Friday, June 22, 2007

A tale of disintermediation: photographic edition

The road to irrrelevancy is all too familiar. I saw this at The Future of Publishing about photography, but it would apply to almost any technology. After all, it's not really about technology but about people. People's reactions are basically the same no matter the reason their old ways of working are being rendered obsolete.

  • First response: “This digital stuff is kind of interesting, but it’s not applicable to our business.”
  • Second response: “These digital scanners are really crummy. The results look horrible. And the software stinks.”
  • Third response: “Digital cameras! Have you seen Canon’s? The pictures are dark and low resolution.”
  • Fourth response: “Where are the color printers for these ugly pictures?”
  • Fifth response: “These color printers are expensive and only make the pictures look worse.”
  • Sixth response: “The scanners are getting better and cheaper. So is the software. So are the printers.”
  • Seventh response: “But this is all too complicated. Consumers will never figure out how to use this stuff, even if they can afford the money and the effort.”
  • Eighth response: “The high-end cameras and scanners are getting pretty good, but nowhere near as good as what we’ve got now.”
  • Ninth response: “Hmmm. Quality is getting close to conventional. Prices are dropping. It’s all much easier to use. I wonder if this could have an impact on our business?”
  • Tenth response: “Man the lifeboats!”

About the only thing missing from the list is people's willingness to share their creations. Who would have anticipated the nearly 40 million photos on Flickr being released under a Creative Commons license?


asbjornu said...

Am I the only one echoing "MPAA" and "RIAA" inside my head while reading this?

Kevin Gamble said...

I suspect not! :)