Jack Parrish
March 11, 2018
In 2004, Chris Anderson delivered a TED talk that became so popular, people are still discussing it 14 years later. Anderson, head of WIRED magazine, discussed emerging technologies and how they become relevant, and then later, irrelevant.
He discusses DVDs, a technology first revealed in the mid 1990s, which debuted at a high price point. They weren’t immensely popular at first, but then something changed. Home theaters became popular, Netflix began (as a streaming DVD service), and people began to use them. Netflix’s model beat the traditional VHS-based brick-and-mortar Blockbuster.

Later in the talk, he discusses how critical prices occur. When drugs were first released to combat AIDS, they were quite expensive, surpassing $10,000. Within just a few years, generic drugs drove the price down to $0.55 per day, allowing many more people to receive them. Basically, the longer a technology is around, the more value it loses.

Per Anderson, almost all technologies will drop so far in price that they will become somewhat free. Example- the music industry. Whereas people used to pay $0.99 per song for music, they now pay roughly $8 for unlimited music on services like Spotify or Apple Music. To view the talk yourself, visit here.