As you read this and the coming installments, please keep in mind these were written when Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tesla, Twitter, and Yahoo! did not yet exist.
Written: November 1993
www.GetCo.com. The next phase of “Get Connected” is to create an information repository on the Internet in a server on the World Wide Web. The typical address of this Web server using Internet protocol would be “www.GetCo.com”.
A server, which is simply a host computer which provides round-the-clock dedicated access to material stored there, is a resource where industry analysts, consultants, editors, and the public can access GetCo press releases, product information, white papers, technical and customer support information about your products and services. A home page does much more than provide another dusty library of information about your company.
The World Wide Web is the killer application of the Internet. The Web is an unprecedented phenomenon in its growth and excitement. The Web is a body of information interconnected by hyperlinks. These links transform logical relationships between pieces of information into actual physical relationships.
For instance, a user may be looking at your company’s home page and see a new government regulation affecting the export of certain products you sell. If a hyperlink was in place, it could connect the user directly to a government computer in Washington, for example, which had the full text of the new law. The World Wide Web allows users to interconnect between these logical relationships in a free associative manner.
A GetCo homepage. A fundamental element of “Get Connected” is the creation of a home page on the World Wide Web for your organization. The home page is displayed when a user first connects to your World Wide Web server. The home page becomes the starting point like a table of contents which guides the user to other sources of related information. It is a powerful communications tool for presenting your organization to the millions of people who use the World Wide Web.
Getting around the GetCo homepage. Search tools are available which can be integrated in your home page to enable users to enter a keyword to find information in press releases or other documents residing in your system. The World Wide Web is consistent in its format, so when users first encounter your home page, they will already know how to use it.
While all these capabilities alone make a home page a powerful communications tool, its effectiveness extends even further. Web home pages can enable companies to provide customers with photos of their products, demo versions of new software, full-motion video to show how to assemble or install a product, or even provide entertainment. A home page allows an organization to present a customized look and feel which further reflects and communicates its corporate identity.
After you’ve experienced the power and flexibility of the Web, you will not want your organization to be absent. Not being present on the World Wide Web will soon be equivalent to not having a fax machine. And in the not-too-distant future, not doing business on the World Wide Web will be equivalent to not doing business at all.
How does one go about creating a presence on the Web? There are many sources of information on how to do this. Look at ibm.com and other organizations which may have a homepage. The Web itself has many sites which provide tutorials, examples, and reference information.
All the benefits of the Web also apply to your employees. The World Wide Web can be used inside your company for employee communication and support. Your World Wide Web server can be accessed on your internal company network if it supports TCP/IP, the protocols of the Internet. Medical claim forms, vacation requests, company announcements, and a variety of additional intra-company information can be disseminated internally over a home page.
For larger companies, the home page can greatly improve the integration of information among divisions and locations while improving the sense of community within your organization. A firewall can be placed between your internal network and the Internet, allowing employees to reach outside your private network, but preventing users outside of the organization from reaching in to internal-only information.
Employees surfing the Net. Numerous benefits accrue from allowing employees to surf the Net and have access to home pages outside of your organization. Especially in large organizations, it is easy to focus inward and lose sight of marketplace trends. The World Wide Web provides a way for researchers, market analysts, marketing planners, product planners, etc., to follow the activities of customers, competitors, and suppliers.
My reflections – 2022
In 1993, when I wrote “Get Connected”, there were 130 websites in the world. The numbers grew quickly. In 1994 there were 2,738. By 1997 there were a million and by 2000, 17 million. Today there are approximately two billion.[i] The ideas I described in this article were rejected by most executives in the mid 1990s. Hard to believe but, even today, many websites do not have a “Get Connected” attitude. I later expanded on the ideas as a net attitude. I published my first book about this in 2001 with an update to it in 2016. Net Attitude: What it is, How to Get it, and Why it is More Important Than Ever.
[i] “Total Number of Websites,” internet live stats (2022), https://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/