The Pace Of Change – Why Marketing Will Always Be Unstable

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One of my all-time favourite business quotes is: "If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less." It’s from General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army and I pulled it from the Tom Peters book, Re-Imagine! – Business Excellence In A Disruptive Age (it’s a must-read book as well).

One way to gage change is to look at how media and communications has shifted over time. While reading the article, The Library In The New Age, by Robert Darnton from The New York Review of Books (Volume 55, Number 10, June 12th, 2008), I came across this:

"… the pace of change seems breathtaking: from writing to the codex, 4,300 years; from the codex to movable type, 1,150 years; from movable type to the Internet, 524 years; from the Internet to search engines, nineteen years; from search engines to Google‘s algorithmic relevance ranking, seven years; and who knows what is just around the corner or coming out the pipeline?

Each change in the technology has transformed the information landscape, and the speed-up has continued at such a rate as to seem both unstoppable and incomprehensible. In the long view—what French historians call la longue durée—the general picture looks quite clear—or, rather, dizzying. But by aligning the facts in this manner, I have made them lead to an excessively dramatic conclusion. Historians, American as well as French, often play such tricks. By rearranging the evidence, it is possible to arrive at a different picture, one that emphasizes continuity instead of change. The continuity I have in mind has to do with the nature of information itself or, to put it differently, the inherent instability of texts. In place of the long-term view of technological transformations, which underlies the common notion that we have just entered a new era, the information age, I want to argue that every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that information has always been unstable."

The article makes sense. And, Darnton ain’t just talking about libraries… his thoughts are just as (if not more) relevant to Marketing as well.

Read it all here: The Library In The New Age.

One comment

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