Posts Tagged: Trunk



Why Wheeled Luggage Is Important

Image by flickr user Andrew Stawarz.

Ask yourself a quick question:

How long have suitcases, trunks and luggage existed for?

The answer – of course – is almost hopelessly elusive. Luggage, in some form, has been around since humans have been travelling.

Knowing when the first person slapped together an ancient ancestor of Samsonite is impossible to determine. But we can make a reasonable guess and assume luggage has been around for at least a few thousand years – probably more. I don’t think anyone would challenge that assertion.

Now ask yourself a second quick question:

When did someone decide to put wheels on luggage? The answer might surprise you.

Bernard D. Sadow holds the United States’ first patent for “Rolling Luggage” and it was issued in 1972. The so-called “Rollaboard” with telescoping handle, meanwhile, was invented in 1987 by Robert Plath.

In other words, what are arguably the two greatest innovations in the industry of personal material transport only occurred within the last 40 years – for a product/industry that’s existed for thousands of years.

Weirder still? Fashioning a wheeled trunk or suitcase requires little in the way of advanced mechanics, technology or know-how. It simply required wheels. Your 8 year old cousin could build one over the course of a Sunday afternoon. There’s no genius involved here.

I mention this solely to remind people how long change can take – and how utterly illogical the innovation process can be.

For every Google, Apple and Facebook that conquers the world in what seems like a heartbeat; there are those innovations, ideas and technologies that take (quite literally) millennia to come into being. Cable transit (to bring this back to home) has existed since at least 250 B.C. Strangely though, we’ve only started seeing it within the last generation as actual public transit.

The key is to understand the market conditions that (dis)favour your idea, technology or product and figure out if what you’ve got is wheeled luggage or Facebook. Likely, you’ve got something somewhere in between those extremes and it’s essential to understand how close to uptake the idea is – then plan your strategies and tactics accordingly.

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