Major Change 3: Disruptive Power

About this Series: I live in Morristown, New Jersey. Many iconic, historic, cultural and revolutionary changes have somehow been associated with this town. This series highlights a few of them, connecting the dots between those events and major changes in your world…and in everyone’s day-to-day lives.

We all know “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you,” (Alexander Graham Bell), as well as “What hath God wrought,” the first telegraph message from the basement of the U.S. Capital to a railroad station in 1844.

But did you know that the actual first telegraph message was almost six years earlier originating from Speedwell Ironworks, here in Morristown, New Jersey? And that the actual first message was “A patient waiter is no loser”?

The Mars Rover, Curiosity, is currently using Morse Code
to help NASA/JPL scientists track it.
Watch this video to learn more.

Samuel Morse, inventor of Morse Code and holder of multiple patents on the telegraph, ended up in Morristown after abandoning his first career as a painter. (No slouch, he painted portraits of Presidents John Adams, James Monroe, as well as the Marquis de Lafayette.) Morristown machinist Albert Vail was the partner who helped Morse perfect the mechanics of the first telegraph as well as being co-inventor of Morse Code. Also part of tech team was New York University Professor Leonard Gale.   

They were a team of geeks, geeking out on what they’d done.

But it took the non-geek Annie Ellsworth, daughter of the U.S. Patent Commissioner, to see the power of what they had done. She was the one who picked the passage from the Bible to send “What hath God wrought.”   

The one who really “got” the power of this disruptive change in communications was several steps removed from the geeky and business opportunities.  

Morse’s disruptive communication revolution continues today. What are you doing to make the world a better place, simply by changing how you communicate?   

Are you leveraging the latest apps just to create more communication clutter and crap and info-overload? Or are you doing your damnedest to change the world with all that disruptive power? (Another disruptive Morristown resident followed in Morse’s footsteps a century later, Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.)

That’s the point of this post. We are in the midst of a disruptive revolution in sharing ideas, knowledge and power. One in which President Obama, pointing to a model of the first telegraph in the Oval Office, declared “This is the start of the Internet right here.”  

Are you doing all that you can with that power?

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