Looking back over the past 200 years of human innovation, it’s easy to focus only on the winners.  General Motors, American Airlines, Hewlett Packard, Macy’s – giants in their respective industries.  However, these corporations were not always so dominant.  Largely what we see today are the companies who survived the fray of early industry development.  It’s important to remember that every new industry goes through a period of rapid growth, maturity, and then consolidation.  It’s not easy to make it through, but success is in store for those who weather the storm.

Researching today, I’m in absolute awe over the sheer number of companies in each industry that did not make it.

There are 31 defunct airlines in the United States

There are around 50 defunct railroad companies in each state

There are 169 defunct computer companies in the United States

There are 238 defunct department stores in the United States

There are 684 defunct car companies in the United States

Time marches on.

Happy Memorial Day!

On Industry Consolidation
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  • It’s sort of why I think examining why companies failed is more informative than why they succeeded.
    At the very least, your sample size is larger.