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The Death of the Blog…?

April 25, 2013

Often, I’m asked by kids what the most important class I took in school was.  I immediately point back to my high-school typing class, where I wasn’t even all that good.  But repetition made me a decent touch-typist, and it’s only my lack of coordination and no ability to spell that prevents me from truly flying over my keyboard.  Of course, when asked if they should take typing… I usually say no.  The keyboard is likely going away, I say, and they’ll have different ways to input, and different needs for reporting.  It’s not that the skill is dead, and a good typing rate is always helpful, but it’s not going to be the path of modern communications.

Witness The Register: (Usual disclaimer… I work for a tech company, and we have significant business interests in many of the areas here… my opinions are my own, and I’m not making any financial recommendations.)

The industry shift to slabs [Register lingo for tablets and smart phones] didn’t just catch out major PC makers: peripherals builder Logitech also found life hard going, judging by the amount of red ink scrawled over its Q4 2012 financial figures.

The mouse, keyboard and speaker tech purveyor reported operating losses of $37m for Q4 (ended 31 March), including $16m in restructuring charges as well as a $6m goodwill impairment. This compared unfavourably to an operating profit of $24m a year ago.

I’d note that the article goes on to say that Logitech is doing fine with keyboard attachments for tablets, and they still have many viable business areas.  I don’t go for the futurist craze (as many of you readers know), but I do see a wholesale change in the way generations are communicating, and it’s going to force a change that spreads wider than Twitter.

The PC market is not necessarily declining just because people don’t want to type.  It’s likely a more wholesale problem of the PC not being there when people want to communicate.  A typical PC use is one where the user has it open and it looking at the screen.  While I’ve seen a few people at a party or on top of a mountain holding up a full-size tablet to take a picture, it’s nowhere near as common as a quick phone snap.  The mechanisms for communication have also changed to a more context-rich format, with Facebook and Twitter providing quick ways to link pictures and videos to the world.

A picture is worth a thousand words… at least that’s the old saw.  So I’m more interested in how words change as a result.  And the impact on the industry is going to be a lot sharper than you’ll expect… which means that we’re at an industry inflection point that will define winners and losers.  This one would be more fun to watch if I wasn’t in the middle, but I still want to see it happen.


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