Table: Net Visions

BRIAN P. KELLEY, Vice-president, global consumer services and chief of e-biz initiatives, Ford Motor

"Today, it's easy to believe e-business is not all that impactful. The reality is that e-business is a tremendous tool for cost reduction. It's a tremendous tool to help you get closer to your customer. It's a tremendous tool for what used to be called Old Economy companies to apply to our current processes. The winners will be those that view the Internet as a complement to, and not a cannibal of, their traditional way of competing. "

ADRIAN SLYWOTZKY, Vice-president in charge of research and intellectual-capital development, Mercer Management Consulting

"In the slowdown, it's a huge question whether companies will put their e-business projects on the shelf. We got high growth because of dot-com spending and some incumbent spending to respond to the threat. With the threat gone and demand soft, the tendency to consider this stuff discretionary is very attractive. That view may predominate."

MARK HOGAN, President, e-GM General Motors' consumer e-commerce unit

"There hasn't been the massive move to buying cars online that we thought there would be 18 months ago. It's a big purchase, and we found not many people are willing to finalize the transaction without putting their hands on the steering wheel. But online commerce will continue to grow. The Internet provides convenience. And building cars to order using the Internet is still the endgame, because you become more efficient."


"There was a collective sigh of relief in most industries when the [dot-com] bubble burst. It was like the pressure was off. I think that's going to lead to a significant reduction in efforts. Given our experience, we would say that's a huge mistake. Incumbent companies have got to come to grips with this new technology, because it is very, very powerful. It's not going away."

JAMES BREYER, Managing Partner, Accel Partners

"E-tailing's problems have been a cost issue, not a market-demand issue. Consumers love buying on the Internet. Three years from now, you will have three or four dominant companies in Internet consumer e-commerce that are building large, profitable, businesses. We are just at the beginning of proving that travel, financial services, health care, and education will be distributed cost-effectively over the Internet"

HAL VARIAN, Dean, School of Information Management & Systems, University of California at Berkeley

"I see a bright future. If we look at how the Net is changing the nature of markets, it's not that it can't do it, but we are struggling to find the business models that work. No one has an answer to how you make money. That means it's a time for experimentation. "


"Innovation is just beginning. Over the next couple of years, 5 or 10 companies will emerge that take advantage of this medium and do something unique. Perhaps some of the most valuable, yet harder-to-develop, concepts will come next. They may be more sustainable"

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