Displacing entrenched technology bruce f. webster national gas average 2012


A classic example is the internal combustion automobile (which I’ll call the “gas auto” for shorthand). youtube gas station karaoke Commercial production started over 130 years ago, and the gas auto has saturated its niche beyond what I suspect was thought possible even just 70 years ago. Today (2018), there are over 260 million gas autos in the United States alone. Interestingly enough, purely electric cars date back over a century, and they have been touted as the inevitable replacement of gas autos ever since. gas x while pregnant The first modern mass-market electric cars started selling in the US in 2010, and to date there are…less than 800,000 on the road, roughly a 1:300 ratio to gas autos, in spite of lots of hype and generous tax subsidies.

A second example is Microsoft Windows. gas near me app Back in June 1996, I wrote an article for Windows Magazine called “Microsoft Windows Forever and Ever?” Keep in mind that this was less than one year after Windows 95 had shipped (August 1995). In it, I discussed the issue of technology entrenchment and how it applied to Windows (and to Microsoft). electricity trading Near the end of the article, I wrote:

When technologies are popular, they can become entrenched, in spite of their limitations. Interestingly enough, “first to market” is seldom a good predictor of success and entrenchment; instead, it is usually “first sufficiently good version to market.” Consider, for example, all the earlier instance of touch-screen tablets (Newton, Go, etc.) that failed miserably before Apple iPad really triggered (and dominated) the market. electricity lessons 4th grade Likewise, Windows is deeply entrenched not just because it’s pre-bundled on the vast majority of laptops and desktops sold today, but because it is a standard reference platform for millions of programs and billions of documents.

I remember the first time I ever saw — and heard — a compact disc (CD). It was at Wayne Holder’s house (“The Oasis”) in San Diego; the year, I believe, was 1984. The CD was Thomas Dolby’s “The Golden Age of Wireless” — still one of my favorite albums, though this was the first time I ever heard it. b games basketball I was fascinated by its, well, compactness, as well as its robustness and clean sound compared to vinyl records.

A year or so later, in mid-1985, I was going through some tough times, personally. gas 37 weeks pregnant As an anodyne, I went to Tower Records and spent $500 for a Sony D-5 Discman CD player, along with a set of nice headphones. I picked up the Thomas Dolby album, plus a Star Wars soundtrack and a few other CDs. At that time, the entire inventory of CDs for sale at Tower took up a single 7′ x 4′ display; the rest of the store held vinyl records, cassette tapes, and, for all I know, possibly some 8-track tapes as well.

In an amazingly short number of years, those proportions would be reversed: CDs would dominate at “record” stores and other music media (vinyl, tape, etc.) would occupy less and less display space, while CD players dropped to a tenth of their original price (not even adjusting for inflation). The whole process was repeated a decade or so later with DVD technology killing off video tapes. In recent years, digital streaming technology has in turn seriously stunted the market for CDs and DVDs, as well as CD-based software.

The key word there, by the way, is “standardized”. Other digital audio media formats emerged (DAT, MiniDisk, etc.), but never gained any significant market share; DVDs were actually preceded by other digital video formats (LaserDisc, etc.), which likewise never achieved significant market share. For that matter, the original iPod — however nifty its design — would likely have been just another niche MP3 player if Apple hadn’t released iTunes for both MacOS and Windows.