It’s Valentine’s Day, and therefore the perfect excuse to throwback to the 90’s and use one of my all time favorite rom-coms to prove just how much communication technology can change everything. Released in 1998, You’ve Got Mail was one of the first films in my generation to center around technology.
But, what happens to the plot if Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks had access to the same technology we do in 2016? Instead of dial up internet, there’s ultra-fast broadband. Instead of floppy discs, what happens if Meg had been able to use Xero as her cloud accounting platform?
Here are my predictions:
The original plot of You’ve Got Mail
- It’s 1998, Meg Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, who lives in New York’s upper west side. She wears a lot of beige, is the owner of a small children’s book store called The Shop Around The Corner, and has a pixie hair cut.
- Tom Hanks plays Joe Fox, CEO of industry giant, Fox Books. He wears a lot of beige, isn’t afraid to rock a man-scarf, and owns a cell phone that is about the same size as a 1997 Honda Civic hatchback.
- The Shop Around The Corner is a local store with a deeply nostalgic backstory. It’s been doing inexplicably well for a store that can’t possibly make more than a couple hundred thousand a year, paying rent in an area with a market average of probably several million.
- Joe Fox comes cruising into town sipping on a mocha latte. He has a briefcase full of paper documents. After clicking his fingers at a team of architects, Fox Books opens within a couple of days. It’s literally across the road from Kathleen’s book store. Fox Books is huge and amazing, it even has a coffee shop inside it. Can you imagine that? A coffee shop inside a book store! Who’d have thought?
- Each night, Kathleen (ShopGirl) and Joe (NY125) have been powering up their giant laptops, connecting to the dial-up internet, and logging onto AOL-Chat Messenger. Using extremely nineties alias handles, they spend their evenings chatting.
- Little do they know, they’re talking to each other. In real life they’re involved in an aggressive business war, however, online they’re totally in love with each other and they have no idea. Super romantic right?
- In true rom-com style, Kathleen gets absolutely no real business advice and instead just goes on the news and complains. She also protests outside Fox Books. Despite the retail book market being a multi-billion dollar industry, it appears that Kathleen has literally never considered competition as a possibility before. Inevitably she has to close the store.
- Joe Fox figures out that he’s been talking with Kathleen on AOL Messenger this whole time. He casually stalks her everyday, and tries to trick her into liking him without telling her the truth. Obviously this works flawlessly because, Tom Hanks.
- Joe Fox looks into the eyes of Kathleen Kelly and says, “Sometimes I wonder. If I hadn’t been Fox Books and you hadn’t been The Shop Around The Corner. If you and I had just met?” I would have asked for your number and I wouldn’t have been able to wait 24 hours without calling you up and asking you out for coffee, for as long as we both shall live.”
- They kiss in a garden of flowers and Joe Fox’s amazing dog is there.
Here is how the plot of You’ve Got Mail would be different if it happened today
- Kelly has a large apartment in New York’s upper west side. In order to be living here, Kelly is clearly earning several million a year. Kelly is the founder and CEO of Corner Shop Inc. Since opening her first store, Kelly has been working with Xero and has gone on to open several hundred franchises globally. Kathleen rocks a pixie cut and takes a selfie of her outfit every day for her hugely popular Instagram page.
- Joe Fox is the CEO of industry dinosaur, Fox Books. Despite extremely high recommendations from accountants, Fox Books does not use Xero. The company was thriving in the 80’s, but refused to keep up with modern trends. Fox Books has now downsized significantly. Joe has an addiction to mocha lattes as he is unaware of how extremely bad for you they are.
- In a last minute bid to save the business, Fox decided to open up a store right across the road from Kelly’s Shop Around the Corner. This is a somewhat arrogant and senseless business decision, but it’s Tom Hanks so no one questions it.
- Kathleen and Joe are already connected on LinkedIn. They message each other frequently. Both of them try to pass their relationship off as strictly professional, but they’re totally in love. Joe is extremely inspired by Kathleen as a world leader in business. He’s started to realize that he might have ruined his chances.
- Kathleen texts her business advisor and good friend, Jeff. They meet up for coffee and talk about an idea they’ve been working on for a while. They both know that the way technology is headed, everything is going online. Kelly decides to work with Jeff and close all the physical branches of her stores. Instead she will work with Jeff to open up a series of global warehouses. They’re going to sell books online only, with no shipping fee.
- In case you haven’t realized yet, Kathleen Kelly has gone into an investment partnership with Amazon.com founder, Jeff Bezos. Yes… Kathleen basically ends up being the co-founder of Amazon.com. (This totally could have happened).
- Realizing he has made a huge mistake, Joe Fox decides not to open the new book store. Instead, he takes some time off to hang out on his 80 foot yacht and spend more time with his awesome dog.
- After doing nothing but sitting on her huge pile of money all day, Kelly realizes she is bored. She misses Fox. She gets into her Tesla and it self-drives her down to the pier. Joe is sitting in the rain on his boat. It doesn’t make any sense. He should be inside. Out of nowhere we see Kathleen’s pixie-cut hair as she runs over to Joe’s boat. Her hair is still pixie and perfect, despite the fact that it is raining.
- Kathleen looks in Joe’s eyes and says “ Sometimes I wonder, if I hadn’t been Corner Shop Inc, and you hadn’t been Fox Books. If you and I had just met?” “I would have asked for your number and I wouldn’t have been able to wait 24 hours without calling you up and asking you out for coffee, for as long as we both shall live”
- They kiss on the boat in the rain and Joe Fox’s amazing dog is there.
Aren’t we glad we live in 2016? For Valentine’s Day think of the future and the potential for technology to change everything.