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On Collaboration, E-Mail, and the Discman

A parallel between antiquated tools.
Jun | 14 | 2021

Jun | 14 | 2021

If you’re of a certain age, then you remember the Sony Discman. (Yes, showing my students a picture of one never ceased to bewilder them.) I’ll assume that you don’t. It looked like this:

I could explain what it did (or still does if you own one), but I’ll cede my time to the inimitable Gary Gulman.

Oddly, I’ve been thinking more and more about these technological relics as I do press, speaking, and consulting around the new book.

Let me explain.

It’s been two decades since you’d regularly see people exercising with Discmen. The launch of the iPod in 2001 caught Sony off guard—the company has never really recovered. For some reason, however, far many of us “collaborate” via e-mail when affordable, user-friendly, and powerful internal collaboration hubs exist.

It makes no sense.

Simon Says

In 2021, you wouldn’t rely upon a Discman while getting your sweat on. Far better alternatives are available. The same holds true with e-mail for collaboration. 


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