Reading Josh Bernoff’s What you can learn from consumers’ digital decade

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As the decade I call the twenty-oh’s ends, think on what a transformational change we have just all witnessed. Our obsession with the latest product from Google or Apple often clouds our recognition of the long-term effects. We all know where we are. But I think many of us have forgotten where we were, and just how dramatically things have changed in ten short years.

Bill Gates in 2001 called this new decade “The Digital Decade.” Boy was he right.Consider:

  • When the last decade began, there were 2.6 million broadband households in the US, one out of every 40 homes. Now there are 80 million, or two thirds of the population. Broadband has gone from rare to ubiquitous.
  • Starting from zero, digital video recorders reached 31 million homes and HDTV reached 51 million in this decade. Together with online video and video on-demand, these gadgets have completely transformed the television experience.
  • Mobile phones subscriptions are now 270 million, out of 307 million US adults.(For a comparison, mobile phones were in 51 million households at the start of the decade, but back then having more than one phone per household was unusual.) Back in 1999 phones were phones. Now they are iPhones, Blackberries, and Androids — computers and internet access devices.
  • Portable digital music players have reached 76% of all US households. At the start of the decade, they were in practically none, because the iPod had yet to be introduced. Mark Mulligan calls it “The Decade That Music Forgot“.
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And finally, it’s worth noting that Google just celebrated its tenth anniversary. In 1999, most of hadn’t heard of it yet. And forget social technologies — in 1999, most of the social activity online was in chat and discussion forums.

To be continued at

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