As a part of our recent northeast Georgia exploration, we visited Leslie, GA, the home of the world’s largest telephone museum! The museum is amazing and is, without question, the largest facility in Leslie and maybe in all of Sumter County.
Seeing Alexander Graham Bell’s first phones dating back to 1876 took Donna Lee and I down memory lane. We both remember operator assisted (“One Ringy Dingy”) calls on shared party lines. While I was in the Army, I called Donna Lee from a pay phone. Do you remember payphones? Citizen Telephone Company across the street from the museum reminds us that there’s still a role for hardline phones. Our son, Loren's best friend Chris was a design artist for Yellow Pages’ ads. That job no longer exists!
There are no mobile phones in the museum. It documents land line phones, cultural progress and improved mobility from the beginning until today. I'm dictating this blog on the only phone I use these days. I took pictures to send to my brother Bruce (who retired after 25+ years of working for the phone company) with the same phone and used it to navigate to the museum.
I never use a hard line anymore. After Bell’s break up in 1983 and competition was introduced, lots of things changed. Can you remember when your folks only made long distance phone calls on weekends when rates were lower? I can.
I remember my first mobile phone, installed in the trunk of my 1972 Chrysler New Yorker, the most expensive Chrysler you could buy. I paid $4,200 for the car, the phone cost $2,100. All the calls were operator assisted, each call cost 25 cents per minute. Thinking of this in today's dollars, can you imagine paying half the cost of a new Chrysler ($20,000.00) for a telephone and $.50 a minute for each use of your cell phone? My mobile phone was certainly not a toy for me. I found it added more productivity to my company than adding another salesperson would have.
We think things as constant. It’s hard to imagine the world children and grandchildren will grow up in. They already have access to the archives of the world’s greatest libraries.
Our challenge today is to be sure the technology we have adds to the quality of our lives and improves our stature. I encourage you to equip your team with the most up-to-date tools possible and train them to use that equipment to its full potential. Remember nothing stays the same.
The benefit you will gain is staying relevant and ahead of the game.
—Larry W. Dennis, Sr. President Turbo Leadership Systems