I've heard rumours that there was a time without email, being fully reliant on postal services, bank clerks and handbooks. Scary!
I don't really read a lot of business books or memoirs, but when I do, I often treat it as a history lesson, rather than a business lesson.
About a week ago I started reading Phil Knight's "Shoe Dog" (the history behind Nike). Phil Knight was born right before WWII in 1938 and started his company "Blue Ribbon" in 1962 by importing sports shoes from a popular Japanese brand, turning into Nike about a decade later.
Doesn't sound like magic. Buy a bunch of shoes for a low price, sell them for a slightly higher price. It's business 101, right?
We have it easy
Only by reading the book, I realized how difficult it was to pull this kind of business off, just a little over 50 years ago. Nowadays, you'd find a supplier online, send them an email, order items via PayPal or your credit card, then sell it on all the common channels. Things weren't that easy back then.
Even just finding and convincing the Japanese supplier, meant travelling to Japan (in a time where flights were far less inexpensive than today), learning how to do business with the Japanese, convincing them to do business with you (at least, there was no way to look up your company back then), then ordering the supplies by wiring a buy order and communicating back and forth via letters.
One big thing I wasn't aware of either, was the tension between different countries. Doing business right after a world war, also meant navigating cultural differences and tensi0n between the winners and the losers. Something that nowadays–at least between non-political figures–is not really a thing anymore.
I worked with someone from Japan before. Doing business and getting paid involved sending a handful of emails, and getting paid in minutes via PayPal. No magic.
I also ran and knew people who ran an import business before. It meant setting up a Shopify shop, connect Oberlo, and dropship away. No magic.
It truly makes me happy to live in this century and I'm excited to see what the future brings.