Does the Internet help small businesses compete -- or help large corporations dominate?
Jennifer Lawton, an Internet in Business mentor at inc.com, responds:
I think it does both of those things. It's an inexpensive platform for small businesses to reach out to markets they couldn't otherwise find. It also gives such rich opportunities to big businesses that they often squeeze out entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs sometimes have no choice but to sell out their product or service.
We're still just at the beginning of a long and wild ride, and I think it's difficult to determine the direction that it will all go. I'm in wait-and-see mode, not yet drawing any conclusions.
We hear so much about the Internet that we forget how new it is. Before something is built to last, it has to go through many iterations. For example, there were many different versions of factories before they figured out that assembly lines worked best. There were many different types of trains before they figured out a standard gauge. Right now, the Internet is going through the same types of changes. It's just happening much more quickly.
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