We're living in an age of things being unbundled and rebundled by the internet. Take the idea of community; in the former bundle, people were closely connected to those with whom they were in physical proximity. In the new bundle, we might not know the neighbor who lives next door, but we're deeply connected to online communities of people all over the world who share a common interest. Social media is unbundling us from our proximate communities and rebundling us into likeminded, digital ones. There are other examples:
- Old bundle: Records and CDs.
- New bundle: Spotify and now NFTs
- Old bundle: 4-year degrees at prestigious universities on residential campuses
- New bundle: Free online courses, coding academies, education by Zoom
Journalism (many different bundles and rebundles here):
- Old bundle: professional journalists working under major mastheads
- New bundle: citizen journalists with smart phones and cameras
- Old bundle: fiat currencies for each country and currency exchanges between countries
- New bundle: global cryptocurrencies
Once I learned about this idea on this podcast with Balaji Srinivasan (a lengthy but outstanding listen), I started to see the pattern of unbundling-to-rebundling everywhere, and it has me thinking about the opportunities and threats this trend poses to major social change in the US. One example is portable benefits. In the old bundle, healthcare is tied to employment. In the new bundle, our benefits might travel with us, independent of a job. What examples of unbundling-to-rebundling are you seeing, and what are the threats and opportunities?