50 Dead Products and How to Stay Off This List

50 Dead Products and How to Stay Off This List

Will your business go the way of the dinosaur? Of course not will be your answer. That’s the same answer producers of the fax machine, the office binder or the yellow pages gave years ago. There just might come a day though that your product might be a thing of the past.

When the rate of change outside is more than what it is inside,
be sure that the end is near.
[Azim Premji]

Here’s a list of 50 dinosaur products and services on the verge of going extinct soon or even already gone for some time:

  1. Amateur radio.
  2. Answering machines.
  3. Bank affiliates.
  4. Bar soap.
  5. Board games.
  6. Bookstores.
  7. Boombox
  8. Business cards.
  9. Car keys
  10. Cassette tape.
  11. Coin-operated arcades.
  12. Classified ads.
  13. Dial-up internet access.
  14. DVD player.
  15. Encyclopedia.
  16. Fax machine.
  17. Film rolls.
  18. Floppy disk.
  19. Incandescent light bulb.
  20. Key punch cards.
  21. Matchmakers
  22. Milkman.
  23. Movie rental stores.
  24. Office binders.
  25. Pager.
  26. Paid pornography (Playboy).
  27. Pay phones.
  28. PDA’s (personal digital assistants).
  29. Personal checks.
  30. Pinball machines.
  31. Phonebook.
  32. Polaroid photo.
  33. Printed road maps.
  34. Property rental agents.
  35. Record stores.
  36. Small portable tv’s.
  37. Smoking in bars.
  38. Stamps.
  39. Stand-alone GPS units in cars.
  40. Stand-Alone bowling alleys.
  41. Subway tokens.
  42. Telemarketing.
  43. Travel agency shops.
  44. Typewriter.
  45. TV news.
  46. VHS-tapes.
  47. VCR player.
  48. Walkman.
  49. Wall telephones.
  50. Yellow pages.

There was a nice overview in the Huff Post on products and services that the Facebook generation will never start to buy, just because they lost interest, like:

  1. Televisions, because they are hooked to the internet.
  2. Desktop computers, because they are hooked on tablets and laptops.
  3. Cigarettes, because they are dropping the habit.
  4. Landline phones, because they use cell phones.
  5. Cars, because they lost interest in owning one.
  6. Newspapers, because they get news via their social media.
  7. Beer, because they prefer low alcohol ones.
  8. Email, because it’s too slow and too formal.

This list of 50 (nearly) dinosaur products is a call for action. Do not stand still in this fast paced business environment. As a business leader, look for ways to innovate your product – or device portfolio in time.

Now you can’t innovate your company alone. You need a lot of people to make change happen. Your board, bosses and colleagues will only stick out their necks for innovation if doing nothing is a bigger risk. So you can break the status quo and create momentum for innovation by making them nervous that doing nothing is indeed a big risk. How? Identify key persons in your company and confront them personally with concrete reasons for change that will move them out of their comfort zone. Here are 5 tips for you to keep your company off this list by raising awareness for change in time.


  1. Take key persons to Tech Universities to see experiments with new technologies.
  2. Take key persons to visit start-ups challenging your market.
  3. Invite a known trend watcher to confront key persons how quick the world is changing.
  4. Spam key persons with articles of new successful business models;
  5. Arrange meetings for key persons with teenagers to ask them what they think of your brand, products and services.

People in your company will say yes to innovation as soon as they get the insight that doing nothing is an even bigger risk.

Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. 

By Gijs van Wulfen

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