The year was 312 B.C. A group of Roman generals, anxious to speed up the deployment of their legions, urged the Senate to do something about the state of the empire's roads.
The Senate's response started with the construction of the Appian Way, stretching 350 miles from the capital to the heel of the Italian boot and it took almost 200 years to finish.
The initial section of road is a masterpiece of engineering, still cited in university textbooks. In time, it became the backbone of the Roman highway system, a network of roads that some have compared to the Internet because of its impact on communications, commerce and borders.
If the comparison holds true, it is an intriguing one. The Appian Way was built at the behest of a Censor, Appius Claudius Caecus, who decided to name the road after himself.
He was, in modern terms, a liberal who was always well aware of the ground breaking importance of his feat. In his presentation to the Senate, he wrote that the value of this artery connecting the heart of the empire to the periphery rested, amongst other things, on the greatly expanded opportunities for exchanging notitîam (information).
Just as Appius Claudius Caecus appreciated the value of an information superhighway and facilitating the exchange of information, so too did Appius' founder, Simon Annicchiarico. Excellent communication with the two most important assets of your business, i.e. customers and employees, will lead to greater profits from increased sales and increased productivity.
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