I hadn’t noticed that Craigslist now charges you $5 to sell a car but it’s been that way for more than six months. I just hadn’t been selling a car until now.
It’s been a fun ride as the internet destroyed all the best industries in the world with freebies. All the ‘disruption’ that we’ve been experiencing over the past decade has really been good old fashioned monopoly building. Now that the competition has been destroyed and the moats are dug deep around the monopolies – we’re going to start having to pay and we’re going to start getting gouged.
Newspapers. Dead. Paywalls on news sites – on the rise.
Records with liner notes, CDs with liner notes, music you actually buy once and own forever – gone. Songs you ‘buy’ but have to pay to store on your device – here to stay. That storage fee. Our files are getting bigger and our ‘free’ allocation of storage is getting smaller. 5 GB doesn’t hold many home movies (icloud) or your music, videos, or gazillions of photos. 15 GB (Google Drive) gets used up pretty quick too. It’s only $2.99/month to upgrade…go ahead – and so it begins. The classic pusher line – first one is free.
Starbucks killed coffee houses, Walmart killed mom & pop stores, Amazon killed malls, cable killed broadcast, streaming killed cable, Netflix killed Blockbuster, Budweiser bought all the microbreweries and then Budweiser got bought, and the list goes on and on. CNN and Headline News killed the 6:00 news, streaming buried local news, Whole Foods killed local health food stores, Amazon bought Whole Foods, and so forth. Uber killed buses and taxis.
I liked newspapers. I liked coffee houses. I liked the evening news. I liked small businesses. I liked craft beer. I liked libraries and video stores. I liked record shops and book stores. I liked free local classified ad papers. I liked corkboard bulletin boards in local health food stores.
The internet and tech companies came and killed all these things. They promised leveling the playing field. Free services. Better everything. They lied. They were simply killing the competition and building monopolies. Now they have.
The 1990s were the emergence of computing and internet for the masses.
The 2000s were the decade when people moved into the digital world.
The 2010s have been the decade of disruption which was actually monopoly building.
The 2020s are going to be the most expensive decade people have ever lived – on many different levels.
I’m no longer convinced that Bitcoin will be a good hedge against that – I certainly hope so – but the powers in charge have been working very hard to limit it’s usefulness to those not in power.
It’s probably too late to stop any of this from moving forward.