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issue 08/15/2000

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vCity 1.0
by Dr. Adam L. Gruen

20 days in the life of a 21st century virtual city simulation.

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Mondays Are Hell: A (Mostly) True Internet Adventure
[page 7 of 7]

When I logged on Monday morning, traffic was already hitting the new server hot and heavy. By night I figured we'd be pulling fifty percent of the URL's North American traffic. By the end of the week Mr. Hotshot Designer's server would look like I-5 at 3 a.m., all bandwidth and no traffic. This poor palooka wouldn't even see the knockout punch coming. I almost felt sorry for him, but feelings don't get you far in this business. I leaned back and admired the server logs.

He figured it out on Friday, around the time Siberian ISPs had finished resolving to our San Jose server. He came unglued fast, spitting psycho emails like a fire hose. I hit the Delete key.

The orders started ticking in. I sat tight. When the log charts showed I was walking on water, the client would be ready for a hefty bill.

When it was time to pay my rent, I emailed the log charts to the client. He was already excited from the action at the till. First time he'd made money on the Web. But he wasn't shy about spending it. He'd pronto lined up a buffet at the joint around the corner from his store. Free meal. Why not. I typed the bill.

Except for the client I was the only one there without a nose ring. Maybe I should have gotten a Mohawk on the way over. It was pure buzz. This crowd had the web bug bad. One of the kids dragged me into the corner and started floating kook ideas on keyword-jacking. Great. Another Webmaster-in-21 days. Last week he was sucking his thumb and asking how to config email. They'll probably hire a branding manager next week. I hear colleges are teaching that stuff. I feel my pain, for years to come.

I collected the check and left. At least it was bigger than the designer's. As I closed the door I could hear them singing, "Ooh la la, IPO!"

Who knows. Maybe they'll put my name in the lower left of the home page, <font size="-3">. Hope they remember to ship the customers' orders. My options could depend on it.

I put my beater in gear and headed for the beach. Much more staring at a computer screen and I'd look like Fred the Mole. The cold fog would do me good.

about the author:
Nicholas Carroll is a web analyst and developer. His primary work -- aside from analyzing patterns of web use -- is setting strategy and specifications for commercial websites in the U.S. and Canada, including traffic sourcing plans, interface and usability design, and technical specifications. A specialist in turning around unprofitable web sites, he often works as project lead. His background is in programming, project management, media, and marketing.

Carroll has had several business books published, as well as dozens of articles on high technology and business, in newspapers ranging from the Chicago Tribune to the Toronto Globe and Mail. His marketing papers Mousetraps on the Web were widely praised for the application of traditional direct marketing strategies to the new technologies of the Internet..


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