A while back when I wrote about "Content in a digital era", I touched briefly on the idea of unbundling. It's not a novel idea, I am pretty sure you have heard of it before, in one form or the other. The more interesting aspect is what it means and the doors of opportunities it opens up.
This historical premise of bundled content/commodity has a lot to do with the ownership of resources for production and distribution. Thanks to the digitization and accessibility to a decent internet infrastructure, a lot of those age old constraints have been lifted.
Publishing and music are obviously the first of the many age old institutions to feel the repercussions of this transition. iTunes and now apps like Spotify & Rdio let you buy songs instead of albums, an idea that would have easily made you a subject of mockery, a few years ago. News apps, social media and more importantly the web makes it possible to read that one article from the New Yorker without having to subscribe to the entire magazine publication.
But those are only two of many other institutions waiting to be deconstructed and unbundled. We are already starting to see the cracks show up in the TV industry, most recently with Netflix's House of Cards and in general with the rising population of cable cutters. You do not need to pay a monthly fee to watch your favorite shows. Education is at the cusp of a massive transformation thanks to the unbundling of a traditional degree into individual courses.
So why am I talking about all this? Probably because I think there is a huge window of opportunity there. Telephone carriers, food, banking etc are many of the other monolithic organizations where we do not even know what this unbundling would necessarily look like.
Another amusing side effect is that while all this granular choice is great for many consumers, it is also a bit too much for some. So it makes sense for a host of new companies to show up who focus around "re-bundling" of these atomic units for your convenience while adding heterogeneity to the mix. Radio apps for music, Curated content blogs, box subscriptions of goods are the flip side of this transition.
So when thinking of something that tries to change a whole industry, this is an interesting lens through which to look at the problem. Are you the one unbundling or the one re-bundling the atomic units. Either way, welcome to the great age of unbundling.