Doing Business Before Email

My friend Jordy was cleaning out some old desk drawers and came across this today

Euclid business card

I met Jordy in 1991, the year Euclid invested in the business he and his partner Ronny started, Upgrade Corporation Of America. I wrote a blog post about the important lesson those guys taught me fairly early in my career.

There is no way Jordy could have had my business card prior to 1991, so that tells me I did not have an email address at that time. I recall Steve Case handing out AOL floppy disks at some tech conference I went to in 1991 or 1992, so I think I got AOL email around that time. I still keep my AOL email address for old times sake. I am fredwilson at AOL and because of that, I am fredwilson at most every online service you might find me on.

In any case, you can see from my business card that in 1991, business was done largely on the phone. Within five years, business had largely moved to email, at least my business had.

I rarely use the phone anymore. I will use Skype or Hangout for a group meeting. I will still call into conference call bridges from time to time. But the vast majority (I suspect well north of 90%) of my business dealings are done via email. Which makes them much more discoverable (as Albert points out in his post today).

I don’t miss doing business by phone. We got less done, learned less, and moved slower. I realize there are many who might long for that pace of business. But I don’t.