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Donna Hoffman

Associate professor

Owen Graduate School of Management

Vanderbilt University, Nashville

What would I be doing if I weren't researching online? I can't even imagine.

I've always been interested in studying and measuring consumer response and I've been a denizen of the 'Net and acknowledged computer geek for years. So, I'm in the happy position of getting paid to do something I'm intensely passionate about.

What other business can you be in where going to sleep each night means the potential of waking up to find that something dramatic has happened in the market since the last time you checked-which was usually right before you logged off and went to sleep.

We're at a critical juncture in the development of the Web as a commercial medium. Until now, we have lacked the solid data on which to base investment and business decisions. Now that we are starting to collect statistically solid information on who uses the Web and why, commercial development can be dictated by demand instead of fear, confusion and a "gold-rush" mentality.

I believe that the Internet is a revolution, jump-started by hypermedia Web browsers, that has the potential to radically transform not just the way individuals go about conducting their business with each other, but also the very essence of what it means to be a human in society.

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