There are two different Internet stories. The first is about Net stocks, and we all know how that one ended. The second is about the Internet itself. Beyond the cycle of the dot-com boom and bust, the Internet's productivity-enhancing promises came true, transforming companies large and small.
Indeed, as we note in our E-Biz Special Report, many of the projections of the growth of e-commerce that seemed wildly outrageous three years ago wound up being too low, not too high.
The biggest challenge for companies turned out to be a cultural one. Experience has shown that trying to get the whole enterprise completely wired all at once is a recipe for colossal failure. Smaller jobs are easier to understand, pay for, and control. And one-size-fits-all doesn't work. To take advantage of the Web's capabilities, business processes need to be redesigned and customized for each company.
Is history repeating itself? Internet stock prices are rising faster than overall tech prices. While many tech stalwarts have price-earnings ratios in the safe 20s, dot-coms are again in the high-risk zone.
Our e-biz Special Report is the work of E-Business Editor Timothy J. Mullaney, with Internet Editor Heather Green in New York and Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Robert D. Hof. The data they cite are compelling. Today, the gross value of e-commerce sales worldwide totals $3.9 trillion -- of which about 95% is business-to-business. When you consider that the commercial Web is just eight years old, that's pretty amazing. But, as we say this week: "What's most striking about e-business, in fact, is how much more there is to do."
On Thursday, Apr. 24, BusinessWeek Editor-in-Chief Stephen B. Shepard received the President's Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, the leading institution of international journalism in the States. Steve joins a distinguished group of Americans that includes broadcast legend Walter Cronkite and late Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham, as well as some of Steve's contemporaries.
OPC President Alexis Gelber cited Steve "in recognition of his distinguished career in journalism and his exceptional stewardship of BusinessWeek in his 19 years as editor-in-chief. During his tenure, Shepard has led the magazine to editorial excellence and numerous awards. Long before globalization became a buzzword, he understood the importance of international business coverage. As a leader and agenda-setter, Shepard is a beacon for the highest principles of editorial integrity."
We couldn't agree more. Congratulations, Steve. By Bill Kupper, President and Publisher