Point of demand

Point of demand


Using the rise and fall and rise again of the national public radio system as an example, Kaihan Krippendorff explains why a “betting on the past” strategy has caused the downfall of giants.

In March of 2008, the United States’ national public radio system (NPR) seemed to have a fatal and too common choice: to bet on the past rather than the future. It’s the kind of decision that has initiated the fall of many once-great companies: Toys “R” Us, Polaroid, Borders, Macy’s, RadioShack, and BlackBerry, to name a few.

The pattern often begins with a shift in the “point of demand” that the incumbent chooses to ignore. BlackBerry ignored that the point of demand of mobile phones was shifting from IT managers to working consumers who started to demand they be allowed to bring their own devices to work. For innumerable retailers it was the shift from stores to online. For Polaroid and Kodak, it was the shift of demand from paper to digital.

When the point of demand shifts, some companies cling hopefully to the possibility demand will shift back. Others follow the point of the demand, shifting how they produce and deliver value.

By 2008, NPR had been following an historical shift in how people were consuming radio. As podcasts started taking off, NPR was early to the game. They had launched their podcasts three years earlier, offering a collection of nearly 200 programs. They quickly could claim 5 million downloads. When an NPR fan, a college student, launched an NPR Facebook page in 2008, NPR quickly took over its management.


Key points in this article include:

  • The shifting point of demand
  • Walking the line between innovation and tradition
  • How media consumption has evolved over time
  • The spectrum of NPR’s strategy


Read the full article, How NPR Leapt Forward in Proximity, on the Outthinker website.