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Mobile Darwinism

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By Kamal Dimachkie.

October 24, 2013 12:26 by

The mobile phone has crept ever so stealthily into my life and has increasingly taken hold of it, monopolised my attention and made itself so indispensable that I have become an addict.

Yes, I confess, I have become incurably dependent on this device, which was previously used sparingly and, if memory serves me, only to contact people. Today, my day depends on it. I look around and realise that I live in a world of addicts, which probably explains why I have not been admitted to an institution or behind bars.

Or am I?

We are at a major crossroads on the way to the future of mobile communications and the possibilities are endless. Success for marketers and advertisers means that they must capitalise on the changes taking place and, to do so, they will have to make hard decisions that will be dictated by strategy and that will cost money.

Forseeing the future is not an exact science. Who would have predicted that the VHS would be the market winner in the battle for home video viewing in the ’70s? After all, the Betamax had better technology, but it was the VHS that offered a comprehensive product offering. It was more convincing to a consumer, as it provided a bigger choice of hardware at a lower cost and tapes were cheaper and more widely available. This example highlights the need to have an efficient solution that is supported by a favourable ecosystem.

And when such an ecosystem is available, it can trigger seismic changes that are far-reaching and that transcend people’s abilities to predict their outcomes. In his book Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History, from the Alphabet to the Internet, William Bernstein writes:

“The use of the printing presses long predated Gutenberg and he was not even the first to use the movable type… it represents the final step in a technological and intellectual chain more than a thousand years in the making. This complex sequence of events wove together five separate, but overlapping strands – the evolution and spread of word separation in written script, founding of Europe’s first great universities, industrialisation of paper manufacture, invention of steel punches and counterpunches to manufacture the type moulds and finally, the advances in mining technology and metallurgy that allowed the development of durable, yet malleable alloys to fill those moulds. Without each of these, Gutenberg’s wondrous machine would have been either useless or impossible.

Gutenberg’s major impact on literacy, religion, culture and politics, after all, was simply to make books and pamphlets cheaper.”

Cheaper books and pamphlets led to increased literacy, which built and spread knowledge, which, in turn, enabled people to challenge absolutes and led to the breaking of monopoly – in this case the Church’s greatest asset, its millennium-old guardianship of the gates of heaven. The ultimate outcome is that history took a major turn.

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