The state of Kentucky has 120 counties. It has so many because the idea was that you should be able to make it to the county seat and back in a single day. That speaks to how isolated people used to be.
Likewise, the Galapagos Islands are known for their diversity, in part because the islands are so isolated. That isolation provided the opportunity for species to evolve on their own.
I’ll bet that businesses that began from 1900-1950 were more varied than businesses that started from 1950-2014. I suspect that the growth of franchises has radically reduced the diversity of businesses. Drive around almost any city in the U.S. and you’re likely to see the same cookiecutter chains that you could see in almost any other city. The disruptive advent of the car brought all sorts of new opportunities, but it also encouraged a monoculture of franchise businesses.
The web has been an amazing invention. On one hand, you could create a website and instantly reach a worldwide audience. That disruption has created a ton of opportunities that are still being explored. But I do wonder if connecting so many people to each other will lead to certain types of groupthink.
If connecting so many people ultimately leans toward less diversity of thought, that might prevent society from making faster progress or exploring new approaches to problems. Maybe that’s why many successful recent businesses have seemed crazy or contrarian at first blush?