I had a conversation with my friend a few days ago. We talked about how much our life changed in the last 10-15 years.
I believe there were 2 main things that had revolutionary impact on many millions of people: I mean internet and mobile telephony. People became accessible – any time, anywhere; and the world became accessible; and the news became accessible.
Just a few consequences that come to my mind:
- The Wall Street business model is challenged in the last years because the news about companies now affect shares instantly; and the news about shares are now known instantly. And shareholders now can make transactions instantly.
- Newspapers changed their role because it’s too late nowadays to bring the news next morning.
- I just saw a picture of a plane ticket facebook – I mean a traditional paper ticket. And I realized that it’s a very rare thing these days – I haven’t touched a real paper plane ticket for about 10 years. I was doing electronic booking via internet since ~2002 if not earlier.
Do you remember what were the first steps that brought Apple where they are today? In the 90s they were one of the niche computer companies slowly loosing it’s share. Then in 1998 they made the first step: they turned their face to consumer and changed dramatically the design of their computers¹. Instead of boring grey/beige office-style boxes they made semi-transparent colorful nice looking iMac G3. But that wasn’t a revolution yet. The huge boom started with their iPod. And it wasn’t the device itself which was revolutionary. It was iTunes – and again it wasn’t iTunes itself which was revolutionary. It was that Apple persuaded media companies to sell songs via iTunes one by one instead of albums. That was the revolutionary step that allowed Apple to make a huge success. And that step wouldn’t have been possible without internet.
Digital photography is part of the world change in the last years – but it wouldn’t have been without internet. It is most obvious for documentary photos which can now be delivered to news agencies in a seconds after being taken; but if affects other areas too. Stock photography is now entirely internet-based. Even in commercial photography internet plays a big role when client can get samples of work via internet; and when complex postprocessing is done by several agencies sharing files via internet.
We don’t realize how much our lives changed in the past years – and more changes yet to come. We will see…
1) Yes I know it was thanks to Steve Jobs getting back to Apple but that’s not my point.