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Day October 22, 2013

How many mobile platforms can a market sustain?

Using logistic curves to measure diffusion of innovations is a powerful method of analysis. However there are limits to what can be learned. The methodology helps in understanding how quickly a pervasive technology is adopted. It assumes that the technology “fills all available space” within a market. It therefore also assumes that whatever problems the technology solves are universal problems.

Put another way, if a technology is not universally useful, it tends to peak before a market saturates. This “universality” condition is in evidence when observing that pervasive technologies are adopted not only by all members of one national market but also all nations and through all means of government and regulation. In other words that the jobs that the technologies are hired to do are so important that they bulldoze any and all obstacles placed in the path of adoption.

The only difference is one of timing. Some regions are quicker than others. Institutionalized obstacles essentially defer rather than deter adoption. They impede rather than block.

And I am pretty sure that smartphones solve universal needs and their adoption will be nearly 100%. They also have fairly low impedance given the speed of adoption (50% penetration in most large markets seems to come in less than 5 years.)

That’s the story for the technology, but how value is captured is another story.

Who captures and how it’s captured are questions of commerce not economics. They are informed by competitive advantage and business models. The puzzle seems to be that individual companies don’t capture value in the patterns of Logistic curves. Or at least I don’t think they do.

Consider the graph below.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 10-22-1.25.54 PM

Asymcar 6: Peak Horse

IMG_8345

Asymcar 6: Peak Horse | Asymcar.

Steve Crandall brings a new perspective as a guest. Steve’s analysis of complex systems has given him a huge pool of wisdom into which we dip our dainty spoons.

We survey the interlopers seeking to replace many jobs that cars have traditionally done, from horses to bicycles, planes, trains and buses.

We dive deeper into a few earlier Asymcar topics including energy, regulation, infrastructure, power train evolution, societal changes, distribution networks, urbanization and consider the promise of electric bicycles.

Several innovation timing lessons temper our expectations for immediate improvements.

Finally, we revisit the emerging transportation information layers and how such services may change public behavior and the auto-ecosystem.

Asymcar 6: Peak Horse | Asymcar.

(Honorable mention to anyone who can identify the vehicle shown above.)