The Way We Were: Inventions That Changed Meetings

By Matt Swenson, May 6, 2016

In millennials’ short journey to adulthood, the list of what’s gone from irresistible to irrelevant is a reminder of how fast the world changes. Consider the difference 15 years have made, which can be summed up by one phrase: “There’s an app for that.”

THEN: Post-it notes. The ubiquitous yellow and pink tabs were mainstays as work reminders in offices and “kick me” notes in schools.
NOW: Evernote. This all-in-one app organizes entire workloads. As for the prank side, perhaps we’re better off without a replacement.

THEN:  LaserDiscs. Remember when record-size discs threatened to make VHS tapes go the way of dinosaurs?
NOW: Online streaming. “Jurassic World” is as easily watched using on-demand services, Amazon Prime and iTunes as it is on DVDs and Blu-rays.

THEN:  The Discman. In hindsight, these forecasted future hipsters.
NOW: Spotify. You don’t even see iPods anymore.

THEN:  MapQuest. The website changed the way trips were planned, much to the chagrin of AAA road maps.
NOW: Google Maps. Wireless chargers make real-time mapping more user-friendly than old-school GPS and direction printouts.

THEN:  Fax machines. Offices still eschew these noisy monstrosities that defied the odds by lasting nearly a half-century.
NOW: Dropbox. The option to send large files showed up seemingly overnight two years ago. Now, we can’t live without it—until something new comes along.

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