Bruce Sterling has an excellent piece in the Austin Chronicle about traditional business and the internet. Some excerpts:

But look what happened. When was the last time that you saw commerce, global capitalism, competition, the profit motive, the real deal … choking on advanced technology as if they’d swallowed a jalape?o? What a spectacle! It ranks with the beached gasping of Marxism-Leninism in 1989.

Houston is supposed to be a solid, non-nonsense, oil-bidness town. Houston doesn’t have any SXSW. Poor Houston is the snakebitten home of Enron, while Austin’s feckless cyberslackers are still grinning and hitting the Return key. Yeah, Dell fired some people here, so maybe local rents will drop and all the potters and tapestry weavers will return from Wimberley. Man, anything’s possible these days.

If Napster and its P2P clones ever get loose, nobody in the music business will make any money ever again. And if 802.11b ever works, nobody will sell Internet access and AOL will go broke. And if Linux had a decent graphic user interface, Bill Gates would have no business model. Bill would have to spend all his time giving vaccinations to little kids. You tell me what we’re supposed to do about this menace.

If… If… If…

But I think that business (or, at least VCs) running scared from the ‘Net is proof that it is possible.

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