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Staying Connected: From Roman Roads to Your Own Website

Picture a lone tradesman hawking spices in a dusty marketplace along the Euphrates River 2,000 years ago. Now fast forward to the present day and imagine yourself seated in a cozy coffee shop busily polishing the look of your personal website. Before you balk at the idea that the two of you have much more in common than you think, just remember the axiom: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Throughout the immense span of Human history, our capacity to remain connected to one another has single-handedly shaped our progress and development as a species more than any other factor. From the earliest times, cross-cultural interaction fostered not only an open exchange of goods and services, but of ideas and opportunity. We prosper primarily because of our connection to each other.

The Romans were the first major contributors to this vital notion of staying connected via their revolutionary road system. Without benefit of maps or compasses, the empire managed to create a dizzyingly complex matrix of crisscrossing byways and thoroughfares extending over 250,000 miles . . . or roughly the distance from the Earth to the Moon. But we live on a planet that’s nearly 80% water, and paved roads can only take you so far.

Despite the fact that the first sea-faring boats were built almost 45,000 years ago, it wasn’t until roughly 1000 A.D. that Humankind took to the open seas in large numbers. From all corners of the globe various peoples were developing unique crafts for mastering the waters: in China they built massive ‘Junks’ while in Scandinavia, the Vikings were piercing the waves with their graceful long boats. From these Medieval beginnings came Spanish Galleons and British Clipper ships centuries later, and by the mid 19th Century, sea lanes vanishing in every direction were literally set in stone. Humanity was now more deeply connected than ever before.

But another domain was still out of reach. In record time, between 1906 and 1967, human ingenuity had crossed the once-unfathomable abyss of air mastery that began with the Wright Brothers’ crude glider and ended with the colossal 36 –story Saturn V rocket that would carry men beyond the hold of Earth’s gravity. And because of these technological breakthroughs, one built upon another, our collective ability to remain connected had advanced from simple roads to commercial jets.

Yet just when we thought “the sky’s the limit,” along came the Internet. Completely eliminating the time it would take to walk, sail, or fly from one place to another, the infinite realm of cyberspace has now put connectivity within reach of any person on Earth with access to a computer. Staying in touch with family and friends, conducting business, building your brand, exchanging ideas, achieving success . . . at no other period in history has so much possibility been in the hands of so many people at one time.

So in a very real sense, your website is similar to the tradesman’s hut, the sea-faring boat, or even the sleek aerodynamic aircraft . . . it’s merely the vessel that keeps you connected to the rest of Humanity, and it’s yours alone to design and pilot as you wish. Cool huh?

 

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