[plug] Letter to the Economist re Bill Gates(forwarded)

Doug Clulow clulow at upnaway.com
Mon Jul 27 23:12:31 WST 1998

[Letter to the editor of _The_Economist_ of July 25, 1998, commenting on

 an article in the June 13th issue by Bill Gates.  Nothing medical.]

SIR--Mr. Gates's argument may also be applied to the electricity utility

business.  If I were the head of Gas & Electric, the first thing I would

do is declare that we sell energy systems, not power, and that customers

tell us they want a familiar energy environment wherever they go.  The
first step would be to integrate a smart fridge into the overall energy
system as it is the first appliance opened by most users and real-time
monitoring of beer temperature increases satisfaction with the energy
environment for 78% of all customers.

Customers would be free to use other fridges, even making someone else's

their default appliance.  However, if they try to remove the Gas &
Electric fridge their television and air conditioner might not function
properly.  When a circuit fails in an older home we would repair it with
"service pack" that also installs our fridge, eventually introducing all

customers to our energy environment.

We would also encourage homebuilders to "bundle" our innovative Laundry
Suite into all new home sales.  If builders made exaggerated claims that

they could not refuse our Laundry Suite because they might lose their
power connection, I would be required to enforce our industry standard
non-disclosure agreement.

For the first six months we would also give away the innovative Gas &
Electric Power Mailbox as part of the Laundry Suite.  It not only
letters but also records all return addresses, birthdays, and visiting
habits of in-laws, scheduling thank-you notes and utility payments.  Of
course, the current version of Power Mailbox takes up half the pavement
and all of the attic, disables the fax, takes 12 minutes to disgorge
letters and occasionally freezes everything in the fridge; forcing one
turn off all the lights, throw away the frozen fruit and restart dinner.

However, attic space will become much less expensive in the 21st
century, we will soon introduce a new fruit-recovery utility and version

3.0 will open the mailbox in under two minutes.

Once installed, homeowners are not authorized to remove it.  Yet, as it
free we will have saved our customers money compared with manual
mailboxes, making it all but impossible for the authorities to complain.

        Davis, California       JAMES QUINN

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