Everything was better in the good old days. That’s a stereotype that I still hear a lot. However, thinking about it, I can hardly agree.
If you, like me, are making your money online, the changes of the past 23 years are probably the best thing that could have happened to you. Let’s take a look at all the things that changed.
1. Working From Home
There were home offices in the nineties as well. However, as they were costly for the employer, they were only available under particular conditions. You would have needed to be severely disabled, or have restricted mobility for other reasons.
Today, a home office is pretty much standard. The number of employees permitted to work from home at least on certain work days is increasing.
Even VPN-protected access is no longer an investment decision. The technology is available and cheap. This indeed was not better in the past.
2. International Contacts
It does not matter anymore if the commission I work on digitally comes from Chile or Munich. It also does not matter if my acquaintances are 200 or 2.000 miles away. It has never been easier to cultivate and maintain contacts or to make business past country borders.
Social networks make for the virtual cohesion of large circles of friends. Professional networks ease the collaboration across business and country borders. This was not better in the past.
3. The Web is Always Open
When I remember that I still need a cable for my smartphone for the weekend trip, I’ll just switch the browser tab, and order one at the tech-store of my choice. Especially at night, I like to remember what I forgot to order. As my computer is online 24 hours a day, I don’t even need to keep it in mind. I can just switch from my bed to my desk and place the order.
The web is especially useful when it comes to errands that you can’t get everywhere. For instance, I’m partial to the vegan lifestyle, and there is only a small selection of products available in my area. On the web, I have access to the full brigade of specialized online shops .
I still remember the disk and CD battles I had to fight when I bought new software. The Microsoft products were always the most impressive ones. It took two people to carry them out of the store, as a single person was not able to handle the weight.
Today, I can either buy cheap software in any online shop or use web app solutions off the bat. This is how I take care of my billing, for example. Some providers use subscription models, which are distributed via the web as well. If possible, I still prefer the old purchase model from the software shop. Though, I’ll admit that I have never purchased a software in the middle of the night.
What can I say? This was not better in the good old days either.
I already mentioned that maintaining contacts all around the world has become much more comfortable. This comfort is heavily fostered by the modern options of free communication.
There are dozens of messengers available to satisfy the need for communication of the Homo Digitalis. Today, even video communication is comfortable and reliable, and it was completely useless and extremely expensive at the end of the nineties. By the way, I always prefer Skype, but I can’t avoid the ubiquitous WhatsApp.
This definitely was not better back then.
It’s very contradicting that, during our time of worldwide internet access, which means access to a cornucopia of knowledge, the collective stupidity is spreading so rapidly in all areas.
Generally, it is a good thing that I don’t need an entire wall full of Brockhaus books in order to have an extensive general knowledge available to me. This was not better in the past either.
Of course, there is also a flipside to digitalization. However, this was also the case during the times of the industrial revolution. To me, personally, the advantages of the modern options clearly outweigh the downsides.
What do you think? Was everything better in the good old days?