The expression "The face that launched a thousand ships" is a reference to the mythological figure Helen of Troy (or some would say, to Aphrodite). Her abduction by Paris was said to be the act that resulted in a fleet of a thousand ships being launched into battle, initiating the Trojan Wars. The Internet may be the modern day Helen of Troy. The Internet and its associated technologies have spawned a series of new industries that did not exist as recently as just twenty years ago.
The technical search giant, Google, alone is the inspiration and sole cause behind the creation of thousands of new businesses. There are now companies dedicated solely to Pay-Per-Click campaign management. Thousands of individuals and companies now make money through search engine optimization and outsourcing their services to improve website rankings, specifically to see that a website ranks well in Google's organic search results. There are now software applications that can determine what keywords to use in optimizing a website for search engine rankings, and other software programs that assess and evaluate website traffic and popularity. These products and businesses were all brought to fruition as a result of Google's Internet search domination and technical stature.
Likewise, technology has also killed a fair amount of companies. Fifteen years ago, the top search engines were AltaVista, Infoseek, and Goto.com (now known as Overture, or more recently Yahoo Search Marketing). In fact, Goto.com was the initial brains behind the pay-for-placement marketing model, of which a similar model was later adopted by Google, and very successfully grew Google's coffers.
Adopting new technologies is not enough though. Innovative business leaders see the opportunities that result from the emergence of new technologies, and are able to creatively figure out how to capitalize on those emerging technologies.
Without a doubt, technology has been the inspiration behind a series of new business ventures. Podcasting has launched indie stars, YouTube has launched movie stars, and technology has spurred innovation. Every day, individuals have rocketed to stardom simply by producing and publishing videos on the Internet. YouTube and iTunes are now household terms, understood by nearly everyone in the western world. Again, twenty years ago, this would not have been possible, simply because the technology did not exist.
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