Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How many of these are really changing rather than dieing?

Top 10 Dying Industries - Real Time Economics - WSJ

1. Communication is at an all time high, but the wires are no longer necessary for much of it. Not a dieing industry but a de-monopolization.

2. Mills like other low skilled factory jobs that create easily transported not nonperishable products will go to where labor is cheap and regulations lax.

3. Newspaper publishing is another change. More text than ever is being produced and distributed via the Internet. The newspapers were simply confused by thinking their products required paper. If they had each embraced the online model each would likely dominate their local market for news, real estate and classifieds. Maybe not the glory days, but still in business.

4. Apparel manufacturing is the same as mills.

5. Assume everything that can be reduced to binary will be delivered over the internet. Again, Blockbuster had the opportunity to partner with Netflix and passed it up because they thought there product was plastic boxes not delivering stories.

6. Manufactured homes are an inferior good than might disappear as we get wealthier but was in the short term damaged by recession. In the future they will come from China anyways.

7. Video production services are not dieing but getting more efficient. The revenue is shrinking but the amount of video produced is surely expanding. Ever hear of youtube.com?

8. Record stores are similar to video rental.

9. Photofinishing another physical to digital transition. More photos than ever are being produced.

10. Formal wear and costume rental is gone thanks again to China et al.

In all of this cases the implication of the "industry's" demise is better and cheaper alternatives. Prices are falling incredibly quickly. I have not bought music in years, yet can hear any song I want withing 10 seconds of having the impulse by searching youtube.com. I hope to never attend another movie theater and watch great content for about $10 a month on Netflix. Decent shirts and pants are $20 or less are Ross and TJ. MAXX and the microfiber lasts for years. Our income might be stagnating, but our product availability is increasing.

What is the next industry to be disrupted? Maybe medical? Doctors primarily provide information. I get much from the Mayo Clinic and other sites as surely do other literate people. I can buy prescriptions over the internet, import them when traveling, or have friends abroad send ship them. When will we be able to plug a thermometer, blood pressure gage, and chemical sensor (blood and saliva) into our computers USB port to receive a diagnosis from an Indian doctor over video chat for $5? Maybe this will be my next startup. If your going to do it, leave a comment.

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