We are trained to look for and focus on everything that is new. What technologies are emerging and how are we using them? What we are not so good at doing, is observing the things which are only noticeable by their increasing absence.
Very often it’s the most important trend because it is less product oriented and more human oriented. Which means that well before we know who or what the new winner is, we will know who or what is no longer fulfilling our needs and is being made obsolete. In a rapidly changing world of near disposable technology the list of dying technologies is already long and growing. Life cycles are in decline and it’s sometimes hard to see a future for even relatively new technologies.
– The remote control (being usurped by smart phones & gesturing),
– Local hard drives (being usurped by the cloud),
– iPod (being usurped by it’s big brother the smart phone),
Then there’s the changing retail landscape. Closing down signs will be the new normal for department & clothing stores. In fact, any product that is sold at a price and is available on-line, cannot and will not be for sale in bricks and mortar retail soon. They simply do not have a cost infrastructure that will allow them to exist. Add to this our changing eating habits (instant coffee anyone?) and the impending transport revolution (when we work from home 4/5 days a week owning a car may become an historical relic) and the changes we are facing are more far reaching than we currently think.
As Marc Andreessen said, software is eating everything… and a great way to see this in action is to drive around well healed suburbs and see what is out for hard rubbish collection these days. A cacophony of previous hardware and technology darlings, not limited to Plasma TV’s, DVD players, laptops, iPods – you name it.
It’s not just about technology, it’s all about human movement, the new solutions we seek and our dissatisfaction with the solutions of today. Good entrepreneurs know what’s hot and what’s next. Great entrepreneurs notice what is evaporating before the replacement emerges for all to see.