Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Find a need...

Then promote yourself through a newspaper columnist (Seattle Times' Brier Dudley) as serving social justice.  Well, after all they are former politicians, and old habits die hard;

StepUp plans to offer prepaid, unlimited talk and text plans to low-income customers whose credit isn’t good enough for traditional plans. It will sell phones through thousands of mom-and-pop retailers in urban areas — places like ethnic groceries and electronics stores.
[Joe] Mallahan said the company will “serve low-income customers extraordinarily well and get them away from all their anxieties and all the nickel-and-diming they experience from the other brands.”
....“By that,” Mallahan said, “I mean if you can’t pay me this month, pay me for a week. If you’ve been with me for a while I’ll give you a grace period — I’ll give you four or five days to pay me — which is revolutionary in the prepaid space.”
This is more than political correctness.
It had better be, if it's going to pan out--which means it will have to generate profits for its investors.  So far, so sensible;
StepUp expects to have more than 1 million customers and annual sales of at least $500 million within two years. It sees a $45 billion market opportunity serving low-income buyers looking for unlimited wireless plans. 
Though the two men who once ran against each other for Mayor of Seattle, need to keep their focus;
[Former Seattle Mayor Greg] Nickels is the company’s vice president of community relations and regulatory affairs. His stature — including a stint as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors — adds name recognition and may help StepUp secure approval from the FCC and regional regulators.
Nickels said he’s going to figure out how his 35 years of experience in government “can add value in the private sector to this startup.”
....Neither plans to run for office again, though Nickels added that “you never say never.”
They realized late in their campaign battle that they shared the “social justice ethic” they say underlies StepUp.
At least they're not calling for a government program, or forcing already existing phone providers to subsidize low income users.  As that (perhaps) good-intention-paved road led to disaster in the 1990s with home lending.

But really guys, catch up on your reading.  It was in 1776 when we learned that people had their needs best served by profit seeking entrepreneurs looking out for themselves, not by those professing to serve social justice.

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