25 years of carefree frivolous fun

I’m with Mr Russell Davies when it comes to this global financial situation: there is a definite lack of perspective in the reporting. What does this really mean long term? How does this crisis fit in with all the crises from financial history? Until the Black Swan Guy comes out with another book, will we really ever know? My feeling: it doesn’t matter.

Did you know it’s the 25th anniversary for the mobile phone here in the States? On October 13, 1983 the first mobile phone call was made on a Motorola DynaTEC 8000x from Soldier Field in Chicago. For perspective, here’s a life-size (for some value of “life size”) image of that phone:

DynaTEC phone

Nestled in next to it is an iPhone. Easy to miss, I know.

25 years ago, did anyone consider how the mobile phone would impact developing countries? Of course not—that Motorola phone retailed for $4000. But now farmers in India can control water pumps remotely using their cellphones. That’s a video btw, watch the guy hack his phone. Amazing.

Would a service like kiva.org be as successful if not for the availability of cheap mobile phones? “Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.” Cheap cellphones provide transparency into that process.

There was no predicting 25 years ago that a $4000 brick of technology would’ve enabled a new financial instrument, the micro-loan, to catch hold in developing countries.

I love history. Makes the present seem so shallow.

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