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This chapter is from the book

Rate of Change

If these and other changes would just come at us at a slow enough rate, like eating an elephant over a long enough period of time, we could digest them one large bit at a time. Unfortunately, the gods of the change universe are not so kind or considerate. Instead, both the rate of change within sectors, as well as across sectors, seems to be accelerating.

Consider that the first significant mention of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) in Fortune magazine was in 2000. Just three years later in 2003, a small company called Skype was started. One year later in 2004, Fortune magazine told us not to believe all the hype about VOIP. One year after that in 2005 (just two years after its founding), Skype had 53 million customers, and at any given moment Skype had more than 2 million customers using the service and calling friends, family, and loved ones all across the globe at 2 to 7 cents a minute. Later that year in September 2005, eBay bought Skype in a deal that could bring $4 billion to Skype. From zero to 53 million customers, from zero value to $4 billion in two years! From just about any perspective, that is fast. Arguably, it is this fast pace of change that was just too much for AT&T, the "mother of all bells," and contributed to its being bought out in 2005 for $16.9 billion by SBC, one of the "baby bells" it gave birth to in 1984. Imagine, the 25-year-old child bought out the 135-year-old parent! (However, to keep it all in the family, SBC adopted and now goes by the AT&T name.)

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