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Who the Internet has hurt and helped

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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: Seems like just about everyday there's another story about how the Internet has reshaped this business or that business, how some iPhone app has put some poor mom-and-pop out of their jobs. Well, we wanted to dig into that a little deeper with Porter Bibb. He spent much of his career in old media at the New York Times and Newsweek. And he now runs a consulting firm here in New York called Mediatech Capital Partners.

Porter Bibb, welcome to the show.

PORTER BIBB: It's great to be here.

HOBSON: The Internet, it's ruining old media -- like newspapers and magazines -- it's apparently making office space less important, head hunters are out of a job. Are there any other things I've left off the list?

BIBB: You might include land-line telephones, which have virtually disappeared from the face of the earth. There also is a very negative impact that the Internet has created on, of all things, flea markets. eBay, on which you can sell anything globally, has replaced antique stores and flea markets around the world. The other big loser probably in the Internet is the U.S. Postal Service. Regular mail has dropped precipitously over the last decade in the face of an onslaught of e-mail.

HOBSON: So does this mean that the Internet is bad for the economy?

BIBB: Essentially, as a technological innovation, on many levels it is the best thing to ever happen to the global economy. It's created an information explosion. It's helped productivity around the world. It's connected the global economy.

HOBSON: Do you think there are industries that don't know yet what's coming to them, that haven't been affected by the rise of the Internet, but soon will be?

BIBB: Virtually anybody today in business knows that the Internet is going to change the way he does business. And I think that it's really a question of whether they have figured out how to transition to the Internet and to digital or not. I'd like to add one other thing that is actually a huge beneficiary of the Internet revolution. And that is radio, and particularly public radio and programs like Marketplace. Because the podcast on the Internet allows anybody, anywhere, anytime to hear this program.

HOBSON: And we paid Porter to say that. By the way, our Marketplace podcast is available right here. Porter Bibb, thanks so much for coming in.

BIBB: It's always a pleasure.

HOBSON: Porter Bibb is managing director of Mediatech Capital Partners in New York.

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