Border Line

Monday, 3 January 2000
1999 is over. It was about time to get rid of all the millennium hype.

It was a bit of a odd turn of the year. For a day the world was divided into the 1999-ers and the 2000 dwellers. Nobody was actually at the border line. The year end arrived for a moment, and disappeared again to reappear an hour later, a bit more westerly. You could see the new year coming towards you, experienced a brief border moment after which the Y2K border line jerked further on it's way around the globe. 1-1-19100 iso 1-1-2000 at

The twaddle about the Y2K bug muted rapidly. With a bit of disappointment reporters announced that even the Russian nuclear power-stations were doing business as usual.

Here, at SUMit headquarters, all hardware has easily passed the first test easily. The SUMit website is still up and running, just like the rest of Internet. The only Y2k bug I encountered is "1-1-19100" as date at the daily Kamagurka cartoon (

So, the whole Y2K was quite over hyped. The start of the year 2000 is not really different than any other year. The border line between 1999 and 2000 is not really important. Or is it? Are we at the edge of a new economic era? Will internet and E-commerce change business dramatically?

A good week ago I got the request to look around for a micro wave, the Moulinex Y90. Internet is a perfect tool for a bottom-price quest. TyperTheType, ClickerTheClick. A search engine leads me to

Their unconventional approach surprises me. The prices go down every day, a kind of Dutch auction system. But... tomorrow a product can be out of stock. Order today and you'll get the bottom prices for sure, at a yet unknown day. I kind of like the concept. It is a way of doing business that I haven't come across outside the internet world.

Here, in the city of Gouda, Rob Dernee runs a shop in household appliances (Lange Tiendenweg 53, 2801 KE Gouda, the Netherlands Tel +31-182-689010). He advertises with a guaranteed lowest price. In this shop I bought my washing-machine a few years ago, and yes indeed it saved me a few hundred Guilders. A washing-machine is a washing-machine, a microwave is a microwave. The product is the same, the shop you buy from does not matter. The service is good everywhere. The deciding buying factor is the price.

So, in the old-fashioned way, I cycled to the city centre. Mr. Dernee looks at the Internet price, scratches the back of his head, and beats the internet price by more than a dozen Guilders. Well, there is only one cheapest shop.

Still, I'm in doubt for a while. At At internet the microwave's price might be even lower tomorrow, but I can order it here and now for a price that is quite good already. Besides, I prefer to do business with a human rather than a computer, despite my own IT background. I waver for a while. After quick deliberation with the boss the instruction is loud and clear: Buy it! Why? There are several reasons that pulled me over the line:

  1. Confidence
    Who is behind I haven't got a clue. The website is rather mysterious about it's identity, a violation of the fifth E-Commerce commandment. For service and guarantee I can address Rob Dernee in person.
  2. Speed
    I want this microwave now, not at an unpredictable moment in the future.
  3. Price
    Dernee offers the lowest price. Internet might go down a few more guilders, but that is not worth waiting for.
I wish you a happy and prosperous new year, with good business, with or without E-Commerce. Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Till next week!