Paul Graham in a new blog-piece called Post-Medium Publishing, in which he deals interestingly about what is happening to publishing as a business now that new technology means “consumers won’t pay for content anymore”, comes up with a way of judging who will be winners and losers here that is, I think, a good one and one whch, with not too much tweaking, could be applied elsewhere.
I don’t know exactly what the future will look like, but I’m not too worried about it. This sort of change tends to create as many good things as it kills. Indeed, the really interesting question is not what will happen to existing forms, but what new forms will appear.
The reason I’ve been writing about existing forms is that I don’t know what new forms will appear. But though I can’t predict specific winners, I can offer a recipe for recognizing them. When you see something that’s taking advantage of new technology to give people something they want that they couldn’t have before, you’re probably looking at a winner. And when you see something that’s merely reacting to new technology in an attempt to preserve some existing source of revenue, you’re probably looking at a loser.