Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

June 2017

How’s business? Have things changed much in the last 30 years or so?
In truth, just about everything has changed in the last 10 years, let alone the last 30.

Telephones, for instance: 30 years ago businesses were dedicating a phone line to their fax machines, while in the last 10, businesses were more likely to be figuring out how to put a cell phone–readable symbol on everything — cards, ads, totes, toys, and letterheads.

Still thinking about business telephones? What’s WATS again? Toll-free? Heck, after I spend whatever on cell plans, blue teeth, Wi-Fi, I don’t pay no stinking tolls.

Retail? How many catalogs did your mom get? Sears, Penney’s, S&H Green Stamps, Talbots, L.L. Bean? You can still get seasonal catalogs whether you want them or not. Or Amazon: 30 years ago a river where Ben and Jerry went to gather nuts; in the last 10 years, the stock you wish you had bought sooner as it moves the goal posts constantly as it verges on a billion dollar market cap.

Manufacturing? Thirty years ago IBM was the state’s largest employer and Digital Equipment was just about to get zapped by PCs. Now, of course, IBM-ers are less likely to be your neighbor.

Hospitality? Boom, bust, what else? Thirty years ago, indoor tennis facilities got built out; in the last 10 years, biking, hiking, and running gain while golf courses are getting repurposed.

Energy: That hasn’t changed, has it? Oh, right. Thirty years ago, what was the name of that hot company out of Texas? In the last 10 years, Tesla has changed the question from MPG to MkWh. Maybe that’s a bit much, but Tesla’s market cap is bigger than either GM or Ford. Green Mountain Power has seen its market share of residential heat unplug, though it still depends on hot water tanks, light bulbs, and flat screens to give it a baseline to defend. You get their heat pump ad in your last bill?

Publishing, you ask? Oh, sure, there have been a ton of changes technically, and the market ebbs and flows. But all in all, disruption, competition, and innovation are the work product of Business People and we’ll keep writing about them.