The Disruptive Technology No One Mentions


What device do you think has changed the average person's life the most in the past 25 years?

If you say the computer you would be wrong.


It's the Cellphone.

It has killed the landline.

It's killing watches.

It's changing the music business.

It's changing the television business.

It's changing the camera business.

It's created a ringtone industry. (That industry is more than just music tones by the way)

It created a wallpaper industry.

It destroyed the payphone industry.

It's changing the gaming industry.

It has changed the way you live.


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21 Comments on “The Disruptive Technology No One Mentions”

  1. meettravis Says:

    here in San Francisco a man was just released yesterday after 20 years in prison (falsely). when ask what was the most amazing thing hes seen since his release he said “the cellphone”

  2. David Krug Says:

    I’m in total agreement here.

  3. Loren Says:

    Let’s talk TV. Are we talking Video (YouTube) or TV biz specifically? I think TV is in trouble long term. It is becoming less important as you say things go deep. They still have sick numbers in terms of reach. For now. A few generations with good big and small screens always connected to the web… It’s all up for grabs.

  4. Loren Says:

    Also. I neve got the ringtone industry at all. I know I should. I know it’s huge. I just don’t get it.

  5. candice Says:

    Loren – the ringtone industry is very simple, and I think I’m quoting chartreuse here. People buy ringtones to tell the people around them what they are into. It’s an image thing. It’s being in highschool or college and letting people know you’re into the next cool thing, or the insider indie thing, or whatever for a particular genre/type of music.

    Past that point, assigning ringtones to people gets really entertaining. Like ex-boyfriends. 🙂

    (Personally, I make mine out of mp3s, so they’re even more obscure, and I can get more of them without paying 2 bucks apiece. The problem is deciding what to use when faced with a forty-gigabyte mp3 library.)

    And more on-topic, a cellphone IS a computer, in technical terms.

  6. chartreuse Says:

    travis, if you have a link to that article, let me know.

    American Idol would be different if not for cellphone voting. 24 has special episodes on cellphones and ESPN has an entire mobile division…

    ringtones are huge. And will get bigger as they become even more personalized.

    And Candice, saying the cellphone is a computer is interesting. Are you sure it’s not the other way around? Isn’t the computer is just a big bulky communication device you can’t put to your ear… 🙂

  7. Liz Strauss Says:

    You didn’t even mention how other people’s cell phones have brought their lives into my own — on airplanes, in restaurants, even in elevators. They say things in front of me as if I’m invisible that they would never say 5 years ago. I’ve become a virtual person in the real world because of cell phones.

    They have become unable to be alone.

  8. Brian Says:

    Spot on as usual.

  9. candice Says:

    Char, I’ll try not to go off to the nerd deep end with this one. 😉

    Basically, your cellphone is an over-engineered radio with a computer and memory inside of it to hold your ringtones, play music and games, browse the web, whatever. Same basic sort of thing you’ve had on a desk for however many years. The earliest cellphone I used was a briefcase sized “radio-phone” which was just a radio patched into the telephone network.

    The modern cellphone is merging the two sides, putting communication and computing in one piece.

    We’re still probably five years off from being able to do everything in a useful size of phone – there are nifty little smartphones that do a lot of stuff, but they tend to have problems with not having big enough screens or memory and stuff. They’re also bulky and make you look like a nerd, which is half of why I quit carrying a PDA years ago.

    It probably will happen, though, that people will forego laptops for cellphones at some point.

  10. chartreuse Says:

    I’ve noticed that nothing but smart chicks hang out here. Thanks Candice!

  11. Kendall Gelner Says:

    Liz, that’s the most insightful thing I’ve heard in some time… a virtual person in the real world. I really like that.

  12. VampireFeet Says:

    Cellphones are everywhere. And you are right, they have changed lives. You can go anywhere, turn on your cellphone and watch a commercial!

  13. i gotta have me one of them

  14. Robert Says:

    I still don’t… not won’t, just don’t.

  15. watercooler Says:

    Cellphones mark a big improvement in communications, but I think the biggest problem with them is that it’s almost impossible to ‘get away’ and have a minute to yourself. It’s expected that you will always have your phone with you, and turned on, and that you are only 5 seconds away from working at any time, any place.

  16. […] OK, inspired partly by Char’s post, it occurred to me that if everything else is going cellular, poetry better get on the bus as well. I realize that ringtones have been about cutting up music, but of course, I’d like to throw in some talking. I don’t own a cellphone so Candice was gracious enough to fill me in on a few things. Thanks Candice. These KGP Ringtones appear in mp3 format only. Apparently a lot of phones can make use of this and the ones that don’t, soon will. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here. Below are three (test) KGP Ringtones for you to download (free) and pass around. […]

  17. […] Thanks again to Candice for the good and measured critique. And Chartreuse for the whirling, maniacal vision. […]

  18. jc stefano Says:

    I first want to agree that the cellphone has changed people. I have a cellphone and prefer it over my landline/cordless. I have used my cell as my primary phone for atleast 5 years now. Everytime my home phone rings I am reluctant to answer it because 9 times out of 10 its a sales call, a free consultation on a home loan, a political office asking to take a survey, etc., The one thing, that I cannot for the life of me understand is people that DWCT or Drive While Cell Talking. This is an observation that I have been studying for 3 months. Living in Los Angeles almost everyone has a cell phone. Now, what I did was study drivers when I myself am driving and a large amount of issues were due to or caused by people on their cell phones. Any moving violations, speed or straight up stupidity issues that I observed had to due with people who don’t care or just flat out cannot multitask. There should be a law in the state of California that restricts the use of cellphones while driving unless a headset is being used. Next time you’re on the road look for these thing and you should spot them if you are a defensive driver.
    Lastly, anyone who provides a ringtone and refuses to own a cellphone needs to re-think what they’re doing. How can you own a gas station and never use gas. Bad analogy or not, you get the picture. Sorry RB.

  19. JG Says:

    In response to Loren, I agree with Candice. But I would go one step further. Its true ring tones are an image thing. But so are cell phones in general. When is the last time you went out and bought a super-sleek land phone (think: RAZR) and paid 500 bucks for the privledge? Most of us wouldn’t spend more than 20 bucks, if even that. Cell phones have become a marketer’s dream – an instantly obsolete, obscenely high-priced fashion accesory.

  20. James Says:

    I saw that you have a page that discusses patent-related resources at I wanted to suggest adding to the page. This web site has free PDF downloading (instead of having to page through TIFFs like at the US PTO). It is by far the best free patent searching site.

  21. Shams Bhai Says:

    A very Nice Website Ive seen Uptill. Excellent post. Keep it up! Good day

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