Mark Cuban wrote a couple of really good blog posts about media and the internet here and here. His argument boils down to this: If the sole purpose of your website is to bring in ad revenue, you’re not going to last. In other words: giving away content for free, drawing visitors, and making money solely off of ads on your site is not a long-term business model. Specifically he is referring to large media conglomerates such as Newscorp (Fox) and the NY Times with huge brands that offer different types of media
This brings up a good point about web-based businesses all together. You aren’t going to make money just because you know the Internet and how to create websites. We are exiting a 15 year period since the early 1990’s where Internet knowledge (knowing how to build websites) was all you needed to start a little company and do it professionally. You could be mostly dumb to the business for whom you built the website.
Internet knowledge is becoming a commodity. Now the Internet is more of a tool, than an end result, to be used by those who know business. It is like a hammer. Just because you can hammer a nail doesn’t mean you can build a house. Just because you can build websites, doesn’t mean you can run a business. However, The inverse is also true: it is difficult to build a house unless you know how to use a hammer. Just like it is difficult to build a business unless you know how to use the internet
More and more people are learning how the use the tools (the Internet). Just like more and more programmers are learning the business. You need to have these skills to keep up. Even if you think you are in a position/career track where you will never cross paths with the Internet. I can almost guarantee you that you will cross paths with somebody who knows the Internet. And that person will beat you in a competition based on their knowledge. Knowing the tool is a competitive advantage.
That is why I’m learning this stuff (programming) and putting the information out there to help you learn it too. We need the tools so we can fully apply our business knowledge. I guarantee you there are better programmers than Bill Gates. But there are few if any better businessmen/technicians. Now and in the future, those who master the intersection of business and technology will be the ones that are calling the shots