From Ownership to Accessing

In 2016, Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired Magazine, wrote The Inevitable, a book about 12 technological forces that according to Kelly will shape our future.

One of these forces is Accessing. “Possession is not as important as it once was. Accessing is more important than ever”, writes Kelly. “Pretend you live inside the world’s largest rental store. Why would you own anything? (…) Instant borrowing gives you most of the benefits of owning and few of its disadvantages. You have no responsibility to clean, to repair, to store, to sort, to insure, to upgrade, to maintain.” Also, “the switch from ‘ownership that you purchase’ to ‘access that you subscribe to’ overturns many conventions. A subscription (…) gushes a never-ending stream of updates, issues, and versions that force a constant interaction between the producer and the consumer. It is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing relationship.”

This trend benefits from dematerialization–for example, the shift in industries like music, video, video gaming, books, etc. from packaged goods to streaming or downloads. It also demands low friction, and real-time or near real-time access. More importantly, the shift to accessing does not only apply to software and services, but also to physical goods, all along the value chain.

Learning how the shift from ownership to accessing will affect our business is key. Years ago, Bill Gates recognized that the products Microsoft made would become obsolete in three years. “The only question,” said Gates, “is whether we will make it obsolete or someone else will1.”

  1. cfr Maxwell, John C.. Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 (Developing the Leader Series) (p. 75). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition. ↩︎

accessing Kevin Kelly trends

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