July 5th, 2015 • Posted in Featured, General Observations
There is a seismic shift rippling through the entire economy, but it’s difficult to observe because it is invisible. I call this change “vaporized”. When my clients ask me to explain what is happening to consumer electronics devices, fixed media and even retail stores, I tell them that these things — and a great many others — are being vaporized: that is, they’ve been replaced by digital software.
The process of dematerialization has been most noticeable in the media and entertainment industries during the past decade. Half a century’s growth was wiped out in less than a decade in the newspaper, magazine, and recording industries as digital software changed the habits of hundreds of millions of consumers. The television industry is going through this process right now.
This process is not limited to media and content: even the devices that play digital content have been transformed. Your digital camera, video camera, handheld game consoles, DVD player, voice recorder, GPS unit and about a dozen other devices have all been replaced by an app on your smartphone. The vaporized version is much better than they old physical version: it’s cheaper, easier to use, weightless, customizable and, since it is built into your smartphone, it’s always with you and yet it takes up no extra space. If you don’t like the default app that came with your phone, simply click to download a different one.
But media and consumer electronics are just the leading edge of the change. More than one million apps for your smartphone have replaced things that were previously sold as physical products. Today, the process of dematerialization is happening in several fields at once: finance and payment systems, automobile ownership and transportation, labor and manufacturing, health care and medicine. It’s easy to predict that several other fields will be transformed in the near future, including government, the military, the insurance industry and many others. Vaporization is set to transform the entire economy, and with it, consumer society.
To gain a better understanding of this process, I wrote a book called “Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success In A Dematerialized World.” The book will be published in September 2015 by Lifetree Media. You can pre-0rder it now on Amazon.
In December 2014, I was invited to give one of the opening keynote speeches at the Turkey Innovation Week exposition in Istanbul. You can watch my keynote speech about Vaporized right here.
June 1st, 2011 • Posted in General Observations
Yesterday, Jason McCabe Calacanis invited me to respond to his post “Has Google Been Naughty? Yes. Should the Government Get Involved? No”. You can read responses from Vivek Wadhwa and Robert Scoble along with mine in a handy digest on the Launch blog. The following post is the full text of my response to Calacanis view of Google’s future path.
There’s a predictable cycle in business, at least in the sectors of technology, media and telecommunications.
In the first part of the cycle, companies achieve success by introducing a new service that delights customers: call it the “Value Creation” phase. This is the phase when lots of customers sign up. Remember when you bought your first Windows computer, your first iPod, or your first smartphone? Chances are good that you made the switch at the exact same moment when millions of other people were migrating to these new gizmos, too. Everyone was attracted by a novel combination of utility, cool factor and the right price.
But over time, as the new product/service evolves into our daily habit, some companies are tempted to Continue Reading
March 15th, 2011 • Posted in Creative Process, Video Clips
The advent of table computers and electronic book readers poses a serious challenge to the traditional business of book publishing. As I’ve written previously, it’s entirely possible that the economics of print publishing will crumble faster than commonly expected.
Recently I was invited to appear on “This Week In Books” to discuss the implications of electronic book publishing for authors, publishers and readers. There’s no doubt that this transition will present some difficult challenges, but our conversation was focused on the many new opportunities for authors to connect with their audiences via digital media. Printed books are great in many ways, and that’s why they’ve continued to occupy a central role in modern civilization in more or less unaltered form for 500 years. But now the Gutenberg culture is going to be transformed. Watch the video clip:
December 20th, 2009 • Posted in General Observations
“Never make forecasts, especially about the future.” Wise advice from Samuel Goldwyn. Which I am now about to ignore at my peril. Here’s my take on what to expect in 2010.
1. The Dawn of Ambient Awareness & Networked Consciousness
What happens when real-time status updates and news feeds are combined with GPS location data and context-aware computing? You may experience a new kind of awareness that leverages the perceptions and commentary of other people. You might call it collective intelligence. And it will make you smarter. Continue Reading
October 16th, 2008 • Posted in General Observations
Next week I will travel to Rome to give a keynote speech to the Nokia Developer Summit. Some friends have asked me why. Given the recent release of the Gooogle Android phone and the Apple iPhone 3G, there has been a surge of commentary about the smartphones in the tech blogs. The general thrust of such blog posts is that the newcomers will transform the mobile industry.
I disagree. The newcomers may have an impact, perhaps an outsized impact, but in reality the primary driver of change in mobile is one of the old giants: Nokia. No major mobile technology company comes close to Nokia in its support of open standards, open software and open APIs. And no company comes close to challenging Nokia’s 30%+ market share. Continue Reading
August 10th, 2008 • Posted in General Observations
Apple‘s legendary obsession with controlling information and availability of products has reached the tipping point. A growing number of iPhone developers are grumbling about the arbitrary nature of the decision-making process which governs which applications get included in the iTunes storefront. A spate of recent stories highlights what is clearly a haphazard and chaotic process. Worse, for those who are paranoid about Apple’s ability to control how consumers make use of the iPhone is the emergence of a blacklist built into the phone. No one knows what the criteria for making the blacklist might be… and Apple isn’t telling anyone.
Simultaneously, a growing number of consumers are voicing their concerns with the iPhone, too.
Coming on the heels of the widely-publicized glitch in the launch of the iPhone 3G and the much-publicized failure of the MobileMe service, these reactions underscore just how difficult it is to execute a new strategy in the wireless business. It turns out the mobile carriers are not so bad, after all. Continue Reading