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Think Ahead: Judith Estrin

Judith Estrin

President and CEO
Packet Design Inc.

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Can you name one idea that was true two PC Forums ago but is no longer valid?

The Net is an exciting technology, but it’s just another medium. People got confused between the Net as a mechanism to communicate or make workers more productive — which it is — and the Net as a business unto itself. As the hype grew, people convinced themselves that everything had changed. But the basic economic truths never changed.

What business opportunity, partnership, or investment are you really excited about today?

I tell people that the Internet is in the covered-wagon phase. It’s not robust or easy enough for people to use fully. The next step is to transform the Net into a tool that everyone can use and benefit from. Whether that step entails infrastructure or wireless mobility or something else — or all of those things — we’re not sure. There’s a lot out there that could have a huge impact.

What will we be seeing and talking about at next year’s PC Forum?

A year from now, we’ll start seeing some economic recovery. People will be looking back at what was a very tough year, and they’ll be focusing on building real businesses with real technology. Capital spending on technology will be on the rise, but it will be gradual. We saw a very abrupt close to spending, and next year, we’ll see a slow reopening.

Learn more about Judith Estrin on the Web.

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