I was just reading Tim Heuer's speed of social networks blog post and remembered this story.
I like to claim that I made the fastest car purchase ever. Until someone comes up with a faster tale, I'm going to continue to believe that.
I think it was 1997. Around 40 of us were working for this company overlooking Oxford Circus in the centre of London. A colleague of mine was transferring to the New York office. There was about a week before he left.
The old "You have mail" message popped up on my screen.
Tony had sent an email to the entire office that read something like this:
Off to New York in 1 week. Haven't got around to selling my car. Garage says that it's worth 3000. I'll give it to the first bidder for 2000 on condition that I can keep it until the day I leave.
I'm sure that it had the make and model and a few other details but those weren't important. I wasn't even looking for a car but I saw a good deal so I clicked reply and typed "done" and then clicked send.
I didn't know this but Tony had set a stopwatch when he hit the send button and later I discovered that he received my reply 45 seconds after he sent out the ad. Another astute colleague also accepted the offered but he thought about it and 2 minutes was too long. He received eight offers that day and 20 by the end of the week. Half the company had agreed to buy his car but yours truly was first in line and drove away with it.
So that's how someone who wasn't looking for a car read an advert in 10 seconds, made a decision in about 0.5 seconds, and bought a car. It was a great car and served me well for a number of years after which some friends inherited it and had it for many years after that.