Every new and brilliant innovation seems to win the honour of being “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Have you ever wondered, how long it has really been since sliced bread was first cut? The answer: sliced bread turned 86 today!
The idea of sliced bread first came about after Otto Rohwedder, an American inventor from Iowa, built the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine for commercial use. Initially, he had some trouble selling it, or even the idea of it; many bakers were concerns about the bread becoming stale too quickly or falling apart when sliced.
But the Chillicothe Baking, a bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri, was willing to put Rohwedder’s invention to the test. They installed the machine and began to sell “Kleen Maid Sliced Bread” for the first time on July 7, 1928. The day before this bread was to be put on store shelves, a local newspaper, the Constitution-Tribune, ran both an above-the-fold article and a full page ad to inform the public about this great new product.
To the surprise of many, sliced bread became a big success and the phenomenon quickly spread. Two years later, Wonder Bread was building its own machines and distributing pre-sliced loaves of bread all across the United States. This product is what put Wonder Bread’s name on the map.
Video Description – Seth Godin on the Invention of Sliced Bread
So what is the best thing since sliced bread…There are 3 candidates that fit the honour and they are:
1. The Smart Phone – Let’s try to remember life before smart phones were invented… not nearly as much fun, was it? The Smartphone has radically changed the way we travel, communicate and even shop. We’re so connected these days that 50% of Americans and Canadians experience nomophobia – the fear of being out of battery or losing sight of their phone.
2. Automation – Our work lives are more productive thanks to so many innovative automated features. We’re using automation in our business lives for everything from access control systems (the swipe card you use to get into your office) to doing timesheets online and social media posting. But less than 25% of businesses in North America are using automation tools to stay productive and increase workplace efficiency. Why?
3. Internet -Although it has yet to house digital copies of all that was ever thought of or written, it does offer plenty of benefits to its users. For instance, it encourages communities of artists, musicians, and writers to pursue their dreams and enables all of us to create and publish content, even if sometimes that content is not professional to read.
Despite what communications critics say, digital media technologies are enabling us to produce new modes of communication as well as leading us down paths laid out by the invention of sliced bread. They are promoting democracy, provoking freedom of information and speech, and inspiring us to pursue our dreams we never thought would otherwise be possible. And when they’re not tempting us with free shipping and free news reports, they’re letting us critique others and even find alternatives to the great online monopolies.
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