Predicting the future by learning from the past

(courtesy of
(courtesy of


George Santayana is attributed with the quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.  Along those lines I was inspired from an article one of our contributors (thanks Ian!) shared with our group entitled “10 tech giants that let their big lead slip away


10. Atari– was in on the ground floor of in-home video game revolution with its’ 2600 but lack of quality control and high pricing were its’ failing

9. Commodore– was on the leading edge of home computers with the Commodore 64 but couldn’t keep up with the pace of innovation

8. GeoCities– in the late 90’s was the 3rd most popular site on the internet but after Yahoo bought it and changed the Terms of Service users left in droves

7. Yahoo– was quick to establish itself as the leader in internet searches but their engines technology fell behind that of Google.  When people want to look something up I have yet to hear someone say ‘Yahoo it

6. Sony– was a leader of the pack with the Walkman, Trinitron televisions, and Playstation, but a lack of innovation led to their downfall

5. RIM/BlackBerry– owned the business smartphone market until Apple unveiled its’ larger, clearer slab.  A lack of response by its’ executives relegated the company to a distant 3rd place.  Will be interesting to see what John Chen can do at the helm

4. Nokia– just 8 short years ago Nokia had a commanding 41% market share but the advent of iOS and android combined with the adaptation of the Windows Phone OS led to its’ demise

3. Panasonic– was a leader in high-definition televisions and banked most everything on plasma.  As LCD and LED caught on and market share dropped they exited the plasma business.  Samsung has now taken over as the industry leader in television market

2. Radio Shack– was a mainstay for electronics but its’ slow descent began as customers started shopping on the internet forcing this ‘brick and mortar’ icon into a corner

1. Kodak– sat atop the film industry for decades until digital cameras took hold.  As an FYI, Kodak invented the digital camera but never fully appreciated or embraced the technology.  Now it’s looking to sell off patents for revenue.


There seems to be a few recurring themes here, 5 or 6 years are like dog years in tech and a lot can change-


  • it’s not only important to keep up with technology, but to innovate


  • price and quality are important


  • finally, you must be responsive to your customers




So the question becomes, who has learned from the past?




kayaker co-pilot Tucson, it's a dry heat!

  • newcollector

    It seems to me that BlackBerry has learned their message the hard way.

    • razrrob

      Yes, they have newcollector, along with many others. I wonder if this will impact Apple in any way as they are not priced appropriately, their hardware and software quality is questionable at best, and they haven’t innovated in a few years

      PS – hope your knee is healing up!

  • Robert

    This is a perfect example of how nobody can stay on top forever. I’m interested in seeing how things will be a few years from now.

    • razrrob

      likewise, Robert.
      It wouldn’t be surprising if the leader in 6 or 7 yrs from now is some company we’ve never heard of

  • bartron

    Great post. I hope Apple and all their supporters read it. BlackBerry has learned the lessons from their past. But clearly Apple hasn’t.

  • Anthony

    Sony is making nice TVs again. Their 4K TVs are quite nice.

    Some businesses experience cylces, other cease. BlackBerry is riding another cycle, they transitioned to a new OS that was designed with some hind-sight and can accommodate features for next-generation mobile computing.

    Slapping features onto an archaic OS is a downward spiral locco_smiley_32

    • bartron

      Sony always made some of the best TVs. The problem was that they were very pricey. IMO, the difference in price between their TVs and their competitors’ was much greater than the difference in quality.

      • razrrob


        Agree, historically Sony TV’s were grossly overpriced but they seem to be cognizant of that today with their current line-up

    • razrrob

      Anthony, I agree the Sony 4K tv’s are awesome and reasonably priced. If I didn’t owe the IRS so much money…..

  • ray689

    Great post. It sure will be interesting to see how things shake out with the IOT revolution that BlackBerry seems to be ready for while Apple makes apps thinking they will get a piece of it.

    • razrrob


      I just don’t see how Apple can compete in the IoT space. Their whole landscape consists of a walled-off garden and that notion is 1000% antithetical to the basic tenets of the IoT.

  • Tommy C

    I’d like to reflect on a few of these. I’m avoiding commenting on BlackBerry in that list because I hear enough on a daily basis on how we are already dead or are for sale.

    Panasonic: yes, they dropped the ball on the Viera line, but they still make amazing electronics. The only portable CD player I ever owned that wouldn’t skip when driving down a bumpy road in a big truck was a Panasonic. Panasonic also supplied the disc drives for the Nintendo GameCube and even made their own version of the GameCube, the Panasonic Q. I’d buy Panasonic today if there was a product I needed that they made.

    Sony: the Bravia line is award winning and expensive as hell. Where Sony shines is where no one is really looking right now: Bluetooth. Two products I own, the SBH80 and the BM10 handle Bluetooth audio streaming with aptx better than ANY product I’ve owned to date. Keep your eye on them.

    Nokia: they’re still riding out their contract with Microsoft. A stipulation in the contract prevents them from making devices for a certain period of time. Expect them to return with a vengeance just as BlackBerry has and will continue to do.

    • razrrob

      Tommy C-

      Interesting points about the Sony Bluetooth and Nokia. I was always a fan of Nokia phones before I found BlackBerry. It would seem they would have to start from the ground up to get reestablished but that may be a good thing – no preconceived ideas.

  • Canuckvoip

    The Commodore Amiga was light years ahead of the competition. IBM PC was 16 colours, and MAC was black and white at the time.
    Amiga came out with 4096 colors, stereo sound and a fully multitasking OS. Amazing at the time. I still have one!

    • razrrob

      i vaguely remember playing with an Amiga way back in the day….

  • LoneStarRed

    As Shakespeare said: “What’s past is prologue”. Apple is doing an exemplary job in preparing themselves to topple.

    • razrrob

      LoneStarRed, I wouldn’t be surprised. When (not if) it does happen it will be interesting to see how fast the iRats desert the sinking ship