Creatively Avoiding Destruction

Last Updated Nov 19, 2008 11:17 PM EST

Doomed businesses aren't always. A nice reminder comes from Catherine Rampell's How Industries Survive Change. If They Do. Her piece looks at whether the American newspaper and auto industries might survive their current straits. She highlights other industries that once seemed headed for death but have managed to survive, in some cases by becoming luxury items (fountain pens, mechanical wristwatches) in others by finding new markets (radio, for one).

She also notes that Toyota's primary business was once making looms, Nokia's paper, and IBM's accounting equipment. Though she holds out only a little hope for her industry, newspapers.

  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.