How far we’ve come

I’ve written before about the amazing advances in technology that I’ve seen in my lifetime (and I like to think I’m not that old!). But the other day I was reminded that, as a child some 40 years ago, the mailing list that was used for monthly mailings of the newsletter that my 4-H club sent out was managed on metal plates. Yes, you read that right, metal plates. I think the machine was called an addressograph; it was designed to stamp the address on the envelope to mail the newsletter. So when new members joined, or an existing member changed an address, a new plate had to be created.

1907_Addressograph_Metal_Plate

Of course, nowadays, we simply type at a keyboard. In fact, often we don’t have to type at all because the member or customer does the typing for us!

So next time you’re complaining about managing your data, think about those metal plates!

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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