What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve marveled over in the last month? last week? last day? I’d bet most of you picked different things for each one. Just think about how fast information is flowing through your media streams; you have less and less time to marvel over something.
As technology makes more and more information available to you at an ever greater speed, your time to marvel over the latest design or innovative idea shrinks. Look at just about any area that your interested in. Now, think back to last year and what you were amazed by in that area and what your amazed by this year, last year’s seems pretty bland in comparison, right? How many times were you amazed by the changes that took place throughout the year in that area? Depending on your source for information it would probably change once a month, once a week, once a day.
Now let’s go back and look at what would have been a marvel to people throughout the 20th century, a lot of what I’m basing this paragraph on is the image from Visualizing Economics. The most marvelous things at the turn of the century had very little competition, due to less information for the masses. It took cars 15 years to reach 20% usage and during the same period electricity reached only 30% of the nation. These would have been marvelous utilities to have could you afford them.
As time goes on the different media streams come along that hasten the usage and acceptance I figure a ~20% usage rate as the reduction to marvel. The radio comes along and reaches 20% in just 5 years but allows other forms of media, such as television, computers, the internet, to develop more quickly than had been possible before. B/W and Color televisions both took ~5 years to reach the threshold, computers took about 20 years and the internet roughly 10.
If you look at how fast we find new marvels today it takes between 1-5 years for nearly anything to reach the 20% threshold. Also, with each new advance in media we find that it loses it’s marvel much quicker than before because there are many more things to marvel at, which reduces the threshold to about 10% currently. As more and more new things come around we have less and less time to spend marveling over it.
This ever increasing pace that removes our abilities to attach to something for a long period of time is going to make it harder and harder for businesses to become a Goliath. This has already started to show in weak returns for advertising and purchasing of slower media types, such as newspapers and magazines. In the very near future you will have to come out with something that will blow everyone away as quick as possible you don’t have the time to wait and become a Microsoft or Google.
Would love to hear your opinions in the comments about what you think of this idea.