Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let's be honest. Phones are toys

I have a close friend who worked in the City for many years. When we first met, which was just over twenty years ago, he told me he was an analyst. I asked him what he was analyzing. "Telecoms," he said. I asked him if that was big enough to be a field of its own. Surely it wasn't as big as steel or retail or chemicals or insurance. Obviously everyone had a phone and some people were getting these mobile ones but it still didn't seem substantial enough to qualify as its own industry.

I thought back to this yesterday when I was walking towards Kings Cross after the match. The day was sunny, the team had won and everyone was out on the streets doing something with their phone. Talking, texting, tweeting, checking the score, looking at video, sending each other elaborate jokes. What he should have said to me twenty years ago is that he was involved in the biggest step forward for the toy trade the world had ever seen. That would have been nearer the truth.


  1. Your view was actually revealed in a single sentence: "everyone was out on the streets doing something with their phone". They weren't - they were doing something with a handheld computing device of some kind. They're not phones any longer - and perhaps the visionaries in "telecoms" were the ones who foresaw that.

  2. I am inclined to think of Tom Sharpe's line spoken from the Dean to Skullion in Porterhouse Blue - "they may improve things Skullion but they rarely make them any better". Or, to put it another way as a lawyer friend or mine did, we had a life before mobile phones. I wonder if it is possible to undertake a cost/benefit analysis on the proliferation of mobiles?

  3. Following from Gerontius - soon the majority of people will be reading your writing via a toy.