|Re: I find it interesting.|
Message #11 Posted by John L, Shelton on 7 Mar 2005, 5:50 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by joan cardenas
While easy to blame Carly, she was symptomatic of societal changes for which she was not responsible. The world has changed. Consumers value price over quality more than they did a generation ago. They want more flashy gadgets, not fewer high quality ones. Businesses that compete on price and efficiency win because they meet the needs of the majority of their customers.
No one could have made HP successful by returning it to its engineering roots of the '60s and '70s. Look at Sony, or AT&T's Western Electric. Or the hi-fi industry. In nearly all industries, high quality has become a small niche market, and 90% of customers have gravitated to low-cost flashy goods.
One could even argue that overall, this is a benefit. 10x as many people can afford decent stuff now compared to a generation ago. The HP-35 was out of reach to most of America, due to price. Today's HP calculators, though inferior products, meet the needs of many, and can be purchase by nearly everyone. Decent audio equipment is available to the masses now. Air travel is affordable. Even cars are a bargain (and better quality to boot.)
A reason why the "wow" factor is missing is that many of the gaps have already been closed. The leap from slide rule to HP-35 was a big one. From HP-35 to HP-65 was a big one. From there on, the improvements were incremental. It would be difficult to make one a quantum leap better. I'm not arguing that everything has been invented already; there is still room for innovation. But with the rollout of electronics over the last 50 years, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. The next Wow invention arena may be nano technology. Consumer electronics is reasonably mature. We can count on occasional leaps from Apple and others, but don't expect the huge leaps we saw in years past.