Business is changing. But that’s always been the case. In the early 1800’s, American adventurers traveled by foot and covered wagon to the West in search of new opportunity. They left their families in New England with the understanding that they would likely never again speak to them.
But then technology changed the conversation.
The Pony Express allowed people living thousands of miles apart to stay in touch. Even though it would take as long as 6-8 weeks for a single letter to travel from coast to coast, the increased communication had a noticeable impact on social interaction.
The invention of the telegraph made an even bigger impact on the effectiveness of conversations. Through a series of dots and dashes passed along a thin electric wire, the same conversation that took weeks could be done in minutes. Business decisions could rapidly iterate. Answers to complex problems could be solved faster from locations all over the world.
The locomotive and a series of nationally interconnected railroad tracks allowed the conversation to be delivered in person. The businessman could travel right to the conversation and back home. Thousands of miles riding in first class.
The result on economic growth had a profound impact.
But then the telephone bridged the gap between intimacy and immediacy. Instead of needing to travel in person to hear the conversation, the handset delivered tone of voice and instantaneous decision-making ability. You could easily create the conversation, end the conversation, or avoid it all together.
The cellular phone fueled intimacy and accessibility. Then came instant messaging. With only a computer and a keyboard, you could get instant access to answers. Online bulletin boards only made access to answers more effective. Despite the crude, simplistic nature of the way the information was presented, the quality of the data was undeniable.
Websites structured data with imagering and videos, allowing persuasive conversations to be prepared ahead of time. Then came video messaging and Skype which made peer-to-peer communication fast and free.
And then it all came to the mobile phone. The conversation got supercharged.
So what’s the point?
Simply this. The conversation around business is always changing. Changing dramatically.
It always has been changing and it always will continue to change.
Business is always looking for ways to make the conversations more effective.
Stop worrying about the latest tools used to manage and create new conversations. The tools aren’t that important.
It’s the conversation that matters most.
What are you talking about?