[nSLUG] Re: looking for Bill D

Mike Spencer mspencer at tallships.ca
Sun Jul 2 15:02:35 ADT 2006

George quoth:

> I suspect economics are against small providers.  Did I mention that
> this business is all about the people?  It is hard for a small
> organization to have enough staff to deal with illness or family
> emergencies.  Good ones have a small and highly dedicated staff who
> work very hard, leading to burnout and the illnesses that come with a
> sedentary job and long irregular hours.

Yeah.  That's an interesting point.  Small, family-sized
organizations, including families themselves, depend on all members
giving each other a lot of slack and tolerating imperfect interactions
with the rest of the world.  If Henry's General Store is closed for
Henry's mama's funeral, everybody understands.  If he's closed for the
first week of hunting season every year, well, Henry and his brother
like to go hunting and it's the only vacaton they ever get.  If that
alienates a customer or two, Henry manages to live with that.  If
someone messes up in a real family (well, in a non-dysfunctional one,
anyhow) they work it out together rather than quitting and switching
to a different family.

But the standard of service we take for granted with ISPs --
24/7/365.25, $BIGNUM MTBF, 24-hr support etc. -- has hitherto only
been provided by big, corporate institutions.  Telco POTS is the model
and that has historically been provided by huge, bureaucratic
monopolies.  For a group of 7 or 8 or even a dozen to reliably provide
such a level of service would require the kind of group seen in many
Heinlein novels: Eveybody is a genius with advanced technical skills;
they all give total loyalty to the group before all else; they have
unlimited financal resources; and everyone has a great sense of

Hard to put a team like that together and, in the real,
non-Heinleinian world, it's probably a metastable arrangement anyhow.

- Mike

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^


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