I heard the news just the other day. A printing company I worked for twenty-five years in the past was closing its doors. It had been in the town I live in under various names for nearly forty years, but the internet age had finally caught up with it. It had to close its doors. Working in printing all those years ago, I can tell you, the bulk of the printing business comes from those fliers, those inserts, in the middle of a newspaper.
Wait! Who reads a newspaper any more? More to the point, who reads a printed newspaper any more?
No one, really. Or at the very least, a very small percentage of those who used to read them. The “papers” are all on line now, which by definition, doesn’t make them papers at all. The advertising inserts – the ones that annoy you so much just the way the printed inserts once did – are called pop ups. They require no paper to get their irritating message across to you, a thing that has led to the demise of the print industry.
The same thing happened to the railroad industry when the interstate highway system was built all those years ago.
Once upon a time, sheet music was the backbone of the music industry. A song was written and the music was put down on paper and sold to people with a musical talent – guitar, piano, whatever – could buy it and play it for people.
Then, records were invented and everything changed.
Wait a minute!
You’ve never heard a record play?
An eight-track tape?
Any of you ever seen a reel to reel tape machine?
How about a car without power steering?
Or a popcorn popper?
A rotary dial phone?
How many people can drive – or need to know how to drive – a manual transmission, otherwise know as stick shift?
Just go back a hundred years and most of the country didn’t have electricity. Most of the people still did their business in a thing called an outhouse. (I know what one is. I have used one, but look it up if you have not.) Most people did not have cars. Or telephone.
Just thirty years ago, no one knew what a cell phone or the internet was. Cable was moving ahead, but more people than not, didn’t have it.
In each of the eras I have just listed, people thought they had the very best that science and technology had to offer only to find that a few decades down the road the latest and the greatest was obsolete.
What will I world look like thirty years from now? Hell, even ten?