These are two remarkable facts about our modern world. One is that it is incredibly amazing, and the other is that we’re incredibly blasé about that amazingness. Our attitude is just boring ho-hum. It takes effort to step back and realize how astonishing our world is — even compared to only a couple of decades ago. I think it would do us good to pause once in a while and admire what humans have been able to achieve in a relatively short period.
Here I will point out a little bit of that amazing stuff that I experienced yesterday.
Prakash, a friend in Mumbai, sent me this message on whatsapp — an amazing way to communicate instantaneously. Alright I will stop using “amazing” because it’ll get repetitious. Just note that all this is amazing.
Note the time — 1:19 PM my time.
Prakash, sitting in Mumbai, ordered a relatively obscure item (not an everyday household item) from a store in the US. The order was placed at 1:45 PM my time.
At 10:47 PM, Prakash sent me message saying the order had been delivered. It look only nine hours for Amazon to deliver the package. But there was a problem. It was not at my front door.
So Prakash forwarded the picture that the delivery person took when he/she delivered the package.
I realized what had happened: the delivery person had delivered it to the wrong address.
So there you have it. What happened is note worthy. Just a couple of decades ago, this would not have been remotely (pun intended) possible. Prakash would have written to me or made an expensive international call; then I would have gone to some store (Fry’s or Circuit City), asked them to order me the item, the item would have arrived at the store or mailed to my address in about a week or 10 days, etc.
It would have taken a trip to a store — time and money spent. It’s what economists call “transaction costs”. Moreover, it would have taken at least 10 days but now it took all of nine hours, and practically zero transactions cost.
Amazon is amazing, and so are many other modern enterprises that we take for granted and use without a second thought. A dear friend of mine mispronounces ‘Amazon’ consistently. He calls it “amaze-on” instead of “ama-zon.” Perhaps his pronunciation suits the company better. It is time we kept our amazement on instead of off.
The question that should interest is why were we able to achieve the amazing stuff. That question I will answer in a follow-up post on request. Maybe.