Personally, I believe the trend toward disposability really started accelerating with the DVD.
I swear I can go to my mother-in-law's house, grab a recording of Ghostbusters from 1987, plug it in her VCR, and enjoy Bill Murray for the 75th time.
A DVD? It seemed like you watched the disc only three times before it started to deteriorate.
Of course, we've moved on from DVDs, but the trend toward disposability is still here.
Frustratingly, price appears to have no relationship to durability. Razor blades from the grocery store might cost as much as $5 a blade and last a month. And after two years, my phone, no matter how much I spend on it, seems to completely fall apart.
A passion for doing the opposite, for building a product that lasts, is one reason founder Andrew Davidge started Vintage Electric Bikes in his garage in 2013. Davidge's creations received immediate attention. The company's electric bikes, designed to look like vintage motorcycles, have been featured on CNN and Jay Leno's Garage.
(And the bikes are fun. Full disclosure: I discovered the company when I became a customer. I purchased a Vintage Electric Scrambler, the company's 1970s dirt bike-inspired creation, and I use it as a daily commuter to and from my office.)
The company has received more than just media attention.
In the past four years, Vintage Electric Bikes has grown to 12 employees and moved to an 11,000-square-foot production facility. The company plans to expand further and will grow to a staff of 20 by the end of 2017. The addition of Scott Brown as CEO, a mechanical engineer and bicycling industry veteran, has been another step in the company's development.
Worldwide, the growth of the electric bike market continues to surge, and by 2025 analysts are predicting global sales of roughly $25 billion. Though the market is driven primarily by sales in Europe and Asia, analysts see opportunity in the American market, too.
And so does Vintage Electric.
"We design and build our bikes so they can be ridden hard every day, and everything we design is done with an upgrade mentality," said Eddie Johnson, the company's Head of Sales and Development. "Wherever possible, our very first customers should be able to bolt our newest tech onto their bikes with a simple set of tools. We think this is a radically different approach, and we believe it will help us gain domestic market share and further expand our presence in the global market."
The company's passion for its product and a rapidly growing global market for electric bikes should help Vintage Electric Bikes achieve its goals.
And they'll be able to do it without the founder sending a product-destroying signal from beyond the grave every time there's an upgrade.
(Looking at you, Apple.)