Many years ago, I woman I knew said she wanted to introduce me to a guy she was dating. He wanted to do something in television and maybe I could help.
So she took me uptown to an old townhouse on Riverside Drive in the 100s.
The walls were painted pink, there were mounted animal heads, massive furniture, and in the back, in the kitchen, I had a cup of coffee with Jim Rogers.
Today, you can see Jim Rogers on Fox News all the time. He got his TV show. Then, who ever heard of Jim Rogers. At least, I had not. He was just about to release his first book, Investment Biker, about his trip around the world on a motorcycle.
Jim Rogers was for many years partner and co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros. Rogers’ particular genius was the ability to look at an event and understand the consequences for markets almost immediately. “Take Chernobyl” he told me. When the reactor at Chernobyl went critical, the first thing he did was…. buy potato futures. “It was obvious that the Russian potato crop, which grows around where the reactor was, would suddenly be rendered useless. Potato futures would skyrocket”. And they did.
I tell you this story in some ways in response to yesterday’s posting The Handwriting on the Wall.
Certain events and certain technologies make change inevitable.
Like extremely high quality small cameras that cost $2000.
Many people wrote yesterday saying ‘but the BBC still uses big cameras’, and so on.
Well, of course they do.
Because a change is inevitable (as I believe this one is), it does not mean it happens overnight.
But it happens.
I am no Jim Rogers (if only). But I think I have been in this business long enough to be able to understand what is going to happen here in the long run.
We are at the convergence of three very long-term technological arcs. Cameras are always getting better, cheaper and easier to use. Edits are always getting better, cheaper and easier to use. Were these the only two events, then the introduction of this new technology might be an option – maybe I like it, maybe I don’t. It is, however, the third trend which is driving the larger event. As the web goes to video, (and as the web drains both viewers and advertising dollars from broadcast and cable, not to mention newspapers), the demand for video product is exploding.
As the demand for video product explodes, the price anyone can or will pay for that video product begins to be driven downward. Video increasingly moves from being something ‘special’ to being a commodity in an increasingly competitive world. And, as more and more people buy the inexpensive equipment and become better and better at making video products, the competition self-perpetuates and as volume goes up, price comes down.
It’s the market at work.
It doesn’t mean it happened yesterday.
And it doesn’t mean it will happen today….
but you can bet that it will happen tomorrow.
Just ask Jim.
He sold his house in New York and moved to Singapore.
He must know something the rest of us don’t know – or just don’t want to see.