I threw away a Christmas gift from my wife yesterday. Actually I did not throw it away, but I did put it out with the recycling (after I checked to make sure that it was appropriate for the paper recycling in my municipality). She got me a 2007 wall calendar from the series “Battlestar Galactica” (the new version, not the campy 1970s one that I loved so much as a child). Jodie does a great job finding gifts for me, especially if you know how awful I am to buy for (I am a strange combination of being very picky, a minimalist who does not want a whole lot, and a impulsive buyer who will just flat out buy something if I want it). I really appreciated the gift, because she knows how much I like Battlestar Galactica. The problem with it is that I have no use for a wall calendar, I never even hung it up in the 8 months that I have had it. As I type this I have 3 devices showing me the date right next to me and two of those can easily show me a calendar view (one just shows the current date). The marginal utility of these other devices is higher because unlike my Battlestar Galactica calendar, which shows only 16 months worth of dates, my computer and my cell phone can go out years in both directions (to verify this I looked up that Apollo 11’s Eagle Lunar Module landed on a Sunday).
There goes the date, what about the time?
When someone asks you: “What time is it?” What do you look at for the answer? I think if you are most people you look at your cell phone, your iPod or maybe your computer laptop that is open in front of you. I can’t remember the last time I saw somebody look at their wrist watch to tell time. I even saw somebody whip out their cell phone to check the time even though they had on a watch! I see increasingly fewer and fewer people wear watches, even though we as a society are becoming increasingly time obsessed. I myself have a small drawer full of some very cool watches that I never wear.
My thoughts: wristwatches will become jewelry
So I think the paper calendar is on its way out. Within a couple of years you won’t see that dedicated calendar store in your mall that appears around Thanksgiving and then disappears a couple days after New Years (after slashing prices to 75% off). I think the wrist watch will stick around for some time to come, but its main job will not be telling time, but rather it will be a status symbol. I don’t see either of these devices ever completely disappearing, after all you can still buy buggy whips.