The Things my iPhone has Replaced

Watch­ing help­lessly as the movers do their thing. I tried help­ing, they laughed and told me to sit down.

Ear­lier this week I had to fax some­thing (aren’t land­lords hip?). Down­loaded an app, and away I faxed.

The other day I saw some Cap­tain Obvi­ous at, I think Bar­clays, write some­thing about how phones are replac­ing cam­eras (uh, Kodak fell off the planet years ago). So the topic of mobile phones replac­ing other things has been on my mind.

Here are all the things my phone has replaced (or pre­vented me from needing):

    1. home phone
    2. news­pa­per
    3. alarm clock
    4. wrist watch
    5. auto GPS
    6. pay phones
    7. paper diary
    8. cam­era
    9. many books
    10. heavy brief­case full of files
    11. radio/iPod
    12. video cam­era
    13. audio recorder
    14. fax machine
    15. scan­ner
    16. pocket sub­way maps, includ­ing for places I travel
    17. bunch of mem­ber­ship cards, like Star­bucks, United, and Marriott

Just think. Before smart­phones there where whole economies around these things.

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  1. Andrew Meyer says


    inter­est­ing list and I agree with you. The result of that is, if peo­ple are won­der­ing where all the mid­dle class jobs have gone or why unemployment/underemployment is so high, doesn’t that sort of answer the question?

    I’m think­ing low cost phones/tablets/computers have elim­i­nated many more jobs than outsourcing/off-shoring. And you didn’t men­tion TV’s (I’ve got­ten rid of both the TV and cable), stereos, home enter­tain­ment cen­ters, walk­mans, etc. not to men­tion all the factories/trucking/shipping/management etc. that goes along with those industries.

    Andy Kessler wrote a fun and read­able book a cou­ple years ago called “Eat Peo­ple” ( His hypoth­e­sis was that if you want to make money and change the world, invent things that elim­i­nate jobs.

    Apple, Google, MSFT, Ama­zon, Wal­Mart etc. all have one thing in com­mon, they have elim­i­nated vast swaths of busi­nesses and jobs. How expen­sive is it to short Best Buy?

    BTW, I’ve started tak­ing some Cousera courses ( Absolutely fan­tas­tic. If you work at a uni­ver­sity right now, you’ve got to be pretty ter­ri­fied. Some­where I was read­ing about Clay­ton Chris­tensen say­ing that Har­vard no longer teaches account­ing. There’s noth­ing that dif­fer­en­ti­ates a Har­vard accoun­tant. (snide Wall St com­ments aside…). Uni­ver­si­ties, as we knew them, become vastly dif­fer­ent in the next 5 years.

    My point is, I think you’re absolutely right and the changes aren’t end­ing any time soon. End user tech­nol­ogy, like your phone, busi­ness appli­ca­tions and infra­struc­tures and the improved man­age­ment tech­niques made pos­si­ble by them, cou­pled with outsourcing/off-shoring have elim­i­nated whole classes of jobs.

    The ques­tion is, what will remain?

    Direct ser­vice jobs (plumbers, builders, etc.), sales, high skilled design, account­ing (with far fewer peo­ple), senior level oper­a­tions managers/experts and sophis­ti­cated IT, though far fewer of them than we have now.

    And then you look at Heinz being pur­chased by Buffett/G3, I’ll bet you 1/3 of their staff will be laid off in the next two years. I use Bud­weiser as my exam­ple. That’s pretty much what G3 did after they pur­chased them. Great busi­ness if you have cap­i­tal and a will­ing­ness to cut jobs.

    It’s a brave new world.

    Take care and hope­fully we’ll get a chance to chat soon.

  2. says

    Exactly Andy, and you don’t even men­tion the chal­lenge with find­ing new doctors.

    Peo­ple are on their own more than ever, and those that think they can fol­low a tra­di­tional career path are not think­ing it through.

  3. Andrew Meyer says

    Oh, for a cou­ple pints of beer and a few hours, what an inter­est­ing discussion.

    Hope­fully the move is going well and the fam­ily is happy in the new surroundings.

    Miss­ing you,


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