Netflix Buys U.S.P.S. (If Only)


Somewhere in a parallel universe right now, Netflix is in talks to purchase the U.S. Postal Service from the federal government. Here on our Earth, it's never going to happen. But what a beautiful idea to contemplate:

How would this look? Here are my suggestions: First all, all mail would be one size and have to be sent in those familiar red mailers. That would mean that anything larger would have to use some other carrier, such as Fedex or UPS. International mail? Same thing. Magazines? Well, this is hard for an old magazine editor like myself, but they will have to change to the Netflix form factor if they still want to be mailed. Junk mail? Same deal. Standardization is key. No more post cards. If it doesn't fit in a mailer, you can't mail it.

Next, we eliminate postage stamps. Since we all will be using the standard mailers, we have standard postage. You buy the mailer and pay for the postage right then and there. Forget about metering based on weight: whatever you can cram into one of those envelopes is what you get to send. This obviates the need to run local post offices: if you need to mail something bigger, you can go on down to Kinkos or the local UPS store. They give better customer service there anyway….

Netflix is a good choice to run the USPS for one other reason: it has an amazing employee base. You couldn't pick something that was more the polar opposite of the feather-bedded, anti-customer oriented, highly unmotivated, hyper regulated postal system if you tried.

Read the whole thing here, and Fast Company's take on it here. I wrote about the end of the "Privatize the Post Office!" dream here.