When I was a child, all my favorite toys were wooden,
painstakingly carved by artisans who ran the store near my home. I
cherished them. Today those kinds of toys are all but gone, and
that business model is no longer viable in the mass market.
In the age of Toys R Us and endless plastic of Lego and Hasbro,
indie toy making has all but disappeared from the mainstream. So
have many music and book shops in the face of Amazon and
mom-and-pop shops in the shadow of Walmart.
Customers, by and large, decided we’d rather have an endless
supply of cheap than we would a few precious pieces and the market
I recently spoke to some app developers — names many people would
recognize — and this was the same realization they communicated
to me. They didn’t want to speak on the record because they feared
the community would have little sympathy for their views, but
asked that I relate them.
To them, the mainstreaming of computing technology has led to a
similar mainstreaming of apps. When only a few could afford Macs,
software was held in high value and esteem. Now there are millions
of apps on millions of phones and tablets made by millions of
developers, accessibility is near-universal and scarcity is a
thing of past.