July 15th 2013, brings to an end the telegram services in India. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of young people, GenY, GenZ don’t even know what telegram means. And why would they? When communications industry has seen the fastest rate of change in the last two decades.
The telegram service was probably the fastest way to send information across the country at one point in time. The standard response to the postman coming over with a telegram was one of dread and fear. As almost always telegram would bring the news of loss or sickness of someone in the family. This is the first memory for many of us. Then comes the pink sheet of hastily made up short forms of words!
In today’s fast world much of these seem arcane. But there is no doubt that it reduced the time taken to convey important and urgent messages over long distances – and for many it was the only available option, as close as two decades ago. While the current generation will remember the existence of such a service, to many youngsters even the thought that this was an essential service can be surprising and shocking. Just as twenty years from now people wouldn’t believe we actually used floppy disk to transfer data.
Some thoughts that came to me as I mulled over this:
- Old always has to give way to the new
- Anything that is born must die
- Even for paradigm shifts in innovation to happen there has to be some incremental innovation
- Was Telegram the twitter of the non-internet era?
The lifespan of services and products is fast reducing. Which like all other things is both good and bad. Every single person has a lesson to learn from this. More so my dear entrepreneurial friends.
Learning to innovate is important and learning to let go to innovate further is even more important. The closure of the telegram service reinforces this message while serving as a reminder that there are some basic laws of the universe that always work on every single thing!