This isn't a one off pattern. The cycle of innovation / commoditisation repeats throughout our industrial history, following a surprisingly consistent pathway. Understanding this pattern is critical to anticipating the changes emerging in our industry today - whether that's the web, cloud computing or the future changes that 3D printing will bring.
* there are forcing strategies which companies can deploy i.e. use of open source, network effects etc.
* there are many counter strategies which companies can deploy i.e. use of patents, branding, legal system and ownership of lower orders of the value chain.
* linear activities tend to low margin but are stable whereas chaotic activities tend to high margin but are unstable. Creating a profitable and sustainable company requires a constant balance of both.
* the cycle is accelerating