Ushahidi

Back in the olden days, after TV but before much of anything else, the pace of work life was different. If you wanted a document to get to someone fast, you sent it by messenger (there was a whole service devoted to getting stuff overnight to New York – by a person driving a car), or you “telexed” it. Secretaries typed those documents, just like in Mad Men, using lots of white-out. When the IBM Selectric came out, it seemed miraculous that it could store three pages.

Marketing research data was hand-delivered in huge binders. You analyzed it, copied numbers onto charts, and gave your report to the secretaries. Then you’d proof it, give it back, involving more white-out; and then walk it down the hall for Marketing’s approval. Finally, copies got made and put in internal mail, and it was on to the next report.

Now, of course, there are computers and Excel and instantaneous charts and e-mail and texting and tweets. Even faxes are old-fashioned.

I keep wondering what will seem old-fashioned in ten, or twenty, or fifty years. And how is it possible to speed things up even more?

Ushahidi, created in Kenya of all places, is going to change our lives all over again.

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