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25 Ways
The Hot Zone
He Said, She Said

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Summer 2000
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Asked to explain the phenomenon, Al Osborne, director of the Price Center, offers this sweeping view: "Today's students are less comfortable with tradition and hierarchy and the acceptable order in terms of when you can be responsible and accountable. Students today don't just want a job. They want their work to have a far bigger meaning than 8-to-5, a gold wristwatch and a nice pension when they retire. They want economic success today, but they also want a better world today."

The e-commerce trend began surfacing at Anderson about three years ago. "The whole dot-com explosion happened, in the first nine months of my first year," recalls Seth Baum '99, the 28-year-old marketing director of, the Emeryville, CA-based pet portal that doesn't have the sock-puppet mascot. "There were a frenzy of companies springing up and people becoming multimillionaires. Disney was forming, Ebay had triumphed."

Faculty have been scrambling to keep up with the dot-com phenomenon ever since. This February, for instance, Dean Bruce Willison announced the creation of a new research effort, called the Center for Management in the Information Economy, to deal with the galloping digital-technology sector.

Asked how the e-business craze has affected the curriculum, senior lecturer Alan Carsrud lets out a desperate laugh. "It's called 'mad-dash-rush,'" says Carsrud, who teaches several courses, including one on entrepreneurship and venture initiation. "I've always said business plans were never written in granite. Well, you'd better keep the damn computer on and the word processor moving because it's a constant game."Part of the problem is the rapid pace of high technology, some of which is so new that business literature on it doesn't even exist. Carsrud, for instance, recently returned from Helsinki, where Anderson has a relationship with the Finnish National Technology Center. While there, he ran into a new digital phenomenon called m-commerce or "wapping," where people surf the 'Net and buy products using their mobile phones. "Everybody in Helsinki 'waps.' We have a tendency around here to think we're leading the charge. We ain't leading the charge. I was in front of a group of my faculty talking about m-commerce. They said, 'What's that?'"

Business trends on the Internet are also changing so quickly that it's almost impossible to keep pace. Only a year ago, business-to-consumer - or b-to-c-companies were in vogue. After profits proved too shallow and investors became disgruntled, b-to-b (business-to-business) commerce took off. "That's got six more months at best," predicts Carsrud. "We're now moving into really being crammed into wireless and wireless portals, and I give that, oh, maybe 18 months. If you are keeping tabs on this industry, it's crazy."

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