Time Changes Everything

I can still recall our family’s first television set. It coincided with the beginning of local television broadcasting. That was 66 years ago.

It was an exciting time. Except for the vertical hold issues. Eventually that came under control and life was good.

Compared to television sets today it was primitive, but satisfying nonetheless. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. The Honeymooners. The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. The World Series. Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Dick Clark.

The analog control supposed we could find 12 channels. We could not. Four was about normal. Do you remember how special “by satellite” was?

The three large TV networks in the US ruled. Today I could stream thousands of stations and networks are less important.

I wonder if children today know about rabbit ears or a TV antenna with a rotor control? Probably not. People know what they need to know.

Time passes

Television quality grew over the decades, but the NTSC format of analog transmission remained essentially the same. Colour was added and peripherals like VCRs and video games appeared, but there was no fundamental change until Cable TV became dominant. That form allowed digital signals to be received. in 2009, in the United States, digital became the norm and on 12 July 2021, the licenses expired for the few last TV stations that broadcast analog signals.

Stick broadcasters are no more.

The message

There were hundreds of millions of television sets that received over the air broadcasts. Even with that market share, technology made them obsolete. Time in the market did not matter. The end came about 80 years after the first wide area broadcasts began.

No technology, no cultural imperative, no political standard lasts forever. NTSC format TV, the Soviet Union, labour unions, the phone company, many large businesses (none of the original members of the Dow Jones Industrial Index remain there), many religious denominations, and even the idea of family, have disappeared or are becoming less dominant than they once were.

Change is the norm. Change improves products and well managed effort makes the things we want and need cheaper and more readily available. Did you ever think how hard it was to find information 60 years ago. We take internet search for granted. In 1965, if I wanted to do an essay about the development of television in the world, it would have taken me days to find the data. Today, in seconds, I can find a history by year of when non-experimental TV appeared throughout the world. Wikipedia

Learn that change will happen and the old technologies will be replaced by new. What works will be replaced by what works better and cheaper.

The takeaway

Expect change and anticipate what can happen. In general, moving from the R&D department to the marketplace takes twenty to thirty years. Likely less now, as times change and development and marketing is easier.

Social institutions seem not to be driven by better and cheaper. In 2011, Thomas Sowell opined, “Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area – crime, education, housing, race relations – the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.”

Anticipation is an important aspect of both investment success and career success. Work at it a little. Notice what is happening around you and assess what it means.

Be careful of what sounds good.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com

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