The government isn’t looking for yes

by Administrator 2. March 2009 18:42

Read Seth’s latest article.  Read it twice.  Now, I’m going to quote my favorite line:

The obvious reason is that the person at this post office has no incentive to make a sale.

The person at the post office and indeed the post office itself has no reason to make a sale.  If the post office loses 50% of it’s business nothing happens.  That is because you, the taxpayer, will provide them with a wheelbarrow of cash to fund their operation no matter what.  Imagine if the post office had to compete with FedEx to carry your mail?  If my neighborhood garbage pickup was competitive would they stop losing the lid to my garbage can for fear of losing my business?  Now imagine the (very likely possibility) all incentive is removed from providing you with health care, that the hospital is looking for any reason to get to no.

The people who think we need more, or different, or smarter regulations are missing the boat.  It is human nature, and the nature of life on Earth that would have to change in order for the USPS to have the same motivation as FedEx.  We can’t keep making rules contrary to our best interests and expect no consequences.  We cannot simply pretend there is no difference between working for incentive and “collecting a paycheck”.  We cannot keep claiming that while we can connect the world with technology, plan missions to Mars, and constantly push out our understanding of reality we “could never solve the logistical problem of of privatizing bulk mail”; that “health care will never work unless the government takes over.”  The folks who claim this is the case are looking for any reason not to Get to Yes.


Comments (4) -

3/3/2009 12:25:51 AM #

I think we should order every tenth mail carrier executed. It worked for the Romans.


3/5/2009 2:22:07 AM #

"Impossible to use a Mac, impossible to use the kind of microphone I like, impossible to use my own clicker, etc"

In a way, isnt he not looking to say yes by insisting on the use of a mac, the clicker he likes, or the microphone he wants. As he is providing a service by speaking, shouldnt he create a yes by using the tools available to the best of his ability, especially since the ones he likes seem to create problems for 75% of the people out there? I see his point but at the same time its a two way street.

I still say decimating mail carriers is the answer.


Damon Payne
Damon Payne
3/5/2009 4:40:20 PM #

I suppose it depends, is he "providing a service" or "doing them a favor" ?  Couldn't you apply the two-way street argument to most situations?  


3/6/2009 8:42:04 PM #

I read seths article.  its a nice little typical marketing speil - nothing new at all.   To turn this article however into a political rant is taking this WAY too far away from the original intention.   the idea of looking for the opportunity is nothing new, its a very basic customer service 101 type of thing, and been written about in many ways.

I will say this however.   The post office is a "no frills" service, and no frills has its place in our world.  the post office is coach class, it's "stand by" and the prices reflect that.  the prices are at times 75% less than UPS or Fed-ex for similar package arrival times.  I can take a package to the post office and ship it for 2.25 with insurance - this same package would cost 9.50 via fed ex 2nd day.  See in all of seth's ranting he never once considered COST.  comparing the post office to fed ex is like comparing coach to first class/business class in flights.  Its an apples to oranges compairison.  What he is saying is "why isn't coach class just like first class?" - which is kinda dumb.  

Yes, when you go to fed ex they give you packageing (by the way this is not necessarily for your comfort its to standardize their delievery methodologies and to accurately account for package sizing) and they will give you a piece of tape and smile at you - and then you pay for that service.

When you go to the post office you better have everything set as its a "no frills" service and the cost reflects that.  If you are nice to them they will give you some tape to help you out, but thats not part of the service.  Also -their rules are very clearly posted for shipping.  the fact that Seth doesn't want to abide by them - that is his problem, not the post offices.  

The "getting to yes" thing is a oversimplification of the real consideration - which is "frills" vs. "no frills"

The bottom line is this - getting to NO frills is cheaper than getting to yes + frills, sometimes considerably.  If you want yes - expect to pay more for it.  This isn't the same however as being "nice" - its about levels of service, and in the B2B world for example levels of service cost accordingly - to expect this to disintigrate in the consumer world is foolish.

As far as his stuff not working on 75% of the moments out there - particularly when he is getting PAID for doing something - the answer is clear here - he needs tools that work with the things around him.  

If you went to a mechanic and said "here's a really amazing wrench.  its well made and it has some great torque features on it and in general you'll really enjoy using it, BUT it won't work on 75% of the bolts you encounter." and that mechanic insisted upon using that wrench - would you blame the car company for not accomodating the mechanic's whim?  now what if that amazing wrench was in 7% of the shops nationwide - would you blame the car company for the bolts not working with the wrench?


you would say "these mechanics are really good but they won't use the right tools for the job - why don't they just get the right tools?"

If you say otherwise you'd be lieing.  

I would also like to note that typing XXTVM has worked.  I have looked out my window and I see no robots, thank goodness.


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Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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