What if email was invented before the telephone? It would have been viewed as a ‘reasonably’ innovative business tool. Better than traditional mail certainly. Also better than a telegraph message.  We would have become quite reliant on it given the advantages it has over other forms of written communication.


Imagine if the phone came next, after email. Imagine the conversations we would have had as we spread this idea and new product virally…. just stop and imagine for a second what the conversation might have been like the first you were told about ‘the telephone’:


“There’s this amazing new service called a telephone! It’s a killer app. So cool. Each phone can be directly connected to another phone just by dialing numbers. Then, you can have a discussion with the person at the other end – in real time. A live conversation. No back and forth required. No confusion in what the written words mean. You can hear peoples emotion… It’s really great. You’ve got to get one. It’s so much better than email!”


So why are we emailing people when we can call them? Is it but covering, fear of direct conversation, laziness?


Startup blog says. Call first, communicate directly. Pretend the phone is the new technology.




  1. I can send 10 emails in the time it takes to have one phone call, most of the time. When you call someone there is normally the “how was your weekend?” chatter while on email you normally don’t get that.

    The same goes for instant messaging really. On a text chat program you can chat with 5-6 people at once while if you open up something like Skype you can only really have one conversation at once, unless it is a conference call.

  2. Ross, its all about context really. Email and IM are both very handy. They too have advantages as you mention.

    But when you’re selling your start up, engaging someone to do business with you, and trying to build a relationship, somethimes the chatter is the cost of entry. it’s the soft stuff which makes the transactions possible. It’s not about us, it’s about them.

    The question is really – what is more engaging… another email in the inbox or a conversation?

    Thanks for the input Ross.. Steve.

  3. The fact that multiple text “conversations” can occur simulantaneously is also a downside when you’re trying to gets someone’s undivided attention. Of course, this is astill an issue with telephones (they can be reading messages at the same time)… hence I am thinking of developing a more direct form of conversation – I might call it “meeting someone face-to-face”. Do you think it’ll fly?

  4. Given that morse code can be tapped out faster than an SMS, perhaps that will be the next logical step, and then we will have come full circle.

  5. I think it’s just the fact that emails are faster and efficient but there’s a few downfall to it…the more glaring one would be communication in terms of conveying the message in the right context. Good example would be when person A writes and email intending it to be funny but Person B who receives it take offense to it 😉

    So yes, if it’s going to be important and/or personal, my vote is for the telephone just to make sure that both are on the same page 🙂

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