The other day I come home to a lovely surprise on my porch step. There sat two giant yellow books. For those of you who are youngsters, these items were phone books. Years ago, I would relish in throwing out the old phonebooks and replacing them with a newer version (I have a little obsession with kicking out the old and bringing in the new). That day took a different route. Instead of performing a switch, I sat them upon the kitchen counter to revisit them later. After literally no debate, I then proceeded to merely discard them.
Many of you reading are wondering why my exposition has any relevancy to the stock market. Don’t worry yourself, the intricate relationships will shortly surface, in turn making you a more informed investor.
Over the past five years we have seen the movement of communication migrate from home phones to handheld smartphone devices. Apple led the charge in the smartphone market, ensuring their dominance. What does Apple have to do with the death of the phone book you sit wondering? Let me explain it via an example, the other day my mother sent me a text message, asking for the phone number of one of my close friends. Being that I like many others despise speaking on the phone, I sent her his contact information via text. For those of you not handy with your smartphone (technologically illiterate), you can send a contact information via text message. With the press of two buttons, you can connect two people that were previously not connected. The above stated example represents just one instance of how we as a society have utilized new technology to eliminate the needs of old tools, such as phone books. Not only has Apple connected friends, but with the use of many different apps and search engines, Apple (and its following smartphone competition) has allowed our privileged population to connect to countless businesses with ease.
Let us take a peek at another tech giant and observe their influence on the death of the phone book. With a large portion of society utilizing social media, in particular, the younger generation, connectining using a phone book has become obsolete. Today when one loses a phone or finds the needs to add new contacts, the do so by creating a Facebook page for this need or sending a Facebook message to a needed contact. Even more recently, through Facebook’s smartphone application users can call each other with the ease of hitting the phone icon beside a friends name. More often than not one comes across an old friend through the platform and can find their number as easy as sending a message requesting their digits.The connectivity that this platform allows goes above and beyond anything that we as a society have previously seen. The above examples are just the beginning as many of you know. Facebook has hinted at creating their own phone,taking the level of connection to a new level.
The one company that has almost exclusively brought about the death of the phone book is a technology giant in many sectors- Google. With its search abilities Google has allowed the world to access information in a ridiculously timely fashion. I along with everyone else can find the local collision center in a matter of seconds. Google also allows for us to see what fellow customers fell about their experience prior to even making our initial phone call to a company. Today’s customers are more informed thanks to the death of the phone book. Not only that, but the customers as a unit are taking a different approach to where they spend their money. Particularly in these harsh economic conditions customers evaluate where they will spend their dollar wisely. That is why Google sided with Zagat late last year, to focus on expanding resources for the ever important and money conscious restaurant eating crowd. They have effectively allowed customers to get a wealth of information they previously could not find. If you want local chinese food, you no longer get an outdated menu in a phone book, you get a live menu on the computer with customer reviews. The death of the phone book has made customers lives easier and added new intermediaries to profit from the customer business relationship.
Companies and individuals undoubtedly benefit from the change in access to this information. These technology companies have changed the way we interact with the world, I not only look forward to what the future brings, but also how these techs profit from the change in the habits of the masses.
Hate it or love it, the tech giants are putting the last nail in the coffin of the phone book.
Photo by Jamiesrabbits