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A Small Step Forward is still Forward

Two years after Alexandar Graham was awarded his patent on the telephone, the worlds first commercial telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Connecticut. During that time there were only 21 subscribers. Being the first switchboard model, it held only 8 lines.

Soon after that switchboard was invented more people began to subscribe to the interconnecting lines. But there was a problem; the original switchboard could not handle the growing number of subscribers.
Thus begins the motivation to make improvements to a new-found technology which society has just been introduced to. The motivation to create a better switchboard, and the impetus to make alterations on the original design was not because the first switchboard was flawed but because its adoption rate increased. And so – yes – the evolution of the switchboard happened, but there’s a larger point.

At the time of the original switchboard, many people (small minded, I think), could have easily said:

“See how inefficient this technology is for our society? It can only hold 8 lines!”

And yet, without the foundation which the first switchboard provided, further alterations would not have been possible. Technology has a way of being easily criticized by those unable to understand its “infancy stages”. Those who look forward, however, see a much brighter future that stands upon the foundations of previous technology – regardless of how small that foundation is – and which pushes innovation forward, regardless of how small that push is.

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