I need some inconsistency

An amalgamation of content: the aim not to politicise, but exercise. I'll think aloud about politics, technology, current news, as well as being a gay boy and what that really entails.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Lane Fox leaves before the minute's up

In another story using the tabloid style that BBC News Online has adopted of late, Martha Lane Fox - the MD of Lastminute.com, is being reported to be standing down. Her company is famous as one that everybody knows but nobody has actually used. The system works by Lastminute being supplied with information about deals from agents and tour operators that haven’t yet sold. The company then posts this information on their site and takes delivery of payment. Essentially they are a forum for deals that haven’t found a buyer elsewhere which operators would rather fill up that have go unused, and along the way they charge for the privilege.
The redeeming feature of the article is the analysis of lastminute as a whole which mentions the all to obvious and yet oft missed fact about online businesses:

With no bricks and mortar presence on the high street, online retailers had to - and still have to - compete in the sphere of media mobilisation.
The news media themselves also had an interest in following the dot.com story closely. A new medium was both a threat and an opportunity to their own businesses.
So the photogenic and public relations savvy Ms Lane Fox became a natural star of the show.
Publicity, after all, is cheaper than marketing.

Part of me thinks that she’s leaving for green pastures since operating a site continually on one’s personality might become a drag after five years; perhaps a nice magazine business to run, as she clearly needs something cut-throat. But at the same time she may just be trying to generate some much needed attention to the site – after all, it hasn’t exactly been top of my daily list of sites. Is she jumping ship once the positive image has returned in order to avoid a follow up dip in performance? I think it would hardly be charitable to seriously consider this as she has just steered the company through its most demanding year –it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that the motive for leaving is something more than just looking for a new field to sow.



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