How did IT lose control of ‘Digital‘?
The dot com debacle was the fault of short-sighted management and the Y2K ‘bug’ creating a development vacuum allowing ‘marketing’ to take control of ecommerce and internet budgets, whilst the ICT professionals were distracted. £Millions were blown and the marketeers and entrepreneurial con-men just walked away.
Remember Boo.Com? Liquidators KPMG were called in on May 17, 2000. To quote Richard Wray in the Guardian, Monday 16 May 2005, “Boo.com spent fast and died young but its legacy shaped internet retailing”.
In 2000, Britain’s dotcom dream died as fashion “e-tailer” Boo.com, became the UK’s first high-profile internet collapse. More than £80m from investors, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Bernard Arnault, chairman of luxury group LVMH, and the Benetton family, went south.
The stories of lavish lifestyles and lack of proper management control became a familiar theme as a host of so-called business-to-consumer or B2C sites and other online start-ups went to the wall, and funding for internet ventures dried up, share prices plummeted and bankers tightened their belts.
Boo.com’s high-profile founders, a Swedish poetry critic, Ernst Malmsten and former Vogue model, Kajsa Leander, found themselves blamed for the excesses of a generation of tie-less wannabes.
As for Y2K, as far back as the 1970’s, the limited capacity of 8- and 16-bit systems resulted in dates being abbreviated to six characters ‘ddmmyy’. As a result, 2000 would be the same as 1900 [‘00’], and the world would end.
Incredibly, the Y2K problem was the subject of a 1984 book, ‘Computers in Crisis’ by Jerome and Marilyn Murray; reissued in 1996 by McGraw-Hill entitled ‘The Year 2000 Computing Crisis’. The first mention of the Problem online was Friday, 18 January 1985, by Usenet poster Spencer Bolles.
Marketing is a short term near horizon, buiness, about campaigns with indefinite, unmeasurable results. To quote Mark Ritson in Marketing Week, 13 Jun 2017, “Why can’t marketers see that digital metrics are bullshit? Digital metrics are a mess of confusion and obfuscation, but it seems clear most marketeers have bought into this opaque and over-complicated world.