Sarah Drew at started me off on this.  Today is the 80th anniversary of the introduction of sliced bread, an invention that changed the way  we live to some degree, although probably not as significantly as some other innovations before or since.

Sarah started a post asking for suggestions of subsequent inventions that have had a significant impact on our lives and came up with her own “top ten”, which were:

  1. The Internet
    It’s come a long way from those 18k modems – remember how slow they were?
  2. The Microwave
    Popcorn in a jiffy!
  3. Email
    I’m thankful I don’t have 300 letters in my letterbox every morning.
  4. Concord
    Three hours to NYC. If only my next trip to our headquarters could be this way!
  5. MP3 Players
    These devices make running bearable.
  6. Penicillin
    Alexandre Flemming is still saving lives.
  7. The Mobile Phone
    No more having to go to the phone box!
  8. The Remote Control
    The ability to sit in one place after work can be a lifesaver.
  9. PG Tips
    Everyone knows I love a morning cuppa. I’ve even introduced it to our US office and have the team drinking it there!
  10. Advanced Search
    Finally, an efficient way for £50K+ earners to find £50K+ positions.

OK Sarah, I’ll allow you the last one in the name of marketing!  I added a few myself:

  1. CD/DVD. 1982 – I’ll never mourn the demise of floppies, but vinyl?  I’m not sure!
  2. Sun tan lotion. 1938 – The antidote to global warming?
  3. Derailleur gears. Original idea 1905, but the first real derailleur was 1937 – Where would we cyclists be without them?
  4. Brillo Pads. Patent 1913 launched 1917. You don’t realise how great these things are until you are in a countrry that doesn’t have them!
  5. Filofax. 1921 – I used one until the PDA emerged and was probably better organised then – which is why I don’t have time to add to this list.

However, I am a firm believer in the idea that you are only as good as your NEXT big idea.  So what’s yours?  Let me know what you think is going to be the next big thing!

Michael Weaver
September 1, 2008

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