25 March 2009


I overheard a person commenting that "Puerto Rico is approaching 70% Internet penetration."


Yes, "approaching" if you you choose to round up 27% to 70% as your nearest "significant lame guess."

Despite once having the worldwide lead in digital infrastructure for communications, Puerto Rico has not embraced the power of the Internet to a significant degree. I define significant as 50% or more of the population, for though the oft-mentioned "tipping point" may be less, the fact is that once "50% plus one" is achieved, a "tendency" becomes a "sociocultural platform."

The Internet is the broadest, most flexible sociocultural platform ever created by humankind. But to Us, it is more a foreign land with a porn industry and shopping malls than it is a platform, i.e., a place to develop what Our minds conceive. 

I have stated a number of times that whereas the Anglo-Asian world prefers science fiction over fantasy, the Latin mind prefers fantasy over science fiction. The key difference is the role of technology: in fantasy, technology is never an issue. To the Latin mind--and rest assured, in this We are very much Latin--technology is something from "other places," and unless We can gesticulate with it (cell phones) or dance with it (MP3 players), We ain't that interested.

Oddly enough, I began this blog because of this dichotomy in what I lived and what I saw around Me. I spend too much time living and working on the Web, but too few of Us do and too many of Us don't spend anywhere near enough time with it. Total Internet penetration in Puerto Rico (in terms of percentages) still lags significantly behind the ratings for Top 10 TV shows, even one where a cowardly transvestite pretends to be an old lady while spewing gossip with a witless sidekick also lacking in dignity and self-respect. A dim-witted doll is the fantasy; the plasma screen is science fiction without any thought.

Will We ever see the numbers for Internet usage rise to 55%, 60% or praise the microchip, 75%? Not anytime soon...unless We catch on to its power as a tool for sociocultural and socioeconomic growth. And even then, the acceptance curve will be more related to age groups than to insight. But I've come this far with the disappointment and I can certainly--along with more brilliant colleagues than Me in this realm--be patient as the growth (eventually) comes.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

The Insider said...

What if we gave people such a huge benefit that they would be compelled to use it, or such a huge disincentive if they avoided it? They're clearly not going to understand intellectual benefits. If they understand that, they're already on the Internet.

In the same line of "lateral" thinking as using Pykrete icebergs as aircraft carriers in WWII what if:

We send each welfare recipient in Puerto Rico a $300 laptop, with free wireless broadband capabilities. We sent 10,000 of these setups per month, with a total cost exceeding about $3 Million.

Each month they will be sent an email labeled from Fortuno. The email will include 5-10 tasks, which include stuff such as:

- Signup for Facebook/LinkedIn
- Post an online classified ad
- Do a search for "resume writing" on Google
- Login to your bank account
- Read a wikipedia article on "small business"
- Print a coupon
- Complete a web survey
- Send us the link to the website of your favorite charity
- Create a gift registry list at Sears.com

Their traffic is monitored via a proxy.

If they complete the tasks, they get sent their check. If not they have to visit an office each month to file a report stating reasons why they were unable to complete the task.

10,000 households every month would have a very strong reason to learn how to use the Internet, exploring many of its different capabilities. :)

What would happen?

BTW - We'll try to make the investment back quickly. We'll sell detailed *aggregate* statistical reports back to every business in Puerto Rico that is interested on the demographic (particularly spending habits). Another of their tasks will be to read 20 promotional emails, which we'll charge to advertisers at $1 per view. We'll also do "micro PPPs" by joint venture, affiliate, cost per acquisition deals. ;)