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A Net Attitude, by the Book


By Michael Miller

Wasn’t it only last year that the Internet was expected to revolutionize the world? Remember how it was supposed to change everything? Sure, the business models of many dot-coms didn’t pan out, but that’s not to say that the whole idea was wrong. The Internet did change the way many businesses work, and that change contains lessons for everyone.

One early true believer in the role of the Internet in business was John Patrick, vice president of Internet technology at IBM. Patrick chronicles the changes in his new book, Net Attitude (Perseus Publishing). He has been preaching the power of the Internet both within IBM and to the outside world since 1994, and he remains convinced of its significance. He writes:

“Net attitude means thinking about things in a way that differs significantly from the way many of us were taught as we grew up. We need to think along the lines of the development of the Internet; to think like those who were part of the grassroots development of the Internet. We need to think more ‘outside’ than ‘inside.’ Thinking big is important but starting simple and growing fast are even more important. Good security starts with attitude—not with technology….We need to learn how to get requirement directly from the market—not from complicated processes and studies. We need to believe in small teams and give them maximum freedom of action. We also need to think differently about information technology systems, in particular to adopt an attitude for rapid deployment and integration of applications.”

In Net Attitude, Patrick offers up a great reminder of the Internet enthusiasm of a year ago and the potential that the Net still holds.