3 August 2009 • 7:00 am

Technology Happens – A Quiz

An recent op-ed piece in the New York Times graphically illustrated the impact of changing technology on an industry familiar to all of us. It reminded me a bit of my earlier riff on Netflix vs. Blockbuster, but it was the graphic that I found especially compelling. I’ve reproduced a portion of the graphic here, deliberately obscuring some of the detail and some of the data. The horizontal axis is time, and each of the vertical bars in the charts leading from left to right represents one year, from 1973 to 1999. Each of the patterns represents the emergence, growth, and demise of a particular distribution method for this industry’s product, and the height of each bar represents the constant current dollar value of goods shipped in each year (in billions). A black box is drawn around the peak year for each of the distribution methods.