The Internet, the Philippines and Internet in the Philippines
    Issue 18 July - August 2000 I S S N   0119-7088

The Internet Fool Box

By Bill Platt(

Last night, a friend of mine shared a story with me that has stuck with me all day.

A friend of his told him about the day when he migrated to the United States from Mexico. He described it as something that was embarrassing at the time, but quite funny in retrospect.

His uncle had picked him up at the border to bring him to Oklahoma. On the journey north, they stopped at a convenience store to fill the car with gasoline. His uncle had asked him if he would like something to drink.

At that moment, he did not feel the urge for something to drink, so he said no. As he waited by the car, he watched his uncle walk up to a "tall box" that said "Coca-Cola" on it, and push a button. In amazement, he watched a can pop out of the bottom of the machine.

A few minutes later, he had decided that he was thirsty after all. So, he walked to the "magic box", made his selection, and pushed the button.

Much to his surprise, nothing came out. Puzzled, he turned and looked to his uncle for an explanation. His uncle was busting a gut at his expense. After his uncle stopped laughing, his uncle came to his rescue. His uncle produced to quarters and proceeded to explain how this "magic box" worked.

He said, "Here. Put these two quarters in the slot, and then push the button for your choice."

He followed his uncle's instructions, and then he heard the racket of his soft drink can rolling to a stop. He bent and picked up his drink.

As he explained it to my friend, he held that can in his hand before he started to drink, and said, "This is America."

I have had the occasion to talk to a great many people about the Internet. The vast majority of people that I speak with in person who would be interested in starting a business on the web, fall into the same traps again and again. They believe that their computer is a "magic box" as long as it is connected to this thing called the Internet.

With little or no knowledge of the Internet, they want me to tell them how to become a millionaire on the web!

If I cannot tell them for free how to do it, then they are more than willing to buy a package off of TV that will teach them all there is to know.

I have my own term for packages sold off of TV... it is "The Internet Fool Box".

I call it "The Internet Fool Box", not because these companies are offering bad packages, but because the buyers of these "Internet Fool Boxes" have such foolish ideas of how they will become rich next week if they buy this product!

Having little or no knowledge of the Internet, they feel that they will spend their money today, and get rich tomorrow with little or no effort!

Folks who are very familiar with the Internet will most likely not be interested in one of these "Internet Fool Boxes", because the vast majority of services and information being offered can be found in many places.

The vast majority of the folks signing up for their own "Internet Fool Box", do not have the foggiest idea of what they will find, learn or experience on the Internet. They just want to believe that these computer circuits are lined with gold.

A large majority of these people who buy their very own "Internet Fool Box" will end their experience on the web as if it were a Trail of Broken Dreams. They will never realize that running a business on the web is a lot like running a business downtown. They will never realize that there is more to know that what came in their "Internet Fool Box". They will never realize that --- whether they run a business on the web or run a business downtown --- that their business will require lots of hard work, dedication, long hours and continued learning in order to become and stay successful!

They will never understand that as a business owner, they must be able to wear several hats: that of an website designer, that of a website developer, that of a copy writer, that of promoter, that of an Internet traffic specialist, that of an ad man, that of a customer service specialist, that of a order filler, that of a janitor, and that of a manager.

Even if you have purchased an "Internet Fool Box", you are not doomed as long as you understand that there is more to the Internet than walking up to your "magic box" and pushing a button. In order to make the "magic box" work for you, you must understand how the "magic box" works.

Remember the words of a wise old uncle, "Here. Put these two quarters in the slot, and then push the button for your choice."

The "magic box" can work for you too, as long as you understand how to make it work for you. And if you take the time and make the effort to learn what you really need to know to make it work for you, then one day, you too can proudly hold your can in the air and say, "This is America."

Bill Platt is the Owner of , a large computer support knowledge-base, & a free-reprint article archive. Bill is the editor of several ezines including "American Icons - Best of The Web!" & the editor of "The Windstorm Computing & Technical Support Newsletter" .

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