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Overload!: How Too Much Information is Hazardous to Your Organization by Jonathan B. Spira

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CHAPTER 9

THE TWO FREDS

Urgent Necessity prompts many to do things.

—Miguel de Cervantes

Fred Rogers, an American children’s television show host, educator, and ordained Presbyterian minister, was born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a small town near Pittsburgh. Rogers received a degree in music from Rollins College and started his career at NBC in New York working on music for television.

Rogers created the popular children’s television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1968. The program ran for 895 episodes and, after Sesame Street, was the second-longest running program on the PBS network. The program, which used music composed largely by Rogers, took children through a variety of topics, from friendship, to war, to the death of a goldfish.

Fred Smith, an executive and innovator in the document and package delivery field, was born in Marks, Mississippi, in 1944. As an undergraduate student at Yale University in the 1960s, Smith wrote a paper for an economics class in which he outlined a new concept, an overnight delivery service, which eventually became FedEx.

Smith launched Federal Express operations in April 1973. By 1976, the company had become profitable and delivered about 19,000 overnight packages each business day. In 1979, Federal Express became the first company to use a computer system, which it named COSMOS (Customers, Operations and Services Master Online System), to manage packages. The following year the company deployed DADS (Digitally Assisted Dispatch ...

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