A Tale of Two Technologies

Yesterday, I walked through Barnes and Noble looking for a particular book. Within the first twenty feet of the entrance sat two displays. The first, a 3D printer. The second, vinyl records.

Three dimensional printing, the latest technology, presents amazing engineering and business opportunities. At some point in the future, when a mechanic needs a part, he will print it. When a doctor needs a new valve to fix a heart, she will print it. Engineers will solve problems by printing solutions out of thin air.  

Vinyl records, nearly extinct, have reemerged in the music scene. As best I can tell, vinyl produces a full sound, what audiophiles want. In a larger sense, the resurgence of vinyl demonstrates that not everything dies with technological disruption. Even amidst ubiquitous digital music, some people want the sound they deem more authentic. People want the real experience.

 Technology inspires change and instills fear. It creates and destroys jobs. But in the end, human behavior will change and it won’t. Some of us will embrace the new. Some of us will cherish the old. The savvy business understands both. 

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Photo: author’s own

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