock Crash were the intelligent Con-men who used their understanding of old school financial reporting methods and abused others ignorance of the new technologies to fabricate stock prices that were unreal. Most of them sold their companies or took huge salaries then quit, leaving others to take the losses. They are the parasites of our world, feeding on the weak, and never actually producing anything of value. They cheat, and yet they're still blessed with the french title "ENTREPRENEUR".


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