About seven years or so ago I was invited to give a talk in Harrisburg (our State Capital) designed to address the notion of eGovernment. Back then it was all the rage — you know, renewing driver licenses and electronic voting and what not. I was part of a group of faculty from the College of IST here at PSU who were supposed to help the invited State officials understand where we could go. My part was called, “Challenges in an eWorld.” I’ve given that talk so many times I can’t count them all. I’ve tweaked it significantly through the years and still break out a hybrid version of it I use in my class. One of the slides is related to the number of years it took for specific mediums/technologies to reach 50 million homes. I’ve includes the slide below.
One thing I find interesting (on a whole bunch of levels) is how quickly the Internet reached the masses relative to something like radio — when I was growing up I was told over and over again about how everyone had a radio in their living room. Clearly the numbers are skewed by factors like PC ownership and total population, but they are interesting nonetheless.
If you jump out and look at the fact that Apple sold 50 million or so iPods in about 5 years you might argue that this device certainly needs to be considered in the chart above. I saw an article over in Gizmodo that got me thinking about all this … what is amazing to me is that Motorola sold 50 million RAZOR cellphones in about two years — two years! That to me is mind numbing. I doubt the iPhone can pull those kinds of numbers, but again I am not into predictions so I’ll leave that to others. Steve Jobs himself is shooting for much lower numbers, but if you take an argument like I have in my little presentation that the Internet reached 50 million users in about 4 years because the PC was its installed base, then the iPhone may have a shot at changing the rules of the game once again given the ubiquitous ownership of cellphones, the total reliance on the Internet, and the public’s fascination with the iPod. Who knows, I just found it all very interesting and it reminded me it was time to update some slides.
I doubt this post will spark the kind of open debate my last one did — that was fun to watch … and if I was smarter I might have even been able to participate.