Every now and then while conducting business, someone will say “let me FAX that over to you.” When my station manager hears this, he cracks up, and we make jokes like the person just offered to send it over by carrier pigeon. It’s not really that funny but we take our jabs where we can. The truth is, the facsimile machine may be on its way out technologically, but the “run” it had in the United States as the communications “alpha dog” for many years is undisputed.
Of course, I wouldn’t feel so bad for the FAX, because on the evolutionary scale, it also pushed aside much of the business of the mail service, the courier service, and of course the telegram service, before it’s decline due in large part to electronic mail; yes, email. Even that’s showing signs of wear due to cellular communications, instant messaging, and interaction through social media, which by the way, is an expression I despise…LOL, LMAO…blah, blah, blah!
UPS which started as a bike messenger company in Seattle in 1907, and has an amazingly beautiful park (picture above), reintroduced bike messengers in selected cities in 2008. FedEx, and the U.S Postal Service also compete for not only larger packages, but “paper-based” documents that the FAX machine used to pump out all the time. As a side note, years ago, UPS and FedEx gave up certain delivery hubs in Europe because the Europeans would fall down laughing when some commercial would tell them “when it absolutely has to be there overnight!” The locals would head off and sit in the cafe for hours talking about the Americans insane sense of time, and priorities.
20 years ago, PJ and I were having a discussion about technology. He told me that inventors had so many new products that would inundate the future. He told me corporations had to hold back on them for several reasons. The first reason as a business, they like to sell model “A” and pay off their initial R&D and manufacturing production line costs before they introduce model “B or “C” which hopefully will show better profit margins having shed the big cost on model “A.” The second reason, and just as important he said was that people needed time to grasp the new technology. You can’t try to sell people electronic ignition if they’re only proverbial days away from a hand crank starting device on a model T.
Times have changed, and people are not the same. Technology and the companies that make it, have exploded in presence. New companies, and new products no longer wait, or lag the IBM’s and Apples to lead the way. This is also why companies release products that may have inherent faults, or recalls in their futures only to be reconciled latter. If the company doesn’t get the product out “now,” some competitors new model will make the other company’s product obsolete on arrival.
I was told through the grapevine that as technology pushes more bike messenger aside, many of those courier companies have gotten into the food delivery business. As funny as that may sound, one guy told me that there’s far more money delivering Sushi than lease agreements.