A few years ago, this cartoon by John Atkinson went viral across social platforms, showcasing the evolution of social networking thanks to technology through a “vintage” look at how we used to interact and connect in different settings. Then, photo setups and videos like this one illustrated how our work and desks have changed through the years leading us to basically only need our computers to do almost every task at hand with software applications. To start off 2019, the #HowHardDidAgingHitYouChallenge (or #10yearchallenge) took social platforms by storm, with millions of users posting side-by-side comparisons of themselves to showcase how much they have changed since either their first Facebook profile picture, or in the past 10 years. This sparked a fun thought – how hard has aging hit some industries, and how have they evolved? Let’s take a look at some of the notorious changes we’ve seen materialize on a global scale:
- Public Transportation: for this one, another meme comes to mind –
Ten years ago, it would’ve been impossible to imagine that calling a stranger through an app to come pick you up and drop you off would be a safe alternative to driving or hailing a cab, yet here we are. Uber has completely revolutionized the public transportation system, not only by filling a gap in the market, but also by making existing options have to reconsider their business model in order to survive. Taxi services around the world have had to adapt by offering app pick-up options and even lowering their prices, and many taxi unions have fought to keep Uber off their streets. These are normal growing pains and setbacks for any company, but aside from specific communities around the world that haven’t warmed up to its services, Uber was such a disruptive concept that now every new venture pitch wants to be “the Uber of…” its sector.
- Hospitality & Tourism: traveling and tourism have become more widely sought after thanks to the wanderlust and FOMO (fear of missing out) effect many people feel after seeing their friends or relatives visiting beautiful places, but the truth is that traveling can be quite an expensive venture, and many people couldn’t afford to take the trips they wanted because hotel stays would be a money pit, especially around the holidays or special events. People have been getting creative over the years in order to make their travel dreams come true (starting with options like CouchSurfing, founded in 2003), and in the past decade in particular we saw the birth of a new type of staying abroad: AirBnB. It will be ten years this March when “AirBed & Breakfast” changed its name to AirBnB and skyrocketed to success thanks to incredible growth opportunities that were made possible through savvy business moves (like capitalizing on the presidential elections of 2008 for both marketing and sales avenues). Today, there are a myriad of sites and ways for people to find affordable and out of the box options for their stays abroad.
- TV & Radio: it’s crazy to think that in the past 30 years we have gone from bulky cassette/VHS tapes (and their corresponding equipment) to streaming services that allow us to watch movies and listen to our favorite music on demand, any time, anywhere. Blockbuster was the golden standard for movie and game rentals, until Netflix put them out of business in 2007 (and to think Netflix offered Blockbuster a deal they refused because they thought it would never work…). Cable TV is at a crucial point right now, as many Netflix/Hulu/etc. users don’t feel the need to pay for a service they rarely use. YouTube TV is offering an on-the-go alternative with standard TV channels with multi-user account options, for a price that heavily rivals mainstream TV packages. With the past 10 years in mind, it’s inevitable to think in the next 10 years we will see the end of some staple networks, shows, or service providers that fail to see the change in tides of audiences worldwide.
Some other honorable mentions:
- Venture capital à crowdfunding: VC firms are not going anywhere for now, but for those who can’t convince investors to shell out money on their ideas, there’s always Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe or Patreon depending on the product or service idea.
- Everything à phone: think of how many physical things you’re basically able to do away with thanks to your phone? Alarm clocks, flashlights, tape measures, even birthday candles can be conjured up digitally now if need be. The birth of the iPhone in 2007 gave way to an endless world of possibilities.
As it turns out, the side-by-side of some industries has been so life-changing that it has affected others, and it has become a game of adapt or shut down for many players regardless of how long they’ve been established. All of these evolutions we’ve covered came out of a need that the founders were able to pinpoint and capitalize on, so in the era of social media connectivity, crowdfunding and on-demand everything, any one of us can have the next great idea and put an industry giant out of business. And the more technology there is available, the faster those new ideas can disrupt the market. Here’s to the next 10-year challenge!