Monday, March 29, 2010

Comic books

Mauricio, a person whom I've worked with over the past three years, illustrates his own comic books. There are only a handful of people in the office who have an appreciation for this medium but it has been quite unanimous how we look at Marvel's decision on producing comic books for the Apple iPad. Some insights:

  1. Comics will not require paper; thus the sale of a comic will not require such a drastic overhead.
  2. Marvel is cutting out the middle-men. When you buy comics, you are buying directly from Marvel/Apple.
  3. Digital copies hold no value.
  4. Comic book stores who hold tonnes of back-issues will cease to exist. Why would they be around when Marvel can sell you a digital print?
  5. Comic books will cost more. Yes, more. Graphic novels were the comic industry's way of creating books with their comics. With the iPad, there is no need. You won't have the ability to purchase a graphic novel, you'll simply need to purchase each and every individual comic.
  6. Those who "collect" comics will cease. As stated above, digital copies will rule and if so, what value is there for comics if a digital copy is always available?

The first issue of Batman or Superman will always retain some sort of monetary value, but this is only true for this generation. The next generation of kids will become exposed to a world where consumable media is disposable. There is no value in collecting digital copies. How we value and commoditize comics will change in the next few years and I will state the obvious: local comic stores will start shutting down because of it.

This is a perfect example of business disruption; those who don't maintain an understanding of where technology is headed will be in for a shocking realization when their business strategy suddenly becomes obsolete.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Market buzzwords

In every generation, there will be buzzwords that catapult sales. Back in the 90s, it was "i" in lieu of the "iMacs". In Vancouver, we have a restaurant called "iCafe". What does it have to do with internet or web? It doesn't; not even in the slightest. Then came "virtual reality" where even tanning salons decided to get in on it with their "virtual reality" tanning booths. Then came the end of the millennia where everyone jumped onto the "y2k" bandwagon and a rash of businesses started up with "y2k" being part of their company name. Compu20000. iTravel2000.

Just recently, the "dot-two-point-oh" grabbed the attention of everyone and a string of marketing and advertising campaigns focused on "Web 2.0". The pessemist in me is waiting to see what new marketing buzzwords will come and captivate the general public but suffice to say: you can't escape it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gateway drug

The Apple iPod. I keep telling my PC-loving friends that Apple is penetrating the PC market because they have tiny "gateway drug" types of technology that encourages a user to try using Apple products. Those who don't own MP3 players will more likely try out the iPod. Those who own an iPod will more likely try out the iPhone. Those who try out the iPhone will more likely try out a Mac Mini.

PC users who mock Apple's resilience needs to wake up: They have a product out there that is perfect for you and after the first hit, you'll probably come back for more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Changing landscapes

Years ago, I helped my friends start up a small, local PC hardware business – they’re still around and doing well – and recently spoke with the initial team about the direction of the business. Over the past decade, computers have gotten so fast that it’s no longer a question of processing power. We don't need to use desktops to run software adequately.

Instead, the real question is how we use computers. We're no longer tethered to a desktop anymore so why is the assumption that we will continue to purchase desktops for home use?