Death of form, not content

Here is a short list of things I have seen die during my ~3 decades on the earth (please add yours in comments):

  • tube radios and short, medium and long wave broadcasts
  • vinyl LP’s
  • cassette recorders and reel-to-reel tape decks
  • rotary dial and analogue telephones (incl analogue mobiles)
  • black and white TV’s
  • film cameras
  • VHS
  • glass milk bottles

Here’s a list of things I will see die or become marginalized rather sooner than later:

  • tube displays
  • print newspapers
  • petrol and diesel car’s and other internal combustion engines
  • cassette camcorders
  • analogue TV
  • scheduled TV except for real-time broadcasts
  • CD’s, DVD’s, blue-ray and other discs
  • many that currently have a cable attached instead of wireless

The cool thing is, in any of these cases, it is just the form that becomes extinct, not the content or basic human need. We’ll still have journalism and news, music, transport, moving pictures. We’ll even have milk.

In many cases firms die with changes and development in format. Companies are too attached to form. Focus on content and function helps.


  1. On the disappear/marginalization list I’d add desktop PCs, mechanical data storage with any moving parts, paper and glue based street advertising, coin-operated machinery (vending machines, street parking, etc), magnetic strip cards.

    Telex and fax machines as well as dot-matrix printers we should be already done with. 🙂

    On a non-tech note: I would love for glass (or to generalize – refillable/recyclable) milk bottles to return. We spent some time pondering about the environmental impacts of excess packaging in our MinuEesti brainstorm and the unnecessary volume of tetrapak waste is disturbing. Milkman service with delivery and pickup would be cool.

  2. sten has good points. fax should be dead and milk bottles are cool 🙂

    regarding jyris list, electric cars won’t substitute internal combustion in the near future. in cold climates electric cars are quite useless. electric motors can’t provide sufficient heating for the saloon. even these modern cars with small cc engines struggle with heating the saloon on cold days 🙂
    then there is also the issue with batteries dying in cold climates. you all know what happens with cell phone and camera batteries when exploring the neighborhood in -15 C

    in general electric cars rock. just i think that it will take some time before people in the northern hemisphere can enjoy them

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