Technology’s Long Tail: TED Talk

To get everyone caught up on what this post is about, I am writing a blog post on my reaction to the following video:

Please feel free to give it a view to better understand what I am about to talk about.


Not going to lie, I found this TED Talk to be very outdated, but I soon realized after watching it that it was published in 2004. That makes so much more sense. This video talks about “Technology’s Long Tail.” Chris Anderson, who was the then editor of Wired, explored the four key stages of any viable technology: setting the right price, gaining market share, displacing an established technology and becoming ubiquitous.


It’s no secret that technology is constantly evolving. We, as a society, love anything new, especially new technology. We can’t wait for the next bigger and better thing to immerge, shoving what we currently have to the side. This video really opened my eyes as to how fast technology is changing and progressing.


Anderson mentions the DVD player, Netflix, Wi-Fi and many more technologies in his talk. One thing that I found very interesting is that he said, “Wi-Fi hasn’t reach all four stages.” This made me stop and really think. What do you mean Wi-Fi hasn’t reached all four stages yet? It’s been around for as long as I can remember. But he is so true, Wi-Fi isn’t anywhere near being ubiquitous. Yes, it’s in most place that you go, but there are many places and people in this world who don’t have access to Wi-Fi. Until something new comes along to replace it, I have a feeling Wi-Fi is only going to get bigger, until it reaches every end of this earth.


I’ve grown up with technology almost all of my life. For as long as I remember, I had access to some form of technology. Now, this may include the good ole dial up in my grandmother’s computer room, but it still gave me access to the World Wide Web, even if it took four hours to get up and running. I think my generation, millennials, is the last generation to grow up on a VHR, or at least knows what VHR is. Seeing Anderson talk about how Netflix almost singlehandedly got rid of all movie rental stores is crazy. And now, Netflix doesn’t even distribute DVD’s anymore. Everything is all streaming. Anderson even mentioned Skype, which sends me back to my middle school days when I would come home from school and video chat my friends that I just left. Even Skype is basically nonexistent anymore. With Apple’s creation of FaceTime, Skype is no longer needed. FaceTime comes with every iPhone, so downloading the Skype app just takes up storage on our phones.


Lastly, it’s crazy to see how much things cost originally, and then as they become popular and new things emerge, the price starts to drop. The average DVD in 2018 cost around 30-40 dollars. In 2004, they were in the range of 100-200 for a nicer one.


Technology will always be evolving, and watching this TED Talk just made me realize how fast we as a society are making strides in the technology field. Everyone who is interested in technology’s long tail, please give this video a watch. It’ll only take 15 minutes of your time.


source for average cost of DVD player in 2004:

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