Change is Good. (Or Maybe it’s Bad, but Anyway it Will Happen)

People have been buying wine for years. That will never change. But the times they are a changing, and it will be interesting to see how and when it changes and who will be hurt by it. Because if you don’t learn new ways to sell, the old ways may harm you in your old age.

Something similar happened once before to another industry. It was an industry I worked in for years, and one day, poof! It was gone. Here’s the story:

Once upon a time there was a big industry that employed lots of craftspeople (artists, really, in their own way) called the Typesetting Industry.

It employed a hundred billion people (well, quite a few anyway) in many cities, especially New York (the place I was most familiar with). The classified job listings in the Sunday NY Times specifically looking for typesetters was huge. (This was before Craig Newmark invented his list.) The ads just for typesetters took up many columns of tiny type (a job a typesetter had, by the way).  If you were even halfway good, you could work all the time plying your craft.

Then one day in 1984, the Mac, an Apple Laserwriter, and software called Pagemaker came knocking at the door. They hadn’t been invited to the party, but decided to attend anyway.

The typesetting industry laughed and laughed. “This is not how we set type, you puny little toy machine. We use big machines, with lots of code.”

Someone started up a magazine about this new fangled thing now called “Desktop Publishing.” And someone took their new Mac, their new Pagemaker, their new Laserwriter, and created a big ad for this magazine.

And it was the ugliest thing you ever saw. “Would You Believe We Created This Ad on a Mac?” the big headline of the ad said.

And everyone laughed. It was badly typeset. Wordspacing, linespacing, typography was awful. It was impossible to read. It needed to be laughed at.

But not for too long. Because hardware gets better, software gets better, and most of all, people get better. And over time, this new-fangled device started to take over the lower end of the market. Simple ads, resumes, flyers.

The quality of the work done on a Mac increased exponentially. And those in the type industry who didn’t get it, didn’t stay around much longer. And those who did, adapted, found a new business model, learned what was now needed in the marketplace.

So perhaps whatever else there is now and may be coming soon is not an ideal solution to replace a winery website or perhaps your current marketing strategy now. But it would be a mistake to ignore it.

If not now, then when? Pretty soon, actually. And even if it’s not great at first, people will learn how to use it better, and for some, it will be good enough for now.

One day wineries will wake up to the face that they may not need to spend money on software rental and maintenance. And then the companies that develop winery websites will either figure out how to extend their reach, how to offer additional services or they too will go the way of the typesetting industry.

Adapt or die, as they say. Adaptation takes time, dying happens all at once.






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