Friday, April 28, 2006

Information Age is Dead, Long Live the Communications Age

I believe that the information age is over. The last several years have brought about numerous ways of obtaining information immediately, through the Internet, through search engines, through huge repositories of data which are accessable by anyone. Libraries are moving more and more to the electronic format, so that information can be accessed instantly and in a more flexible format. Information now quickly flows around the world.

Remember the 'old' days (pre-Internet) when you wanted to get information (such as an annual report) about a company you had an interest in investing in? First, you had to get the address of the company. So you had to drive to the nearest library (or use their phone-in service if they had one), go to the reference section and look for Value Line, Hoovers, or one of the other corporate directories. You then needed to write down that information, take it home, type up a letter on a computer (or typewriter in the pe-computer days) asking the company for their lastest annual report, quarterly report and recent new releases. Finally, after waiting at least a couple weeks (sometimes a couple months), you would finally receive the information through the U. S. mail. This actually wasn't so long ago - think back just ten years.

Now on our computer, we click on the stock we want with all the latest reports, including government filings, and up-to-the-minute news releases.

We now have access to more information than we will ever need, and more information is becoming available on a second by second basis. So now that our info needs are met, what's next?

Communication is now the next evolution. Look at the way we are communicating now: emailing, instant messaging on computers, text messaging on cell phones, calling people on cell phones (hey, there's a new concept), calling people through the Internet (VOIP). The number of senior citizens who are using the Internet is increasing dramatically. How do they communicate with their children and grandchildren? By email. Yes, they still use the phone and write letters, but the use of email is skyrocketing amoung the elderly.

How do we communicate with our children now? By cell phone. Remember the old days when we were kids riding our bicycles out in the middle of nowhere and we were running late getting home? We would just have to suffer the consequences when we did get home. These days, our kids just call us and say they are running late, we get to ask them why, they get to give us an excuse, and we don't have to worry about them.

How do the entertainment companies now communicate to us, with their advertising and programming? We can now get videos on our cell phones! Communications is the next big wave, and I am now looking for stocks that will ride that wave.

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