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Adoption of new communications technology in the financial sector - an anecdote from 1911

Concerning adoption of new communication technology, there are often parallels between what we are experiencing today and what has happened with previous waves of transformative technology. The adoption of social business often gets compared to take-up of email a couple of decades ago but it gets more interesting when we see similarities that span a century.

From Herbert Newton Casson's The History of the Telephone (A.C. McClurg & Co, Chicago 1911):

'Next to public officials, bankers were perhaps the last to accept the facilities of the telephone.'

Casson goes on to describe an early adopter at JP Morgan:

'At the present time, the banker who works closest to his telephone is probably George W. Perkins of the J.P. Morgan group of bankers. "He is the only man," says Morgan, "who can raise twenty millions in twenty minutes."


'Recently one of the other members of the Morgan bank proposed to enlarge its telephone equipment. "What will we gain by more wires?" asked the operator. "If we were to put in a six-hundred pair cable, Mr. Perkins would keep it busy." '

Who is the George Perkins of social business in the financial sector today?


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