Steve Jobs’ 1995 Prediction for the Future of the Web
In 1995 Steve Jobs, then head of Next Computer gave a seventy-minute interview for a Public Broadcasting System [PBS] television series, “Triumph of the Nerds.” Interviewed by Robert X. Cringley, he provides a comprehensive account of his professional life, thoughts on technology and significantly predicts the future of the World Wide Web.
Approximately ten minutes of the interview was edited from the interview and used in the show. The rest of the interview was believed to be lost along with the original tape shortly after. Fortunately, it was rediscovered in 2011, found in the director’s garage.
In this “lost footage” Steve Jobs predicts the future of the World Wide Web, he says;
“I think the Web is going to be profound in terms of what it does to our society, as you know about 15% of the goods and services in the US are sold via catalogues or television. All that’s going to go on the web and more, billions and billions, soon tens of billions of dollars of goods and services will be sold on the Web.
A way to think about it, is it is the ultimate direct to customer distribution channel. The smallest company in the world can look as large as the largest company on the web”.
You can watch this excerpt on YouTube at https://youtu.be/JbZ0sCMN9do.
History of the World Wide Web: Invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee a CERN scientist and the first public web page was served in 1991. On 30 April 1993 CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain to become the beginning of the Web we know today.
Considering the history of the Web, Steve Jobs’ 1995 prophetic predictions were unnervingly accurate. He professed and predicted quite possibly the most significant advertising “Revolution” of modern times.
A Modern Day Archimedes Hypothesis
Richard Greeman describes the World Wide Web as a technology that is tentacular, infinite in its connections, interactive, and indestructible because its center is everywhere and nowhere. He suggests that the World Wide Web represents a modern day Archimedes Hypothesis. One with the leverage to unite every single human being on the planet earth to march towards the ultimate Utopia. 6. Ecotopia: A Bet You Can’t Refuse http://www.stateofnature.org/?p=5852
Although we may be considered a little less dramatic than Mr Greeman. We do believe that an integrated strategic online presence with brilliant Online Guerilla Marketing is a more significant example of the Law of Leverage than the simple lever. At the time of writing there was an estimated 3.3 billion and growing interconnected online users. Each user with the means at their fingertips to potentially create a message that could be seen and/or heard by every other user. Regardless of their nationality, location, religion, age, sex, education, or financial position. Undoubtedly the biggest contributor to this opportunity over and above the ubiquitousness of the Web itself is the more recent advent and popularity of social media. Which could be attributed to the almost overnight success of Facebook which was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg.
The Archimedes hypothesis we refer to is that of Archimedes (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC) the Ancient Greek Mathematician. Over 2,000 years ago he hypothesized the natural Law of the Lever or Leverage. By using a fulcrum point and a long lever one can exert an unprecedented larger force at one end of a lever while only using a relatively small force at the other end. Based on this hypothesis the World Wide Web stands to be the ultimate lever, currently offering a potential leverage of a growing 3.3 billion to 1 leverage.
The Traditional Conventional Advertising Models
There was a time, not too long ago when if a product or service was advertised on TV, it was a) something you could believe in and b) it was going to be a winner. Otherwise why else would they allow it to be advertised on TV? Perhaps it was the many infomercials advertising toned bodies in 14 weeks for just $29.95 over 4 easy to be made payments (providing you stick rigorously to the program) ruined all that?
Possibly more than our shattered illusions as to the honesty of the TV commercials is now the barrage of commercials on TV. For a lot of people in the modern world TV commercials have simply become a white noise. Something to be ignored or avoided. For the more tech savvy out there among us there are now plenty of ways to watch your favorite TV show without having to be subjected to a single commercial.
In the good old days, advertisers could place a full page advertisement in the local Yellow Pages or popular local or national press and guarantee a result. Today it is not that easy. Is there anywhere left in the world where they still print and distribute the Yellow Pages? How many people still read, let alone buy newspaper anymore?
Is there anybody out there in the world on their drive to or from work still tuned into a commercial radio station? Or has everybody already signed up to monthly subscription ad free streaming music?
The face of advertising is changing. The world is becoming smaller, there are more product and service offerings than there have ever been and consumers are now much wiser purchasers than they once were. Based on all these facts, would it not be easy to believe that the day of the professional marketer is now dead. Did the World Wide Web kill them off, have they become the Dodo of the modern information age? We would say NO, in fact we would sat quite to the contrary. With the advent and evolution of the World Wide Web the professional marketers’ role has become potentially more powerful and persuasive than ever before. It is the advertising techniques and strategies that