I believe that capitalism runs on the inefficiencies in any given market. These inefficiencies force evolution. They force change and innovation. Often rendering old business models irrelevant.
I’ve seen this over decades. Looking back, the change that’s happened, and the pace at which its taken place, is hard to fathom.
I was born into media. Ink in my veins. Four generations of newspaper owners. I’m not talking about Hearst kind of newspaper owners. I’m talking about newspaper owners from the other side of the tracks. The kind of newspapers like the Canton Daily Ledger or the Oqwauka Current. Local, family-style affairs. (I just checked Facebook; The Current now has 33 followers.)
At my dad’s paper (and, my grandfather’s before him) everyone was involved. The same people wrote the stories, typeset the paper, and ran the presses. Back then, it took 35 people to put out The Canton Daily Ledger.
When I was a kid, before I became a paperboy, I’d go down and hang out with the typesetters. These guys were all about the craft, all about the process. They’d melt the lead, pour it into the Linotype machine – a big, frightening contraption, like something out of a Steampunk nightmare. Then they’d pull the letters from the Linotype and organize them upside down and backwards on a special rolling brass table. A few quick moves of their hands and presto, the page was laid out. They were fast. They were passionate. They were craftsman.