Sunday, 1 February 2009

More on product development and adoption

Rather neatly following on from the other day's thing about the adoption of new technology, I read this on Behind Blue Eyes
Not so long ago televisions were expensive. Only the wealthier families could justify the expense of having one. The technology improved, productivity soared, prices came down. Everyone who wants a telly, has one (or more). Not so long ago mobile phones were expensive. Only high-flying business people had them. Then ponces got them. Then rich kids got them so their parents could feel safer. Then students got them. Then old people got them. Everyone who wants a mobile, has one (or more). A very short time ago the consumer internet was invented. Dial-up connections cost an expensive £10 a month plus phone bill for a pretty dire service which was only really suitable for email and basic web surfing. Then a court ruling enabled ISPs to snatch a share of the call revenue they generated and monthly subscriptions disappeared. Lots of people logged on. Then broadband came along and it was expensive. Only geeks had broadband, but it opened up a whole landscape of connective possibility. The speeds improved and the prices dropped. At least one company offers "free" broadband with its landline package.

In all three of these examples, near-universality has been achieved without even a hint of government interference in the markets.

Its the same sort of thing. The rich and the high flying get their toys first and it trickles down to everyone having it, or it being readily available, and then foreign countries get it without having to R&D it themselves. But its the market which facilitates these things, not the government. The government didn't dish out mobile phones to everyone or washing machines.

Actually, my ladyfriend was telling me the other day about how if you're a homeless person who been rehoused and stuff, you can get a grant from the council or whoever the powers that be are, a grant to buy furniture and microwaves and stuff. So aye, at some point the government does dish it out, but I figure they only filling the last couple of percent of the population.

Asda and Sainsburys and dozens of other supermarkets, they have really cheap DVD players and microwaves and stuff, £10 for a DVD player, imagine that. And if you go to Argos, and search for furniture, sofa's start at £20. I love that shit, I love the way manufacturing and productivity and techology has reached the point where you can buy basic stuff incredibly cheaply. "If I skip ciggies today and tomorrow, I can buy a DVD player", "If I go for a week, I can get a sofa."

But aye, if the government are just going to provide, what's the point in going without ciggies. And tying in with the other day's rant about Charity:Water, what's the point in building your own water well, if some charity will do it for you?

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