An Off-Road trip to Utah iterates the point that many species are nearing extinction. But it's not as you may think....
Last week, my 17 year old son and I took an off-highway trip through southern Utah in a 1961 VW dune buggy that we rebuilt together.
During the trip, my son purchased a copy of Evolution Magazine to read in the late afternoons after we made camp. The startling event of my son reading something other than video game captions and seeing a "Going Out Of Business" sign on a Borders building made me ponder the way in which the current speed of technological change is accelerating the evolution and extinction of entire species of products.
If we think about the horse & buggy from its inception to becoming an obsolete product species due to the invention and proliferation of the automobile - that took a bit over 2500 years, give or take.
Now, think about the Fax Machine, it evolved and died in about 25 years (assuming an effective widespread adoption date of 1980).
That is a 100 times increase. Now things start to get really interesting.
Author and son at 10,000 feet in Dixie National Forest, UT
The Dune Buggy that made this blog possible
During our trip, my son and I navigated some 300 miles off-highway and sometimes completely off road. During our weeklong adventure we took many photos and quite a few videos. If we’d have taken this trip five years ago, we would have had to carry a Garmin GPS device, printed topographical maps as backup, a still digital camera, a video camera with extra batteries, tapes, media cards & flash at grand total cost of around $2,000.
However, all we carried was an iPhone, with an added Topo Map app for $6. We took numerous hi-res photos, great HD video and had GPS positioning to an accuracy of 9 feet.
My point here is this: in only five years, the printed map, camera and video camera industries have become marginalized to the point of being irrelevant.
The follow-on point is: how stable is your industry? Are you at risk of losing complete segments of customers - not to traditional competitors, but to totally different ways of solving their problems, in a timeframe that is simply terrifying?
What are you prepared to do about it?