When Sending Money Is Instant and Free

The electrical grid cut the time and cost of accessing reliable light to nearly zero.

Soon after, we found ways to use that instant and cheap energy source to power other aspects of our day-to-day lives. Radios, TVs, phones, appliances, computers, and even to our cars are powered by the electrical grid today. Light was the first application, but only just the beginning.

Air conditioning cut the time and cost of manipulating temperature to nearly zero.

Reliable temperature control enabled a mass migration to the southern US states, made long-distance food transport possible, improved food safety standards across America, and formed the foundation of the air circulation systems used in today's computer fans. Hollywood's golden age even coincided with the adoption of air conditioning systems in movie theaters across America.

The internet cut the time and cost of sending information to nearly zero.

It gave the world instant and free access to information, but that too was only just the beginning. The internet also enabled the long tail of low-value information exchanges that were never possible before, and at scale they now represent some of the world's largest businesses and industries.

The lesson?

When technology eliminates the time and cost required to perform a task, entrepreneurs find new ways to build products that weren't previously possible.

More specifically, these new innovations tend to leverage the free and instant nature of a technology to enable low-value use cases at a much higher scale than ever before. To explain further, let's use the internet as an example.