Fighting Creative Destruction

paperWhat do you do if your product is obsolete and demand is shifting rapidly leftward?  The paper industry has a problem: digitization and environmental concerns.  To prevent further declines, the brand of paper our department uses has created a clever slogan (see the picture) — “Because it’s easier to learn on paper.”  I wonder what other examples there are of businesses using the market to maintain the demand for a product that is being displaced by technological change (as opposed to obtaining government protection, the usual route in these instances)?

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  1. Gene H says:

    Not a business per say, but any campaign (formal or informal) to create warm fuzzy’s regarding ANY teacher and their value in the classroom.

    I say that as a high school teacher who believes the profession must innovate or die.


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  2. majordawg says:

    We used to use a paper firm that had the slogan: “Paper for the digital world”.

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  3. Joost says: – This ad actually has a point :-) and paper has a great future.

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  4. Kazzy says:

    But is it easier to learn on paper?

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  5. steve cebalt says:

    It makes one respect how hard it must be for the Amish to sustain their culture.

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    • Mark says:

      There is more than a little coercion in maintaining that culture.
      These may interest.

      “The Amish: Shunned” (video documentary)
      ‘ “The Amish: Shunned” follows seven people who have chosen to leave their closed and tightly-knit communities for the outside world, knowing they can never return. Each has paid deeply for their decision. Estranged from loved ones, these former Amish find themselves struggling to make their way in modern America.’

      To Obey or to Stray: That is the Question
      Saloma Furlong
      February 04, 2014 (blog post)

      ‘The answer to these questions was clarified for me when an Amish man in “Shunned” talks about obedience to church rules. He says, “You lose obedience, you lose the church. Amen.” ‘

      Saloma Miller Furlong is author of two books,
      Why I Left the Amish
      Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds.

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  6. TexCIS says:

    As far as the environment is concerned, if the worry is about CO2, using more paper would be better. Young trees are faster growing and absorb more CO2 than old-growth forests. An increase in paper demand would cause more trees to be planted. When waste paper is buried in a landfill, the carbon is “sequestered.” Besides that, well-managed forests owned by paper companies are excellent habitat for wildlife.

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    • Steve Nations says:

      Don’t be so sure that young trees grow faster. This from January 15, 2014 LA Times:,0,5642959.story#axzz2qWIfI3cf

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    • Steve says:

      Also that paper carbon is only ‘sequestered’ temporarily. As the paper breaks down, carbon and methane (a GHG with 20x more effect than CO2) are released.

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      • James says:

        That depends on how you look at it. True, any individual piece of paper (or wood used for building, or even trees themselves) is transitory, but there is a ‘lump’ of sequestered carbon that exists. New pieces are continually added, old ones decay: maybe in a few weeks (e.g. toilet paper), maybe after a few centuries (the Bodleian Library).

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    • mrG says:

      Hemp fibre makes a superior paper product (Canadian money used to be made out of hemp, as were the pockets of the original Levi’s jeans) and gets three crops per year, so I’m sure the carbon sequestering of that would be quite advantageous.

      and I don’t *know* mind you, but I been *told* that if you expose the buds to CO2 at the right point that the ol’ hemp plant just kind of laps it up eagerly and greatly increases the quality and price of the *ahem* other products. they’d know more about this in Colorado I expect.

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  7. modfather says:

    High street travel agency – used to be a one stop shop for holidays, now reducing economies of scale, becoming increasingly reliant on an ever decreasing market of those untrusting/unknowing of the web. What have they got to cling on to? Possibly better performance coming still from foreign currency margins they dont ‘yet’ have to compete on directly with online providers – due to understandable widespread consumer uncertainty of having lots of cash delivered on time/at all in the mail (at least in the UK anyway) – albeit still surely a decreasing market.

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  8. Voice of Reason says:

    “You can’t hack paper.”

    “The cloud is forever, paper is as long as you want it to be.”

    “Paper: just a shredder away from freedom.”

    “Paper is its own encryption.”

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