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Bob McG

Cool story, bro.

Brianna McCarthy

Coopersmith's title does live up to its promise. Fax machines can teach us how to make electric cars so that they have uniform standards. Coopersmith argues that electric cars will only be successful if they all have a uniform standard and his argument is persuasive because he connects fax machines and electric cars by saying that fax machines were successful for businesses since they had a standard.


I dont think the title of this article fits with the information stated in the article. It wouldve been better to use a title such as "Electric cars:following the footsteps of fax machine development". The only thing fax machines can teach us about electric cars is that it is shown to be more effective to develop a universal way to connect all of the products. For example, once the fax machines started to connect and all work together, they sold more. Likewise, inventing a universal charger that is compatible to all electric cars would be more convenient and the product would become more popular.


Coopersmith is persuasive and promising to his title, we can always learn from the past because it repeats itself. Just like with fax machines, you hav big businesses fighting for electric cars. When it comes to business the only thing that matters to these people are the money that comes with their designs and products. Eventually when this is set aside and companies are willing to share their ideas and models with the world, we can have a breakthrough. It took companies almost 30 years to develop a standard fax machine and that only happened because Japan was willing to help other companies and make it easier for companies and their consumers to buy and demand a product. Coppersmith argues that we are in the same phase with electric cars that we were with fax machines. Until companies make a standard for consumers and companies, we won't have a breakthrough.

Justin Bishop

I think coopersmith brings up some valid points about the widespread compatibility issues in electric cars although i believe the underlying cause is the lack of a pressing issue to push people to change their lifestyle. In today's current time gas is not relatively expensive nor inaccessible so for the common person who enjoys the roar of an american made V8 engine there is no necessary reason to purchase a prius. When the day comes where driving a gasoline powered automobile is not a viable option then the market will adjust.

Nick P

I agree with Coopersmith that the success of the fax machine and its technology was attributed to rival companies making their products both competitive and compatible. I like how he tied the electric car industry with the fax machine industry by showing how different technologies were alike in ways. This can be seen especially in the market place. When looking at the success of new technology like that of the electric car, the key is making things universal and standard. Coopersmith makes a good analogy in the beginning by describing how much of a hassle it would be to only fuel your 2011 GM car with only available pumps that cater specifically to GM models between 2005 and 2012. I agree there does need to be a universal standard to improve the success of the electric car industry. At some point manufactures and electric car companies need to get together to standardize their models just like the Japanese did in 1977 to push for telephone communication and fax standards.

Sergio Arm

The success of fax machine standards were due to two things. First, royalty-free, meaning any company could use the standard without paying a fee to its creators. Second, the standard was not so restrictive as to prevent fax machine manufacturers from introducing other features, allowing for competition in other areas. This information was not too easy but then again it wasn't hard to find within the article. It just took a while due to the extensive background knowledge that was incorporated in the article. The background facts that were used, helped Coopersmith tie in the two keys to the success of the fax machine standards.

Andrew Shipman

I do not believe that Coopersmith's title lived up to its promise. While he did draw a reference to the fax machine, it was more about how industry needs to work together to develop a standard rather than about the fax machine itself. Based on his title, I expected Coopersmith to draw a more direct comparison between the fax machine and an electric car, rather than just say that the fax machine was successful because they developed a standard and that is what the electric car companies need to do as well. I see where Coopersmith is coming from, and I see how his ideas are persuasive and more likely than not accurate, but with his title being what it is, I find the article more of a let down than anything.

Justin Bishop

in reply to sara, i agree with your points. Until it becomes profitable for companies to make the endeavor to switch to electric cars they will stick to their current ways of making millions of dollars which is tied in to the oil business. I like the parallel Coopersmith draws between the fax machine and the electric car, past trends often follow new ones.


I think that the title of this article suits, but to a point. In a way the only thing that fax machines can teach us about electric cars is how to improve the compatibility of the power source. Which is what this article seems to relate to anyways. Coppersmith writes a persuasive article in regards to relating two thinks that aren't alike and then finding something they both have struggled with.

Alex P

Coopersmith did a good job at comparing the electric car with the fax machine. Yes, his argument his persuasive because he uses a successful example by comparing it to the fax machine, but I believe we will not see much of a change in electric cars yet. Society is stuck on gas vehicles, but when the day comes where gas is at an all time low society will adapt and make that change.

Sebastian Tolkien

Coopersmith spends a lot of time in this article drawing comparisons to the fax industry. In particular, he notes that a Japanese government push to make the use of phone lines standard across the business environment in Japan - and the eventual influence the Japanese business world had on world tech markets - made the fax market boom in the 1980s and 1990s. He's essentially arguing that standards can make a market more expansive and profitable.

While I respect this opinion, I think that Coopersmith overlooks the true hero of this story: The Market. Yes, he mentions the idea that market dominance has the ability to set a standard for particular products, but he essentially eschews the "invisible hand" for a more "hands on," government-dictated, top-down approach. In the marketplace of ideas, the best (or most convenient, or the most cost-effective, or the best sold)) idea wins out. While this may be a method that takes some relative time and conflict (think Edison over Tesla when it comes to AC/DC electrical powering), the market - and the consumers' dollars - can and should be the ultimate arbiter of winning standards.

The reasons why Nokia phones, Apple's "firewire," and other "nonconformist" products are now relics of the past; the market didn't find their inconvenience worth the dollars, even though they might be superior products. Fitbit will continue to be the dominant step tracker on the market - despite its similar charger issues - as long as consumers find the price point worth the (relatively small) inconvenience. The market - NOT THE GOVERNMENT - will determine what the most convenient car charger will be, and THAT will determine the standard going forward.

To assume that a dictated standard can be responsible for a product's success is flawed economic thinking.


I get why Coopersmith relates fax machines to electric cars, but there are many developments that have established one standard. He could have used any example pretty much. So I don't get why it necessarily had to be fax machines, but I guess it works. Fax machines eventually developed one standard, and that's what Coopersmith is saying will happen to the charging of electric cars. I feel like Coopersmith made a compelling argument especially with his toaster example. When everything is easy we don't really think much about it, but when there's not one set standard for something it becomes an inconvenience for people. Ultimately Coopersmith argues that, eventually, there will be one standard for electric cars because people enjoy convenience, and the electric car industry won't progress if people aren't buying them.

Chris Lyles

Coppersmith in his article tells us, readers, why he believes that there are things in this world that we as a society take for granted. For example, he says that we can plug a toaster into an outlet and have no second thoughts whatsoever. Another thing we take for granted is that we put food in a microwave to heat it up for dinner and we don't think about the consequences about, "what if the microwave goes out?" The history of the microwave was that it was built to cook food quickly, and now that microwaves have decreased in size, we now have them in almost every home and people soon forget that like anything else, a microwave can easily go out too.

Bailey Herndon

I agree with Juliannes post. The title and the article didn't go together and could have said something about electric cars because that's what he mainly wrote about. The title you chose that would be better for the article works. His main point is how fax machines help make the electric car and have advanced technology.


I believe that the title "What fax machines teach us about electric cars" fits the article. The article began with addressing the issues that previous fax machines have gone through, focusing on how not all were compatible, just like electric cars at the moment. I think that Coopersmith does a good job at writing persuasively relating two things that have seemingly nothing in common and simply showing that we can solve problems we have today with solutions created yesterday.

Caroline Halford

Yes, his title does. Coopersmith compares electric cars to fax machines because both things similarly have risks and benefits to them. In the 1960's and 70's, the fax machine was not compatible with other machines, making the marketplace for them grow very slowly. Today, the electric car marketplace is doing the same thing because of the technicalities with charging stations. This point makes Coopersmith's argument very persuasive because it creates an analogy to compare electric cars and the fax machine and shows the similarities between both products. Coopersmith joins the conversation that new standard need to be invented in order for the electric car market to take off, just like the fax machine did. His choice of conversation makes his argument interesting to read and makes the reader think about how we can use the past to establish the electric car industry. The eventual success of the fax machine was due to its standards being royalty-free and not so restrictive as to prevent fax machine manufacturers from introducing other features. Finding this information was easy because Coopersmith uses connecting words to tie the information together. Historians may have studied topics such as this because history seems to repeat itself, so standards for today's market for electric cars may improve over time. Researching past decades standards is worthy of research because it can help us improve today's standards.

Abby S

According to Coppersmith, the two keys to the sucess of fax machines was making them royalty free and not preventing manufacturers from introducing new features. This was easy to find because the paragraph was opened with the statement "This standard found two keys to sucess." Coppersmith says "First" and "Second" to clearly introduce his ideas.

Audrey Hartis

Coopersmith’s point is that the eventual success of fax machine standards was due to royalty-free universal compatibility and quality standards created by “competing manufactures who battled for a share of an increasing market” that were not restrictive to introducing other features such as faster communication. In other words, when the fax machines worked with each other, Coopersmith claimed that the consumers benefited from the fax machines, vastly expanding the market for them. The information on the two key factors was not hard to find in the article. Coopersmith elaborates on the two factors in the section of his article titled “Third time’s the charm.” Coopersmith uses an analogy for today’s electric cars and the plugs used to refuel them. He compares the history of fax machines to the struggle of the current market trying to develop universal standards for compatible electric car plugs. I never took into account the struggle of electric car owners to find a refueling station. In today’s world everything is made to be fast and convenient for humans. Electric cars are supposed to be up and coming but their growth is being limited because of the markets inability to create a universal plug.


A historian would look into this to see how humans have advanced in their developments and this is worthy of research because it shows human progress which is part of history.

Faith W.

Coopersmith's title does live up to it's promise which is, that the success of fax machines will set the standard for universal compatibility for electric cars improvement. Fax machines can teach us the uniform standard to be set to electric cars and it is persuasive because of how he clearly relates big businesses having fax machines and using them well was apart of a standard, so the only way electric cars will come up to par will be when they become apart of a standard.

Brandon Ashley

the title does not get anywhere close to living up to the promise of showing how fax machines can teach us about electric cars. yes it mentions both sides but is does not give any data that back it up. it just states how the fax machine had two different types and they could not communicate and he is tying that in with the electric car and how there is multiple chargers and that there only needs to be one. this is a weak artical, he needs to change his title to make a more effective point.

Jonathan McGrady

His title does not live up to its promise. Other than the thought of "compatibility" and being "uniform" there is no connection between the two things. Fax machines do not teach us about electric cars at all. We can just compare how there needs to be a universal concept for charging. There's a universal plug for outlets for any common household items, like a fax machine. It is not persuasive because it makes little to no sense and is far fetched.

Jonathan McGrady

In reply to Alex P, I definitely agree. Society is stuck on gas powered automobiles and not much will change until electric cars become more popular.

David W.

The two keys that made the fax machine successful were it was royalty free and the standard was not so restrictive as to prevent fax machine manufacturers from introducing other features – such as faster transmission. It was easy to find this information. He talked about the previous attempts to make the fax machine a success, and the paragraph were I got this information was named third time's the charm. He uses the titles of the paragraphs to tie them together.

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