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  1. A World of Shopkeepers
  2. Shopkeepers as Social Engineers
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Shopkeepers as Social Engineers

Now, creating a world of shopkeepers could have some unintended side benefits. But first, a commentary of my driving habits.

I'm what you might call an aggressive driver.

After all, I'm a full-blooded Italian male and the word for "pass" (as in passing a car) in Italian means to surpass or win. And, like most drivers, I view other motorists who don't measure up to my driving standards with a scowl, a horn blast, and frantically waving hands. But a funny thing happens to me when I arrive in my neighborhood. I turn from aggressive motorist to friendly neighbor. If I see one of my neighbors performing a driving maneuver that would normally drive me to distraction, I just smile and wave and continue into my garage.

Why?

For the simple reason that I know them and they know me. The autonomy of my car that protects me from my outbursts of frustration on the city streets no longer applies when I see someone I know. You know what I mean. You do it yourself.

The same principle applied when I was growing up in Brooklyn. There was always a stay-at-home busybody or two watching the neighborhood streets, willing and waiting to inform on you. "Frankie, this is Mrs. Krumski. I saw what you did. I'm going to tell your mother when she gets home!"

So what does this have to do with e-commerce? Plenty. Let me explain.

The Internet is going to change everything. I know. You've heard that before. But it's true. It's especially true for e-commerce because the Internet will allow anybody with an ounce of entrepreneurial zeal to set up shop on the web.

It will also, by the way, revitalize our neighborhoods. Here's how.

A world of shopkeepers will be springing up in neighborhoods across the country and even the globe—each marketing to a particular niche of customers. With more and more people working on the Net from their homes, there will be less need for automobile travel (thus reducing pollution and making for safer neighborhood streets), more people watching the neighborhood (reducing the crime rate), and even neighborhood "Happy Hours" where the residents spend time with each other as they did in the office environment.

The end result—a revitalization of our neighborhoods.

The upside? Less need for patrolling police, and our freeways would be turned into skateboard ramps! The only downside I see is Mrs. Krumski.

So, yes, dear reader, you can have your taco and eat it too. Thousands of places to shop, easy ways to find products, and thousands of businesses competing for your consumer dollar on the Net.

Let a thousand shopkeepers bloom!

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