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1. Genealogy of Visual Platforms: Why 2015 is so Significant

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Over the past two centuries, six visual media platforms have emerged that:

  1. invented new material to express visual information (content);
  2. produced new access points to distribute said material (processing);
  3. defined new audience contexts to embrace said access points (display);
  4. expanded all of the above yet maintained the essential core of preceding generations (continuity).

If all four criteria were satisfied, it turns out, the new platform fundamentally transformed how the majority of American households related to moving images in a relatively short timespan (photography is included as a predecessor to cinema, though it lacks inherent motion):


Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 12.07.28 PM



There’s a lot of notes I can send your way that explain how I eventually landed on these particular categories using these particular dates, but the real revelation of this emerged when I charted the relative rate of acceleration between platforms:


Not surprisingly, the chart reflects pretty healthy exponential growth, so I projected the algorithm forward to estimate what year the next platform should theoretically emerge to satisfy all four criteria listed above, and guess what? It’s 2015:


The characteristics of this next platform became more clear as I realized how cleanly these historic numbers fit into a cohesive statistical model, but that also describes the present-tense (because, speaking of, I want to reiterate, all of this perfectly anticipates the development / release of the Apple Watch, along with everything else we’ve been discussing over the past few years):


Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 12.09.28 PM


[reminder for trav: quantitative leaps vs. qualitative progress re iPhone vs iPad, etc]

So, 2015 is significant because it’s the origin year of the next visual platform.


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