Don't worry IT 'mite' never happen

As I write this pundits on TV are raging about the bubble bursting, Sky TV getting out of Nasdaq because it's too volatile and editorials in papers all over the country crowing 'I told you so' about the lack of sustainability in the new economy.

That's it, pack your bags. Put down your software and step away from the keyboard, nice and slow now.

The IT revolution is over. It's history. Your careers are toast and as for stock options, well they're worth exactly the same as the paper they're written on.

As I write this the pundits on TV are raging on about the bubble bursting, Sky TV getting out of Nasdaq because it's too volatile and I'm sure there are editorials in daily papers all over the country if not the world crowing "I told you so" about the lack of sustainability in the new economy.

It wasn't that long ago I was astonished to read the editorial in North and South telling me the IT revolution only has a few years left to run according to most industry analysts, which I found deeply offensive both as an IT user and a journalist.

Now I fully expect to have the Luddites pointing their fingers at us chanting the new age equivalent of "Burn them at the stake".

After all, we've failed them. We promised them great riches and wealth beyond their imagination if only they believed in the great IT.

Of course, it's all nonsense. We never promised and, in New Zealand certainly, they never came. Our tech market is really quite small - and any ripples a major collapse will have will be limited, which is both a good and bad thing.

It's good that we aren't caught up in the frenzy that was the e-bubble, but it's bad that we couldn't convince investors to pay more attention to our tech stocks.

It may be too late now - once bitten, twice shy could well become the order of the day with tech stocks.

Overall, I think the collapse is a good thing for the technology sector. The overinflated stocks that have fallen the furthest were, in my opinion, the ones that deserved to fall.

Time has an interesting piece on how to inflate your stock offerings - find a lowly-priced tech-related stock ("now with added e-commerce!") and buy thousands of dollars worth of stock.

Then visit a chat room or Web site devoted to stock trading and talk up the stock as much as possible. When the stock doubles in value (remember, it's really low already) get out and take your money elsewhere.

The stock will eventually subside back to existing levels once everyone realises there's nothing new and exciting there and everyone's happy. Well, everyone who didn't invest their retirement fund in the stock and get burned. That's all come crashing down now.

It's those stocks that tried to hide their real value by calling themselves an e-commerce company that have paid the price and I for one am happy to see them crash and burn.

They've done nothing but provide mainstream media with IT stories that miss the point - there are genuine companies out there doing good work that will benefit them all.

I just hope none of those companies are too damaged by the rush to dump the e-charlatans.

Of course, here in New Zealand we have other problems far more pressing than the Nasdaq meltdown - we have a $2 billion industry poised to be eaten by a small mite and that will cost us dearly.

Of course, the real problem is that we're so dependent on an economy based almost exclusively on circumstances beyond our control - weather, pest infestations and the like.

Whether that receives mainstream coverage to match the stock market plummet is anyone's guess - but I can't see it myself.

More likely the news will focus on how bad the mite is for the New Zealand's economy while the tech news will be "told you so". Hardly encouraging news.

Paul Brislen is a regular columnist and reporter for Computerworld. Phone him on 09 302 8751 or send email to Paul Brislen.

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