"It may not seem important today, but I strongly suggest
to everyone here that they to start familiarizing themselves
with the various online marketplaces. One of the newer companies
in this field, American Online, is doing a particularly
good job of signing up new users. And then there's the
Internet which is a real wild card."
Source: Ken's remarks at Dan Kennedy's Annual Direct Marketing
Super Conference in Phoenix
Perspective: Most people at this time who gave the matter any
thought actively doubted the Internet could become a successful,
self-supporting commerical medium.
"Now you need one more line on your business card; your Internet
e-mail address. This simple step will open a new channel of
communication between you, your company and an audience of what some
estimate to be as many as 50 million well-educated, affluent people
worldwide. Your prospects and customers can use e-mail to make
inquiries, order products and offer suggestions. And once you learn a
bit about the unique social niceties that have grown up around
E-mail, you can use it to sell."
%&$#ing around and get on the Internet now
Perspective: When this comment was
appeared in the DM News, less than 50% of all
San Francisco "cutting edge" multimedia companies listed their employee's
e-mail addressed on their business cards.
November 5, 1994
"What's going to determine whether the Internet succeeds or not are
not technical issues, it's going to be content issues."
"...the thing that excites me about the Internet is that it allows
you direct contact with your customers. No middlemen. You produce it,
you distribute it. And you can build up a following and profit from
"A lot of people are talking about "Cyberspace", and the "Information
Superhighway" with the idea that we're trying to create an alternate
environment and the measure of our success will be that everything is
And that we should be gearing all our attention to creating this
place that is completely independent from the rest of the world.
That's crazy....The picture of every mature business is that they use
every conceivable channel available."
"There was (an) article in another major publication which said
something to the effect that 'people are setting up Internet
catalogs, but nobody's buying anything.'
...it shouldn't be a surprise that some of the early pioneers of
Internet cataloging might not be getting the sales they hoped for
initially. Number one, the market is a little thin. While there are
millions and millions of people with some kind of Internet access,
not all of them know how to find catalogs. And number two, a lot of
the people running online catalogs are not marketers, and take this
on faith, one of the hardest businesses, from a marketing point of
view to run is a catalog business. It's a brutal business... It's
tough to sell things at a distance, so it shouldn't be a surprise
that the initial attempts at selling via the Internet are running
into certain difficulties. So I wouldn't take that story seriously
"Bandwidth limitations. I always hear about bandwidth limitations...
(We're) capable of creating all sorts of amazing leaps of technology
and we're really just talking about adding a little bit more
bandwidth. We're not talking about inventing something new, or laying
the first transatlantic cable, which was quite a difficult physical
feat. We're talking about taking technology that we already have,
figuring out how to pay for it, and installing it. So the bandwidth
problems. . . when they'll be solved, I don't know, but the solutions
"...someday, strangely enough, our descendants will look back at
1994, the year of the birth of the Internet-as-medium, as the old
days and wonder how in the world we ever got by with such primitive
Source: Why the
web and why the web now
Perspective: Jakob Nielsen said this about Ken's talk. ""This was a
great talk for 1994, and it would still be a good talk today. Most
people still don't get the points you made..." - April 27, 2000
The Chicago Tribune said that Jakob Nielsen "knows more about what
makes Web sites work than anyone else on the planet."
February 15, 1995
"No one in their right mind would think that simply getting a phone
number or opening a post office box is going to generate business,"
McCarthy says. "Similarly, simply setting up an online presence is
not going to generate business for anybody. You need to integrate
your online presence
with some good old-fashioned marketing."
Source: Future Shop
- Entrepreneur Magazine
Perspective: Ken is still trying get people to understand this one!
February 15, 1995
Ken explained (his) approach: "When we teach marketers how to use
online media, it's essential that they first understand the
principals of direct marketing, how to attract an audience and
deliver something that will be compelling and entertaining enough to
maintain a following. Everybody is creating web sites. That's the
easy part. Knowing how to build an audience takes more training and
that's where we come in."
Source: Profiles -
Perspective: Companies are still spending millions developing web sites
without giving much thought to how to attract customers and keep them.
"Now any company or organization can afford to develop a presence on
the world's largest and, soon-to-be, most accessible computer
network. And most importantly, they can do it in their own way
without being taxed or held back
by the limitations imposed by closed, proprietary systems."
The future of the Internet can be summed up in ten words: better
service, lower prices, more content, more users, more opportunities."
Source: The Web
Wins the Online Crown
Perspective: At this time, there was still an active debate about
which would be dominant, the Internet or the major commercial online
services. This was six months before Netscape's IPO.
"With physical media, the price structure is a major problem," he
said. "You must charge enough for the distributor and retailer to
make money, yet low enough to attract customers. At the same time,
you as the developer are
responsible for marketing and advertising. And after all is said and
done, you don't know who is actually purchasing your titles when you
distribute your content on discs. The customer's relationship is with
the store. Being able to
keep track of who is purchasing your material is one of the most
compelling aspects of doing business on the 'Net."
Source: Netsurfing -
The Newsletter of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the International
Perspective: At this time of this interview, most of San Francisco's
cutting edge "digerati" still believed that producing hit CD-ROMs
would make them rich.
"The big companies, like Microsoft and America Online, don't have the
intelligence in-house to go after all the small, but lucractive niche
markets that exist. They have bright people in-house and they
organize them well, but they don't have the kind of creative
intelligence that can move into an unstructured situation and create
something new that works and generates cash flow. They're good at
taking something like that and pumping it up to a large scale. But
they don't have the spark that comes from individuals and small teams
of people who are dedicated to creating something from scratch. You
have the opportunity to go into a new field, the Internet, that
doesn't have a lot of competition and has a wide open panorama of
opportunities. There are people
with really deep pockets who will be delighted, if you come up with something
successful, to give you a lot of money for it."
Source: Multimedia Live
Perspective: Just a few months after Netscape's IPO, most people including
software and multimedia people still could not imagine how anyone could make
money on the Internet.
October 6, 1999
"The whole show runs on very cheap oil, a very strong dollar, and
very low interest rates. The chickens appear to be coming home to
roost on all three scores. The era of an economy fueled by
trader-funded Internet pipe dreams may be closer to the end than most
Perspective: At the time this comment was posted, all the major news
magazines were declaring the Internet as the harbinger of new age in
which the "rules of business are changed forever."
December 12, 1999
"If you really, really want to own Internet shares, hang on. You'll
be able to get them for pennies on the dollar. In the meantime, use
the Internet to advance your own business."
Source: The Great Internet
Perspective: December '99 was one of the most dramatic months for
gains in the Internet stock prices ever.
February 1, 2000
"The problem is that when someone is not familiar with
a medium, it's easy to be swayed by 'experts' who offer magic
ways to get something for nothing."
Source: Amacord's client newsletter
April 21, 2000
"In my opinion, the best opportunities come from
stepping aside, letting the crowd do what it wants
to do (profiting from it when possible), but most
importantly, looking for the very obvious values
the crowd is missing, scooping them up while they
are still absurdly low, and holding on.
The Internet is a classic case in point. Seven years
ago, the idea of the Internet being important to
Silicon Valley was ridiculed. The prospect that AOL
could compete with IBM's Prodigy was considered ridiculous.
And even Tim Bernes-Lee, the inventor of the Web,
was furious with Marc Andreessen for promoting a
graphical interface for the Web because he was
certain the network would be overwhelmed by the
traffic and collapse.
But some people looked beyond the loud opinions of the
So the message here is not simply don't get caught
up in manias, it's also have the courage of your
convictions when everything looks bleak and hang
on. Things usually take longer to develop than you
expect, but that doesn't mean progress isn't
Source: Amacord's client newsletter
Perspective: Keep looking ahead. The Internet's best
days are yet to come.