11 Industries Revolutionized by the Internet

James Preston Reply 11:27 AM
The internet has changed the game. Completely. Everything has been radically disrupted by the internet. And the funny thing is, the internet isn't a single company or idea. It is a collective project made by people who want to share. Something humanity would do well to note.

Who would've expected, though, that one single "invention" (if you can call it that?) could change the world this much? Has anything revolutionised the way we live our lives as radically as the internet?

The printing press? Electricity? The car? I really do think the internet trumps them all. And with this post, I want to show just how radically the internet has changed the game by highlighting 11 industries that have been completely upended with the advent of the Internet.

In order of most radically transformed (so far)...

1. Music Industry
This was the first industry to feel the weight of the Internet's power. And it all started with "Napster". Sean Parker had an idea to share music with everyone who had an internet connection. The only thing is, he did it from one centralised hub. This was his downfall.

With the invention of the "Mp3" codec making music files being so small and accessible, people could download music without buying the whole CD, FOR FREE! The music industry would never be the same again. Then came P2P Sharing sites like Kazaa, then Steve Jobs brilliantly caught on and released iTunes. Then bitTorrents. And now YouTube. Which brings us to the second industry...

2. TV and Movie Industry
When last did you watch an advertisement during your favourite TV show? The only TV these days worth watching advertisements for is Live Events, like sport. That's it. We now watch the TV Shows and Movies we want, when we want, how we want.

And with the development of YouTube and Vimeo, and the accelerating change of video technology making it more accessible, people are able to make video content and share it for free with the world! Soon, we won't need to pay to go see our favourite movies, because they will be made by people with a passion for Film, not by people who are doing it for money.

The Film Industry will fight back. And has been since BitTorrents were invented. But like all the industries on this list, It will lose.

Blockbuster? Dead. Netflix? Competing with HBO, CBS and Paramount! An internet company!

Fun Fact: Did you know? The amount of full-production movies being made in Hollywood DROPPED since a peak in 2010 and has been steadily dropping since? Ominous me thinks.

3. News
Where do you go the moment you hear of a crazy story? News24.com? CNN.com? The TV? No, Twitter. That's where. And that's where live, breaking, as-it-happens, uncensored news gets broken first. Twitter has changed the News game forever.

I found out about Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, and Robin Williams dying on Twitter. Get your head around that Generation-Xers!

The Asiana Flight 214 plane crash in San Francisco? Twitter.

Malaysian Flight MH370 that went missing? Twitter.

Malaysian (Poor Malaysian Airways) Flight MH17? Twitter.

You get the point.

People can write their own spin, their own perspective, and more importantly, their own experiences, on breaking news with the likes of Blogs, YouTube, Vlogs and Social Media. News outlets have to adapt or die. It's as simple as that.

4. Shopping
I'm really excited about this one because eCommerce is only really taking off in South Africa now. It's taken a while, and has been dominated by Kalahari and TakeAlot, but with genius franchised couriers like FastWay that's about to change for South Africa.

But look at shopping overall in the West and it's clear to see the game has changed. I mean, for an internet shopping company to be one of the wealthiest companies on the planet has to tell you something! 10 years ago the word "Amazon" meant the Amazon jungle! Now kids immediately associate the word with the online store.

Which brings us to number 5...

5. Publishing
Amazon has rocked publishing forever. But without the internet, this would never have been possible. And of course you can publish your own book without Amazon.

But with the largest directory of publications available for immediate download direct to your Tablet or eReader, print publishing and its associated administration is fighting a very steep uphill battle. The way publishers have been running the market for the last century is over. Authors are free to write what they want. Wanting to actually be heard is another story of course. Good marketing the key there.

6. Taxi Services
What if I told you I was going to create an app, and because of it the transport associations of Berlin, London and other main cities would rise up in massive protest? You'd laugh me off, right?

Of course, no one actually plans something like that when writing an app. They're just trying to solve a problem. Help somebody.

But this is exactly what Uber did. Their genius self-employed taxi cab service has so changed the game that there have been huge protests in the above-mentioned cities because Uber was taking their business.

Did you lads not learn? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

7. Telecommunications
The way we communicate has changed forever. Thanks to Skype, Whatsapp, BBM, Email, and so many more the traditional form of Faxes and Telephone calls are as good as dead.

Gary Vaynerchuk does a poll when he does a live event talk: Who gets angry when their phone rings? He says that for the last 2 years the people who stick their hand up has been steadily increasing to now be at about 60% of the room! I don't know about you, but I'm one of the 60%!

Because time is such a precious commodity, the advent of a short message before a phone call or Skype has become commonplace, and far more socially accepted. People don't want phone calls anymore! Why? Because technology has changed the way we do things.

Phone companies have had to adapt or... you guest it... die.

8. Radio
Before, you were always subjected to whatever the DJ or radio station wanted to tell or play you. Now? Find your favourite podcast, song, sermon or Ted talk, put on your iPod, iPhone, Mp3 player, phone, whatever, and play it when it suits you. You choose what you want to hear!

There is still a lot of opportunity and scope for this one, but the very fact that people are making a living (and a good one at that) entirely off podcasting, and industry unheard of not 10 years ago, just goes to show how much transformation has taken place.

South Africa's very own Gareth Cliff is a prime example of this. With the world at his feet, he took his audience off FM radio and online. Putting all his shows into podcasts, so people can listen to them when they want!

5FM replaced him with the afternoon drive's DJ Fresh. I don't listen to DJ Fresh anymore. I used to listen to him at least 15-30 minutes every week. Now that he's moved to 5-8am? Nothing. I don't hear him anymore. And I used to enjoy his show. But now? That time just doesn't work for me. Not to mention the fact that I only ever listened to him in the car, the place I listen to most my podcasts. (I can't listen to podcasts much in the gym, I can't focus properly! On the podcast, that is.)

Gareth Cliff on the other hand? He's onto something...

9. Education
I was hoping my Facebook and Twitter question this morning would provide something new that I hadn't thought of yet. And it did. Right here. Education!

Cath Jenkin (actually a Guest Blogger next week) brilliantly suggested that Education is about to be turned on its head. And she's 100% right.

Do you know how many Entrepreneurs that I listen to and read are saying not to send your kids to college? Yes, you Generation-Xers would vomit at that. But it's making more and more sense.

With the amount of information available, the way people are getting educated is in for a radical change. It hasn't reached tipping point yet, but when it does... it's going to be radical.

I am pretty confident my son won't go to college/university. I know that's a big statement for many of us old-school thinkers. But man, so much is going to change by the time he's 16. And I'm sure education is one of the big ones!


10. Financial
This is actually the reason I wrote this post. The Financial Industry is about to get radically turned on its head. I don't know how, I don't know when. But with the horrendous crash of 2008, the bankruptcies of Iceland, Cyprus and Greece (and who knows who next?) it is only a matter of time before something radical changes.

And the trend I am seeing is Cryptocurrency. If you've never heard of Cryptocurrency or BitCoin, it is the gamechanger. Do yourself a favour and watch this brilliant video by the World Bitcoin Network explains it comprehensively. (One of the videos I downloaded and put on my iPod for cartime listening).

Based on an asset/commodity, and a secure and entirely transparent ledger, with no central banking controlling prices, interest rates, fees or accessibility, BitCoin (or other Cryptocurrencies) really are going to change the financial game. Because it is desperate to be changed. Cryptocurrencies could be it.

With a current market capitalization of $ 6,410,045,846 (at writing - from here) there is already so much momentum for BitCoin and other Cryptocurrencies that this wave is pretty unstoppable. For economists and sociologists, this is a gamechanger...

11. Politics
And finally, politics. Sure, this isn't really an industry. But I'm sure you'd agree it belongs on the list?

We've already seen it in Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and more. Social Media has upended entire governments. People are fed up with police states and big corporations running the show. True democracy is here. In the form of the internet.

How the change will happen or take place? I don't know. But there's no doubt, change is in the air.

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That's it for now. 

What industries have I left out? What else is at the mercy of the Internet? Waiting for a revolution?

We are in interesting times. And as a Millennial (or Generation-Yer) I love it! What about you?


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