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11/21/2007
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FedEx's CIO: Four Thoughts About How The Web Is Changing

Web destinations are yesterday's thinking. Now it's all about making connections.

When FedEx CIO Rob Carter gets fired up, pay attention. And Carter's passionate that we're at a historic time of change for the Internet. Here are four ideas to chew on, drawn from our interview and a recent essay by Carter sent to FedEx employees:

1. Connections
Carter says first-generation Web applications, and the whole idea of visiting a Web site, are "being replaced with a new generation that is about being able to connect and provide services and build communities." The explosive growth of this connectivity has been "completely underestimated" in how it will affect society and markets.

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2. Business Networks
Customers will expect businesses to whip up a service they want, even if it spans four, five, six companies--or groups inside a company. "It's almost easier to integrate businesses horizontally, across our connected world, than it is within your own company."

3. Second Life, For Real
Expect more ties to real-world commerce, like shopping or making hotel reservations. "Second Life has enough momentum to make us wonder: What if this identity I've built could spill over into my daily life and get things done for me?"

4. Who Knows
Carter doesn't dare predict exactly where this Internet evolution will lead, which is why he urges his colleagues to focus on how and where people are connecting online, and to build services around those activities. Whatever change comes "probably won't happen the way we expect it to, but it will be the unforeseen effect of these connections that makes it possible."

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