SE Book – [DRAFT] What was there before Sales?

Are you a Sales Engineer? Do you manage Sales Engineers? How about Sales Consultant? I’d really like to help you get some visibility in my book in exchange for a few quotes from you. Free is a great price, and it’s a win-win! Contact me!

I really would like the benefit of your feedback as I go through the chapters. I’ve just written them fast, top of my head, and found in doing these cold reads that my spell/grammar checker in Scrivener took some liberties. Some really trip me up.

Below this video I will paste the text I read. It isn’t perfect, it’s just a first draft. Comments about how awful I look aren’t actually necessary. I’m well aware.

The video of my reading the first chapter:

Can you imagine having to create, from scratch, everything you need to live? If you want electricity, you need to create it. There are no outlets on the Wall and no batteries. Would you like to wear clothes? You are free to make any you like-but fro meat? There is no clothing store, and you cannot even order on line. What would that have been like? Can you imagine it?

Before you could buy something from someone, there was a time when there were no buyers, and no sellers. No money was needed, because currency in any form simply wasn’t needed. You were roving, self-sufficient, and sometimes teaming up with others to make hunting for your next meal more likely to succeed before you died of hunger. If someone asked you to barter or trade, the concept would be foreign to you. If they want to trade a fur for a piece of obsidian, the person with the obsidian would wonder why you had too many furs, and what they would do if they gave you their only knife.

This was the age before bartering, and long before sales. The only people you learned from were your parents, or a communal group, but with lifespans so short you had to learn fast. Just having no Internet must have been a struggle.

Eventually, people are believed to have settled down in agrarian societies, making them more efficient at obtaining meals, and thus allowing them to spend more time on things like religion and making better stuff. Until recently it was thought that religious practices involving complex structures with large stones and other materials was only possible once people settled down, but findings in Turkey at Göbekli Tepe very recently have shown that assumption to be false. It is so old that it makes the Hypogeum look like a drive-through church. The point is that even though it is almost assuredly a center of worship, and at around 12,000 years old the oldest man-made structure yet discovered, it shows no sign of being a center of a society, or city. There is no garbage.

So as little as 12,000 years ago, man was still wandering about, chasing lunch. There were no excesses of commodity, and bartering, as explained, meant that I had to take time and produce excess at a time when I couldn’t find a surefire way to have dinner every night. It just wasn’t practical. The entire world had anywhere from one to 10 million people.

It is thought that the exchange of goods, or organized bartering, started around 6000 BE with the Phoenicians, who had observed this to a smaller extent in the surrounding tribes throughout their kingdom in Mesopotamia. This was a radical concept, where a person would do more than just over-produce for personal consumption, but rather exchange excess for stuff needed now, or before they could produce their own in time.

The first trade routes were developed to transport salt and flint. Jericho, founded in 9000 BE, was built on such a route. I always wondered why these routes weren’t called barter routes. The thinking is that a trade route is unique in that at no point along the route are the goods exchanged. You go with what you have, and come back with what you need. What you have and what you need determine the route, and ultimately the destination.

Agriculture is now a big deal, with the first sheep being herded in Northern Iraq (Fertile Crescent), domesticating of the pig in Turkey and China, and the 5 million people left on Earth are going back into Europe as that nasty Ice Age recedes.

If bricks at Jericho were the high tech of the 9th millennium, by the 8th millennium BCE, pottery was all the rage. And it makes sense why; you could now carry other goods-even liquids-great distances to trade as well as the dry goods. In fact, things like salt & flint, and later obsidian (first traded from Anatolia (modern Turkey) to Southwest Iran), were items traded most simply because they had a high value for their volume & weight. In other words, you could trade more for carrying less.

You might be forgiven for thinking that in the 7th millennium BCE every one of the 5 million earthlings are living in nice agricultural centers, or even cities, living the good live. But we’ve only been talking about a very small part of the world, and most everyone is still in hunter-gatherer tribes, or bands, roaming around. Pottery itself isn’t yet widespread, so it was good top live in the Middle East back then. The cow has just been domesticated and for the first time gold and copper are made into ornamental jewelry. The Chinese, who will essentially invent transcontinental trade, have just domesticated rice, millet, soy beans.

Pottery was a game-changer. The earliest pottery had bottoms that were pointed, and couldn’t stand on their own. This was for the simple reason that the inverted cone shapes could easily be tied to pack animals by using loops of rope. Interestingly, Central America invented pottery at the same time, with no communication or travel between the societies.

With animal husbandry (pastoralism) well along, and the transport of seed across vast distances to keep their grazing land fertile, it was getting easier for populations to grow, and excesses in vital staples to be stored for use or trade. This is considered the age of The Rise in Agriculture, all because of the early versions of sales-trade and bartering. The earliest beginnings of money are found in “counting tokens” in the fertile crescent (modern Iraq) about now. And if you wanted wine, you were in luck because Persia was making it 8,000 years ago. In Africa pottery was first being used decoratively along with a boom in jewelry, which are sure signs of a society with desired goods to trade. If you are the first or best, other people will want it, and give you what you want for it.

Egypt will play a key role in the development of sales. In the next 1,000 years of our abbreviated history, the area of Northern Africa starts to become a desert. It is thought that this gradually forced the peoples of Northern Africa Eastward into what would become Egypt, as the Sahara Desert began to take shape. These new arrivals to Egypt took full advantage of the Nile and pioneered advanced agricultural technology in 5,500 BCE to take advantage of the seasonal flow of the river, thus bringing fertility year round.

But the biggest advance for our concerns was the virtually instantaneous creation of a modern civilization in Sumer in 5,400 BCE by the Sumerians in what today is Southern Iraq. They pioneered irrigation and many advanced that will lead civilizations to a sales oriented culture, starting with the technology of the day, irrigation.

Agriculture has been the basis of economy and trade for thousands of years, so it is surprising that only in the 5th millennium BCE we got around to inventing the wheel. Even the plough wasn’t invented in Europe until 4,500 BCE, and after a hard day using it, you could now have a beer.

With the 4th Millennium BCE, things really start to move fast. Sumer and Egypt were the most advanced societies and advances still used today just kept coming from the Sumerians. Among them, the very first bit of writing, called proto-cuneiform (or “Prue-cuneiform) in pictographs, along with advanced, creative writing, base-60 mathematics, astronomy, astrology, civil law, complex hydrology, schools, and even the sailboat. They even had time to create the first proper cities, managed as such.

During the period from 3,000 to 2,000 BCE we had the Early to Middle Bronze Age, and all of sudden nobody was happy with what they had. Imperialism, or the desire to conquer, seemed a lot faster and easier than keeping up with the neighbors the old, hard way.

This theme is familiar to us today, but back then your king would look around and see that a neighbor had developed a collection of wealth, or a crippling military technology, that he really wanted. In one fight, he could gain land, the possessions of others, and all the housing and technology. If you were fierce enough, and had a reputation, the locals would just drop everything and run. The Hebrew Bible is filled with stories of just what this was like. But this was a double-edged sword, with the birth of revolution from within as a concept.

Sadly, the highest technology of the time, in Sumeria, fell victim to war between the city-states it was comprised of, and as it is today, war drains the will and wallets of the people. If you didn’t profit from war, you could always go over to Egypt and see the great pyramids under construction, which included Khufu’s, which would be the tallest man made object on the planet for thousands of years.

Thankfully, the Sumerians saw that never-ending war was not helping, and the 3rd Dynasty of Ur was ushered in by a unification of the warring city-states. They even had time to invent poetry and the telling of epics, and with writing, they had a way to jot it all down instead of trying to remember it all. If it weren’t for the Armories constantly nipping at their heels, Sumeria might still exist today.

Now the development of trade and eventually sales, by way of money or currency, is speeding up. It’s the 2nd millennium BCE, now, and Egypt has calmed down a bit, along with the Armoried kings over in Babylon. And as you’d expect, when people stop fighting, they start thinking. Well, at least after the upheaval in the 1,600s.

We get chariots and a [Phoenician] alphabet, and there was a movement toward using writing for bureaucracy and international trade. In fact, the Phoenician traders were also so skilled at sailing that they spread their language and alphabet though out the Mediterranean expanse, it was used virtually exclusively in the region, and as the first Canaanite language it was the parent of many languages using alphabets.

The Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age with the invention of wagons, which could haul exponentially more goods than the equivalent of just horses, and shipping routes for trade were forming, as it was far faster than overland. Two horses can only carry so much, but those same two horses could pull an extremely heavy wagon much easier and faster. I guess you could say the wagon ushered in the concept of “Time To Market”.

The first millennium BCE is still in the Iron Age, and it was the time of empires. Empires meant conquest, and it meant trade. The father of monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism, is spreading in and from Persia. The Greeks just made the first language with vowels, calling it… Greek. We now get Geometry, the concept of atoms, the first railway, large trade/war vessels, lighthouses to keep them afloat, the crossbow and the siege engine. On the barter, or trade, side we see by 500 BCE the trans-Sahara trade routes out to Morocco.

In fact, in a way we can blame writing for having Sales. Around 3500 BCE the Sumerians advanced from pictographs to cuneiform in order to keep track of the quantities of goods moving throughout their kingdom. By 2,500 CE there were already gold and silver standards as the basis for determining and stabilizing prices. Coins, though not widely used, appeared as early as the sixth century BCE in Iron Age Anatolia (Kingdom of Lydia). They were initially made of elect rum, an alloy of silver, gold, and copper. But again, it would be a very long time before widespread, much less consistently recognized, coinage was used in any fashion.

Paper is invented in China in 105 CE by Cai Lun, ushering in the paycheck (eventually), and the first paper money and bank notes are issued in 670 CE. That technology would be given to the Arabs in the mid-8th century. In 785 CE, China develops sea trade routes to the East coast of Africa, which cuts out the the Arab middlemen. This trend of spend a little up front, make a lot on the back end is something we still profit from today.

Muslim traders settle in Madagascar in the 9th century, while in 863 CE the Chinese author Duan Chengshi writes about the Somalian slave, ivory, and ambergris (a waxy, flammable substance coming from the festive tracts of sperm whales) trading. In 1088 CE we usher in the era of proposals with the invention of movable type in China, and with the printing press in 1439 CE in Germany we can see mass mailings in our future. And with the invention of the proper newspaper in 1605, we can now advertise in style. Anders Celsius develops the Centigrade scale for temperatures, and to this day nobody knows why this was necessary.

But we’ve sped past a point in history that is of vital importance to our story: The Renaissance.

From the 1300s to the 1700s it bridged the old and the new, the Middle Ages and modern history. At it’s roots it was Humanism, or the philosophy that “Man is the measure of all things”. The positive influence and impact of specialized leaning and widespread educational reform were balanced by the lack of basic knowledge in the family unit. This period was made all the more dramatic by being right after the Dark Ages. It is postured that the Black Death pandemic (from the pathogen Yersinia pestis), which killed 1/3 of the world’s population from 1346 to 1353, was responsible for the attitude or outlook in people. For the first time, people were thinking about mortality as much as morality. If Florence was the actual century of the origin of the Renaissance, it was likely because the city lost a full half of it’s population.

Sociologically, the plague spread to all levels of society, but the poor were hit hardest due to the physical  conditions the plague thrived in. This left moderately more educated people than not. After this, money and art were close friends, with wealthy patrons sponsoring large works of paint, construction and sculpture. This money came from increased trade with Asia and the rest of Europe, and from sources like silver mines in Tyrol and booty from the Crusades. Some even think that the money came from those that had the plague hit a little too close to home, and they saw extravagant religious works as acts Of devotion, piety or repentance. If you wanted textiles, you went to Florence. If you wanted fine glass, you went to Venice. And because ideas and news travel with goods traded, Venice naturally grew in educational centers.

And it is exactly this distance between those who knew, and those who didn’t that comes to us from the Renaissance. Prior to then, throughout the Dark Ages and before, your family knew all you needed to know to survive. Remedies and practices of hunting and farming were handed down to the next generation, and the only specialists were those with a specific basic skill, such as working metals and perhaps animal husbandry. But even then, they were within the same village or quite close by.

All that changed when the Renaissance created centers of learning, and advanced education in very specific areas was possible. Those with the money, connections, or even skills could travel beyond their small villages and live in large cities. Larger cities were more lucrative, as if only a small percentage of the population would buy your product or services, a larger population within reach would make that small percentage lucrative. Collections of similarly skilled people formed associations and guilds to protect their income, ensure only those properly capable were bidding on work, and wield power over going rates. And today we see this in specialists in every vertical, from doctors to lawyers. Specialty is the way things are today, and we find ourselves camping in automated palaces, incapable of surviving without electricity and WiFi.

end of chapter 1 draft. In the end, these numbers will change as chapters get deleted, moved or added.

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