The idea would have been laughed at, if presented 15 years ago, that a lone law professor in his Knoxville, Tennessee, could generate as much or more traffic as most magazines achieve and for only a fraction of the cost.
But the advent of the Internet and the simple technology and presentation of blogs has allowed Glenn Reynolds to do just that. He didn't need to write the Internet himself. He didn't need to write his blog's technology. Instead, it's available, and so he can make use of it. And as a result, Professor Reynolds and many, many other web sites are, in effect, incoming-generating businesses that chip away at the marketshare of today's mainstream media.
eBay - same thing. Online shopping portals - same thing. I can go to Froogle.com (Google's online shopping site) and buy at a price lower than I can find locally, and usually with cheap shipping. Competition is spread as wide as there are people with computers and a connection.
So 15 years from now, how laughable would it be if, following the notion of easily available technology, more institution-chipping eras begin. As blogs continue to hammer away at mainstream journalism, not in terms of critique, but in terms of choice for the audience, let me throw out a scenario... apply this to any industry where it seems fitting.
What if financial services were available in a mechanism/medium like this? If the technology were readily available, why couldn't the 50-ish couple on the corner start their own online financial services and compete with the big guns?
Seem laughable? Really? I think every service industry that can be performed adequately from afar is vulnerable to this decentralized model. Exemptions would be like nursing and teaching. But legal services? Banking? If it's not a physical product and it doesn't require high and immediate touch, it's possible.