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Evolution Timeline

A general rule in the universe entails that things are born, they grow and then mature, only to give birth to more new things.
In MBA jargon its called Product Life Cycle. In Biology its called Evolution.

Overall, it is the instance where something new is launched, it is nurtured for a while and ultimately it becomes independent. Till not so long ago, the time span for this activity was measured if not in years, then in months. Any product took at least 11 months to reach the maturity phase, and then be phased out.
Medicines took years to make, they were launched, they finally caught on and then doctors reviewed them. If negative, the results would be observed only after months or even years and then they would be removed (sometimes forever) from the market. Classic example - thalidomide.
FMCG products took ages to launch, the latest shampoo retained the "New" title for years, only to lose market share and vanish from the horizon. Cold drinks retained their flavors for years, even with consumer reactions.

And the Internet was not there.

Today, medicines still take years to make. But withdrawing them is a matter of months! Look at Cerivastatin and now, Rimonabant.

FMCG products are launched on a monthly basis - be it hair colours, soaps, gels, shampoos, oils. Cold drinks are modified every month (almost) so that the flavour suits the palate of the most important consumer segment. Tweaking a product was never so dynamic as it is now.

As for the Internet? Well! If there is something that can make a product 'old' in three years, it is the Internet. While Gmail stayed beta for a few years, the world was in outrage at the ludicrosity of it. While Twitter defends itself with 'only three years old' the world demands a working business model from this 'old' service.
Things mature rather quickly. A website is launched and if, within a few weeks there arent enough takers, it vanishes out of site, which makes it even less likely to be ever retrieved from the 'lost and forgotten' list. For how often, afterall does anyone go to the third page of Google Search?

It is like watching the birth and death of so many ventures, on a constant basis. As they build, thrash around, become successful or die.

When I started this blog, blogging was by no means uncommon. It just wasnt as common as it is now - almost a social harakiri if yu dont have a blog. When I started my first blog, well, I guess four people of my batch knew what blogging was (and its died as well).

When facebook launched and took off in India, no one knew it. It was considered weird to prefer it over Orkut. and yet, today Orkut is flailing to stay afloat while everyone makes 'friends' on FBs forums and take common quizzes and fight as the Mafia.
LinkedIn, Twitter, ICHC - al lhave seen the same wonderful fate. Four years ago no one would know any of them. LinkedIn was just starting and still not understood. Today they are so common that people converse in ICHC language. Afterall, "I can has new post" is now a valid sentence in English.

And today, the time spans on the internet has also become so short. With the launch of popular forum-discussion-sites like MLIA, FML, MLIG, people all over now make their existence known to a wider spectrum of people than just their 'followers'. Over the past few months I have seen these websites emerge and become mainstream. Their owners developing better methods of managing all the data coming in, and improving their turnaround times. And the quality of information in them changing and becoming more polished. Indeed, even three weeks ago MLIA was quite different in flavour from what it is now. Within three weeks MLIA has shed its baby fat and matured.
Hunch, an unknown tool till recently is now almost mainstream. And everyone knows of Wolfram Alpha. Heck! Even Google took longer to be known and accepted than Google Latitude did!

Now the question remains, will they 'mature' and evolve and give rise to new websites? ICHC has spread its tentacles and now there are Lol presidents, lol Celebs, Lol - everything, even GraphJam to take care of all that is not covered by LOL. FML spread out and made MLIA and MLIG.

What next? As more and more people spend even more time surfing on the interwebs, will the maturity life cycle become shorter? Will it some day reach a stage where there is enough participation by readers on the Net, that through worldwide collaborative efforts, a website or new tool reaches maturity in a day! Or will it be that we will all jade of Google Rankings and there will be a website for every possible conceivable situation and people will just go there.

Whatever it is, the evolution life cycle on inanimate things seems to be decreasing at geometric progression. Will this then, pass on the animate objects, like humans, as well? how soon before we sport bigger eyes and extra digits to read more and type easily. Thankfully that still seems a few centuries away!

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
11th Aug, 2009 19:30 (UTC)
Iz called..
..'the long tail.'
The Internet has led to ultra fragmentation of audiences and websites/services. If you compare with your evolution paradigm, this is like devolution. From having huge monolithic entities (companies, music starts,products) with lifecycles/popularity spanning decades and millions of fans/users, we now have hundreds of companies, fads, songs, artistes spawning like mayflies, with vastly accelerated lifecycles, and also rapid dieoff.
We will slowly make way for the future generations who have lived in such an environment all their lives and are equipped for massive information processing from a much earlier age than us.
The way it's going, in future each person would have a hyper customized virtual (and possibly real life) experience in all that they do, and it will be very difficult to find common cultural tastes with others.
12th Aug, 2009 06:37 (UTC)
Re: Iz called..
You are right about long tail. But long tail defines a range of products in a certain spectrum. So long tail is from the bell curve where lesser person per product are the customers.

What I am talking about is a certain product and its particular life cycle. Not the complete bell curve, but the life cycle of one single product. Each product is an independent entity in the discussion, and grows from seed stage to mature/ dying. So what I am talking about is the reduction of time span for this life cycle leading to more and more new products, faster, and more differentiation as these products mature and enter the 'new wave' stage - and spurn out similar but differentiated products.
This of course in turn elongates the long tail, but my point of view was more micro.
12th Aug, 2009 06:47 (UTC)
Re: Iz called..
Plus, if you note, I have talked about medicines and FMCG goods. They are not exactly 'long tails'.

Thalidomide was just as specific in action as any of the modern day drugs, but it took years to take it off the market. Today the PLC is so short, only a couple of months can make a product being withdrawn.

Tweaking of the carbonate concentration in a soft drink doesnt have anything to do with long tail. It still caters to the same mass of people, but the life cycle of say 50% carbonation is short as people respond and the company enters the New Wave and comes out with a 70% carbonation product.

ICHC may still be popular but its jumped on to the New Wave with all its sister associations, also a practice known as 'Emphasising their Core Competence'. Same goes for FML and its brethren MLIA and MLIG. The life cycle of Orkut is past maturity, because they dint enter the New Wave. The same might well happen to Twitter. The life cycle of a product is reducing. And everyone needs to re-invent themselves fast.
That is not about the Long Tail.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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