I recently searched for the term “Concorde moment” and did not find it. The term has appeared on Top Gear some years ago (though I can’t find the clip), probably mentioned by James May (who knows something about technology evolution) or Jeremy Clarkson (who certainly lamented the passing of the Concorde many times.) What “Concorde moment” means, essentially, is (as Clarkson says in the video below) “a giant step backward for mankind”.
The Concorde is still the fastest passenger jet ever made (3.5 hours from London to New York) and still the most beautiful one. In the end, it turned out to be too noisy, too polluting, and too expensive, never really making money. But it sure looked impressive. I never got to go on one, despite working in an international consulting company and jetting back and forth across the pond quite a bit. But my boss once bamboozled someone into bleeding for the ticket, and lived off the experience for a long time.
A Concorde moment, in other words, is a situation where a groundbreaking technology ceases to be, despite clearly being (and remaining) best in class, for reasons that seem hard to understand. Other examples may include
- the Palm Pilot with its Graffiti shorthand system, once used by businesspeople all over the world (and by my wife to take impressive notes in all her studies)
- the Apollo space program – we last went to the moon in 1972, with Apollo 17, and have not been back since. 45 years without going back has resulted in some impressive conspiracy theories, but again, the lack of any scientific or economic reason for going there is probably why it hasn’t happened.
- the Bugatti Veyron, at least according to Top Gear. Personally, I find the announced new Tesla Roadster much more exciting, but, well, everyone is entitled to an opinion.
- and, well, suggestions?