Consumer Shared Computer Network (CompuServe)

CompuServe is the first computer network targeted towards ordinary people though it did not start out that way. Background Jeff Wilkins sold burglar alarms. His father-in-law ran a small insurance company and needed to buy a computer. However, the DEC model he wanted had far more computing power than his father required. Wilkins realized he […]

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing identifies genetic patterns, including irregularities. In 2019, genetic testing is typically used to search for abnormalities and susceptibilities. However, new treatments under development target the specific traits of patients or disease. These treatments attack and cure at the genetic level. In addition, genetic testing is entertaining. People find unknown relatives or trace family […]


Aerosols are essentially fog. They’re water-based micro-drops suspended in a gas, which is usually air. In 1926, Norwegian Erik Rotheim developed the first aerosol sprayer. Eventually, he applied for Norwegian and US patents and worked towards commercialization. First, he worked towards aerosolizing paints and varnishes but customers showed no interest. Subsequently, he continued looking for […]

35-millimeter Photography

35mm film remained the standard for photography for decades until digital photography. The film is important because it enabled the miniaturization of cameras. Background The Houston brothers invented roll film and sold the rights to George Eastman. Eventually, Thomas Edison purchased 70mm roll film from Eastman to make movies. Subsequently, Edison employee William Dickson sliced […]

Modern Advertising

Before Albert Lasker advertisements tended to be crude, raising awareness or reinforcing a brand name. Many ads were not much more than offers to purchase something, with no overarching idea. Lasker used the emerging science of psychology and budding technology of radio to radically change advertising. Background Born in Germany, Lasker moved to the US […]

Strategically Addictive Drugs

Background Cigarettes are addictive. However the availability of tobacco around the world, in the early 1800s, limited them as a mass-market item. Even the largest wind-powered ships contained limited space. Filling ships with enough tobacco to addict a whole country was not viable during this period. However, another product did fill this role, opium. Tobacco […]

Modern Management (Wedgwood)

Modern management, marketing, and high-end sales to ordinary people make pottery company Wedgwood a management innovator. Pottery dates back to ancient times. Fragments of pottery in China date back 20,000 years. Since then, for the most part, wherever archeologists find people they also find pottery. Therefore, opening a pottery manufacturer, especially in the 1700s, intuitively […]

Computer Game

Background Early computers used punch cards to load programs and data into computers. The software was a stack of cards, each card one line of a program. Data input were cards on the top of the stack. Eventually, then the entire thing fed into a card reader. The reader read the stack, processed the data, […]

Social Network

When they’re not rigging elections, sowing discord, or amplifying hate social networks are a fun, simple, and convenient way to stay in touch. However, they suffer serious privacy issues under current implementations. Electronic social networks, in various forms, are older than Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The first online bulletin-board enabling people to chat and hang […]

Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

Digital Video Recorders (DVR’s) record digitally, to disk or flash memory, rather than analog recording to tape. This allows end-users to quickly fast-forward, rewind, and jump to a section of a recording rather than slowly searching. Tivo and ReplayTV both launched DVR’s at the 1999 Consumer Electronics Show. As they did with videotapes, broadcasters and […]