by Skip Cohen
Yesterday I was thinking about what I might share for Throwback Thursday today when the mail came and answered my question...the Yellow Pages. Seriously, while last time I wrote about the "phonebook" a couple of photographers still claimed they get leads, overall I don't know anybody who lets their fingers do the walking.
But there is a point when it comes to Sarasota County that's fast becoming obsolete. I heard once that Sarasota County has one of the oldest average age populations of any county in the country. Now, if you pay attention to the demographics of your business, that means we've got a community that's less computer literate than in other parts of the country. So, just maybe the Yellow Pages becomes a good thing for part of the population here.
But it's Throwback Thursday, and like the national obsolescence of the phonebook, I've got some other things it brought to mind:
Floppy disks and payphones? Alarm clocks and encyclopedias? Fax machines? Bench seats in cars?
My good buddy, Brian Caporicci, has found a perfect use for old floppy disks. He hands them out to brides at bridal fairs and says, "Please take this home and enjoy looking at some of my favorite weddings and albums." And when they look at him like he's from outer space and exclaim, they've got no way to view them; it becomes the perfect argument about printing your images and the importance of the wedding album!
I just shared a few of my favorite obsolete products but I wanted more. I Googled "Products that have become obsolete" just for the fun of it. What I found was a mini-goldmine of memories.
Mini-labs: At their peak in 1993, there were 7,600 one-hour labs in the US, and another 14,700 so-called mini-labs inside chain stores like Kmart. If you didn't live through the 1980s and 1990s, it's hard to visualize just how common these stores were.
Film: 1839-2018 - In 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre shocked the world by freezing a moment in time when he snapped the world's first photograph. Film photography would dominate for more than 150 years. Although the first digital camera was created in 1975, the 1999 Kodak DC210 truly signaled the beginning of the digital camera revolution — and the beginning of the end for film. In May 2018, Canon announced it had finally sold its last film camera, eight years after it stopped making them — it took that long to deplete the unsold inventory.
Note: I have a DC220, a gift from friends at Kodak in 1998 when it was introduced and then selling for $1000.
Phonebooks: 1878-2012 - In 2007, Bill Gates predicted that "Yellow Page usage among people, say, below 50, will drop to zero — near zero — over the next five years." More than a decade later, the 20th century relic refuses to die, with bound white and yellow paper directories of business and residential phone numbers still showing up on doorsteps across the country. But while they are still being produced, how often are they actually used in the era of smartphones and Google? Their biggest users, however, appear to be YouTubers attempting to tear them apart in video stunts.
Just for a break from business today, take a scroll through these two sites. You'll be surprised how many things most of us considered standard in our lives just a few years back, and that's part of the fun of Throwback Thursday. Although for me, the questions are a lot more pressing, like:
Whatever happened to Cold Duck? What happened to my Mother's recipe for tuna casserole? Does anybody remember how to make a Harvey Wallbanger?
The list goes on and on, but feel to add to my list.
The fun of Throwback Thursday is that trip down Memory Lane. Old photographs, ads, products we used to feel we couldn't live without - they're all part of our heritage. And, whether they were booted to the back-burner because of technology or trends - who cares? It's fun to look back.
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