[Dave Barry] Be an Internet Millionaire and we may like you.

Rohit Khare (rohit@munchkin.ics.uci.edu)
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 17:23:59 -0700

> This seems like a paradox, but there's a very logical
> economic explanation: Internet investors have the brains of
> grapefruit. If you started a company called Set Fire To Piles of
> Money.com, they'd be beating down your door.

Um, isn't he being a little generous in his comparison of something
the size of grapefruit to the approximation of their grey matter?



Be an Internet millionaire, and we may like you
By Dave Barry
Published August 15, 1999

Everybody -- by which I mean "not you" -- is getting rich off the
Internet. We are constantly seeing stories in the media about young
Internet entrepreneurs who look like they should be mowing lawns for
spending money, except that they have the same net worth as
Portugal. Six months ago, they were college students, sitting around
their dorms, trying to figure out what body part to pierce next; now
they're the CEOs of Something-Dot-Com, and they're buying mansions,
jets, camels, etc., not to mention Van Gogh and Renoir (I'm not
talking about their paintings; I'm talking about their actual

When we read about these spectacularly successful young people -- who,
through their boldness and vision, have realized the American Dream,
and in so doing have created the greatest economic boom the world has
ever seen, thereby benefiting all of us -- we cannot help but express
our gratitude as follows: "I hope they get leprosy."

No! We must not be petty and jealous, just because these people are
young AND rich. Instead we must philosophically ask ourselves: "Are
these young zillionaires truly HAPPY? Does all that money really give
them any more pleasure than I can get from simply watching a sunrise,
or chatting with an old friend?"

You cretin: Of COURSE it does. These people are so rich that, if they
want, they can install giant hydraulic hoists under the entire
horizon, so they can raise it up and watch the same sunrise TWICE. And
they can buy all the old friends they want. They can buy YOUR old
friends. When you ask your old friends to come over and chat, they'll
say, "Sorry! I've been invited to a 22-year old zillionaire's house to
watch him raise the horizon!"

So the bottom line is, if you want to be happy in today's economy, you
need to be rich, too. This means that you have to become involved with
the Internet, which has brought about the most revolutionary change in
business communications since 1876, when the great inventor Alexander
Graham Bell first figured out how to make callers on hold listen to
Barry Manilow.

What, exactly, is the Internet? Basically it is a global network
exchanging digitized data in such a way that any computer, anywhere,
that is equipped with a device called a "modem," can make a noise like
a duck choking on a kazoo. This is called "logging on," and once you
are "logged on," you can move the "pointer" of your "mouse" to a
"hyperlink," and simply by "clicking" on it, change your "pointer" to
an "hourglass." Then you can go to "lunch," and when you come back,
there, on your computer screen, as if by magic, will be at least 14
advertisements related to Beanie Babies (which currently are the
foundation of the entire world economy). This entire process takes
place in less time than it takes for a sperm whale to give birth to

The business community is insanely excited about the
Internet. Internet companies are springing up like mushrooms, inspired
by such amazing success stories as Amazon.com, which started doing
business just a few years ago, and is already losing hundreds of
millions of dollars a year. A LOT of Internet companies are losing
money like crazy, yet their stock prices are soaring; in fact, the
more an Internet company loses, the more desirable it becomes to
investors. This seems like a paradox, but there's a very logical
economic explanation: Internet investors have the brains of
grapefruit. If you started a company called Set Fire To Piles of
Money.com, they'd be beating down your door.

Here in the newspaper business, we have definitely caught Internet
Fever. In the old days, we used to -- Get this! -- actually CHARGE
MONEY for our newspapers. Ha ha! What an old-fashioned, low-tech,
non-digital concept! Nowadays all of the hip modern newspapers spend
millions of dollars operating Web sites where we give away the entire
newspaper for free. Sometimes we run advertisements in the regular
newspaper urging our remaining paying customers to go to our Web sites
instead. "Stop giving us money!" is the shrewd marketing thrust of
these ads. Why do we do this? Because all the other newspapers are
doing it! If all the other newspaper stuck pencils up their noses,
we'd do that, too! This is called "market penetration."

My point is that if the newspaper industry -- which still has not
figured out, despite centuries of operation, where your driveway is --
can get into the Internet, then you can, too. Simply follow the clear,
detailed instructions set forth in this column, and you're on your
way! I sincerely hope you get very, very rich. Because then I can be
your friend.

Write to Dave Barry c/o Tropic Magazine, The Miami Herald, One Herald
Plaza, Miami FL 33132. Barry can no longer be reached by e-mail.


In a 32-bit world you're a 2-bit loser
You've got your own newsgroup, alt.total-loser
Your motherboard melts when you try to send a fax
Where'd you get your CPU, in a box of Crackerjacks?
Play me online? Well you know that I'll beat you
If I ever meet you I'll control-alt-delete you.
-- Weird Al Yankovic, "It's All About the Pentiums"