The circle of life. When one dies, another is born. This great truth is seen not only in all living things, but in all aspects on the planet. This includes ideals, technologies, inventions, information, processes, lifestyles, fashion, and gossip. As the world continues to turn and humans remain fickle, the cycle of life and death is inevitable.
Take the classic whiteboard. This well-loved instruction medium was ever present in classrooms and boardrooms. It was a required fixture in lecture halls and conference rooms, in offices, diners, garage, homes, and even public telephone booths. Whiteboards popularity sprang from its dry-erase convenience and as a healthful alternative to chalkboards, which have been suspected at that time to cause allergic reaction among lecturers and students. The 1960s until the 90s were the glory days for whiteboard suppliers in Singapore and around the globe.
The manufacturing (whether resin-infused paper, painted aluminum, enamel or porcelain on steel, or the polyethylene terephthalate on steel type) and the delivery of this beloved board on a daily basis made many of those involved in the industry, whiteboard suppliers included, into millionaires in such short time. However, as Barbara Streisand would say, some good things never last. Technology introduced a new and better way to make and present instructions and information, conduct meetings, and discuss presentations, the whiteboard is slowly eased out of the picture. Replaced by canvas white screen and a projector, and interactive electronic screens presentations now come in vivid color images and slides. Unlike the bulky whiteboard, the screen can be rolled-up and concealed when not in use, offering better alternative space saving option. The electronic screens provides versatility and modern elegance that whiteboards cannot compete against.
One other concept that is at the twilight of its popularity is the magazine and newspaper stand in Singapore. Newspapers in print are already replaced by mobile electronic gadgets. In this fast changing times, people want information accessible and immediately available at their fingertips. With news delivered directly to their smart phones and tablets, news becomes history in a matter of hours. More evolved and progressive news agencies adapted to the need of their subscribers and the public by having an online portal. As demanded by their patrons, news are uploaded and updated in real time. Electronic or digital versions of the printed newspaper maintain forum sites where the public forward their views and opinion on the day’s top stories. These are features cannot be catered by newspaper or magazine in print. While the news agency or publisher may have adapted and survived the shift in society’s reading preferences, the people who suffers most are the magazine and newspaper stand operators. Without the need to get paper copies of magazines and newspapers, fewer people patronize the outlets.
As with the scientific principle of adaption, businesses and industries too will see the sunset of their profitable life. Those who fail to adapt and evolve will eventually become extinct. Such is the circle of life.