2-4-6-8 Who you gonna disintermediate?

January 22, 2004

Teleread feels that Kodak’s retreat from the film camera business is a signpost that e-books will eventually do the same to the conventional book industry.

Does anyone smell a trend here?  As technology emerges to shorten the path from content producer to content consumer, the people who get cut out are the existing middlemen. 

If you’re in between content that’s now electronically distributable and the people who buy it, you’d either better a) find some new revenue streams that work WITH the tide, or b) figure out how to quickly drain off as much money as you can while your lawyers stick their fingers in the dike. 

Kodak seems to have taken the graceful approach.

“You know, at one time there must’ve been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let’s have the intelligence, let’s have the DECENCY to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future.”

— Danny Devito as Lawrence Garfield in “Other People’s Money” (1991)


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