Re: The Final Word on Browsers and the Future

Matthew James Marnell (marnellm@portia.portia.com)
Sat, 19 Oct 1996 00:05:00 -0400


Message-Id: <199610190405.AAA11507@portia.portia.com>
To: murray@spyglass.com (Murray Altheim)
cc: "Jason O'Brien" <jaobrien@fttnet.com>, www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: The Final Word on Browsers and the Future 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Fri, 18 Oct 1996 16:59:07 CDT."
             <v02140b1eae8da6d44aa7@[208.203.149.85]> 
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 1996 00:05:00 -0400
From: Matthew James Marnell <marnellm@portia.portia.com>

Regarding the CD-ROM / Vinyl / 8 Track (8 Tracks are more similar to
CD's than anything else).

I look at it more like this.

Scenario 1:

Two people arrive at a store, one driving a Nova, and one a Vette.
The guy driving the Nova has a greater liquidity than the man with
the Vette, and more interest in the stores products.  The guy in
the Vette spend an enormous part of his liquidity on gas, maintenance
and the car payment each month, has no interest in the stores products
other than to tell his girlfriend (who he picked up in the Vette)
that he went to store X, Y, and Z, until he found her a perfect
Sweetest Day present.

If we assume that they're both wearing a comparable set of clothes,
and both walk into the store at the same time, they both have
about the same chance of being served, unless the store monitors
what you drive into the lot.

Scenario 2:

Two people arrive at a web site, one driving a 386 with Mosaic,
one driving a Pentium with W95.  The one with the 386 actually
has the greater liquidity because he's never seen a need to
upgrade every time something new comes out, has no desire to
get under the hood of his machine, hears horror stories from
friends about Gateways, etc, and is happy where he is.  The
guy with the Pentium on the other hand has spent most of
his money keeping up with the computer curve, upgrading his
computer, memory, and software on a month to month basis.

If we assume that the web page has frames without alternative
content, then we get a browser that doesn't come back and
one that sticks around, but doesn't spend anything, because
the site doesn't sell computer equipment, memory or software.

In the 1st scenario, there isn't discrimination on how the
customer got there.  In fact the guy with the nova tries to
catch a salespersons eye, talk and buy something, while the
Vette is more likely to somewhat avoid the salesperson because
he knows he's not going to buy anything.

In the second scenario, the site has mistakenly believed that
the power user is more likely to buy as opposed to the content
user who is more interested in maximizing his utility (key economic
term) with what he has.

I do several sites where the key objective is to maximize profit,
in the sense that they are informative sites for gov't sponsored
agencies.  The information comes first and foremost, and the manner
in which people access this site differs drastically from the 
for "monetary" profit sites.  To anyone who likes to monitor
browser activity, these sites would seriously screw with their
heads.  Also, the way they find the page generally differs.
Very few come from an Index or search engine, and more come from
related sites that have agreed to give cross links.  This is what
the web is for, and many people maximize their utility this way.

I have several computer systems.  I do 90% of my work from a unix
workstation.  The version of Netscape that works with this particular
version of Unix supports no more than the base services, and yet
takes up an egregious amount of memory, whereas lynx uses 5% of
the resources to accomplish the same task.  Next to this computer
there is a 7600/132 Power Mac with all the amenities.  It runs
the latest version of Netscape and has support for Netscape plugins
for all the bells.  How often does Netscape get fired up from either
machine?  Very little.  I don't even own a machine that runs MS
software.  I'm more interested in actually getting something done,
which happens faster on my Unix Workstation and Mac.

Am I alone in this?  Not from my reckoning.  I talk to several
people daily in the area that have called me for the simple reason
that I have "Internet" in our name in the phone book.  Their ISP
has informed them that they need X for best use of their service,
and the user is generally looking for someone to give him a second
opinion.  If I had any interest in running a dial-up service I
could probably do pretty well, alas I've done enough consulting
for people who do that sort of work that I have no desire to
do it myself.

Well, like the Mississippi, I did more meandering then I should
have.

Matt