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July 13, 2006

Mark Cuban Bores Me

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This post will probably only serve to get me in trouble [Hi Susan!] but I think it’s worth saying…

Mark Cuban bores me, and apparently the Internet bores him. You would think this would make us even and we wouldn’t have to listen to him rant, but no.

Cuban says:

“The Internet is Boring. Its old news. The biggest compliment I can pay to the net and to all those pioneers who got it to this point is that its boring. It works. It’s not perfect, but it works and has absolutely become a utility. We get water, electricity and now digital bits shipped to our homes. Its our choice whether to purchase any of the above, and we tend to choose all 3.”

Oookay. First, I’m not sure the Internet meets the definition of a public utility (aren’t utilities defined by what they deliver and aren’t they usually one-directional?), but I’ll let that go.

My main problem with Cuban’s ranting is that I’m not sure even he knows what he’s ranting about. First, he attacks the infrastructure of the Internet saying it’s not advancing and then he launches into a diatribe about how unimpressive the so-called Web 2.0 is. The confusing part is that he talks about these two issues like they (the infrastructure and the design) are the same thing and not, you know, completely different.
Cuban whines the Internet is boring and has become nothing more than a utility, albeit a faster working utility. It hasn’t seen any great changes and no one is doing anything close to being “oh my god” worthy.

He’s right. I so enjoyed the days of waiting 12 hours for an mp3 to download. I could go to class, come back, grab a nap, get something to eat, head out to another class, watch some TV, and then come back to find my song 80 percent finished. Things are exactly the same today as they were back then. I’m sorry, but I consider broadband a welcome advancement. I also consider Google – the company that revolutionized search for the masses – a vast improvement to Cuban’s “net”. Maybe I’m crazy.

But I’m not crazy. I don’t think you can say today’s Web is the same Web that was around a decade ago. It has seen unimaginable growth, access is now immediate and often constant, the Internet has transformed from a research-only tool to a place where users can do virtually anything from banking, to watching movies, to connecting with lost friends, to sharing photos and videos, to buying tickets and making reservations. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Cuban somehow also manages to equate today’s user generated content phenomenon as being nothing more than slightly advanced GeoCites Web pages:

“If GeoCities had created a script to add dated journal entries and gotten rid of those ugly floating ads that made everyone hate it, would this be posted on GeoBlogMaverick? And my goodness, if GeoCities had the foresite [sic] to add the Myspace concept of friends instead of rings and host people’s media files, would we call it a revolutionary social network?”

Did you read that? I credit that comment with the pounding headache I currently I have. The thing he doesn’t seem to understand is the reason MySpace was so innovative is because no one else thought to do it. Sure, GeoCities could have created a script to allow the concept of friends, but they didn’t. I technically could have founded Google (and given it a way cooler name), but I didn’t. The most innovative ideas are always the ones that make you step back and say, hey – why didn’t I think of that.

Jay Howard left a comment on Cuban’s blog today. Jay, wherever you are, you just may be my new favorite person.

“Please, use some of your billions to take community college course on Argument, Logic and Debate. I really want to believe that you’re a smart guy. I want to believe that you’re the shark at the table and not the chump that keeps catching cards on the river. The more I read your blog, however, the more I lean towards the latter.”

Amen, my friend. Cuban, if you think the Internet is boring, use your billions to do something about it. Otherwise, you sound like a man still bitter his team choked in the NBA Finals.

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