A $2.00 steal, or a waste of $2.00 — Technological Change Marches On

A technological marvel -- of days gone by
A technological marvel -- of days gone by

From wkikpedia:  Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when a person, object, or service is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that is superior in one or more aspects.

I have written many posts on innovation.  Business books love this theme.  I think it is safe to put it this way:  a failure to innovate, or at least to keep up with innovation, leads to absolute failure in business.  Once a pradigm shifts, once a change is implemented, the old ways are dead and gone.  If  a company is selling yesterday’s products, using yesterday’s organizational structure, serving customers in yesterday’s ways, the company will disappear before too many additonal yesterdays pile up.

I saw this come to life at a garage sale this wekend.  I don’t go garage sale shopping, but if there is such a sale on my block, I might walk over to check it out.  There, in the stack of old computer keyboards and obsolete cell phone charge cords was a Kodak Slide Projector.  It was in its original box, looked in immaculate condition, and it sold for — $2.00.  I don’t know what it sold for originally, but I think it’s safe to say that the person who bought it originally would have never guessed that it would sell in a garage sale for $2.00.  (The photo to the left is not the actual projector — I should have taken my own photo, but simply did not think quickly enough).

It did sell.  As I was there, a man bought it.  His English skills were not good, and I’m not really sure he know what it was.  If he actually has slides, $2.00 might be a steal.  If not, it was $2.00 down the drain.  But there, in one graphic illustration, I saw the clear truth — yesterday’s innovations, regardless of how valuable they were and how long they served, can be tomorrow’s obsolete products in the blink of an eye.

{News item:  Kodachrome is the trademarked brand name of a type of color reversal film that was manufactured by Eastman Kodak from 1935 to 2009.}

Are we being creative, innovative enough?  And will we be tomorrow?

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