The US Postal Service had the chance, early on, to become a provider of email.
This was during the Internet’s early days. Few people at that time foresaw the importance email would attain.
Neither, it seems, did the Postal Service.
In fact, the Postal Service saw email as a threat, not as an opportunity.
If USPS had seized its chance, it could easily have become a major player in email and email-related services.
Maybe the dominant player.
I’m pretty sure Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, EarthLink, and other corporations that jumped on email still would have done so. Free accounts still would be easy to come by.
But the Postal Service, in addition to basic free service, could easily have monetized specialized for-profit features for which it had unique advantages. Not to mention ad sales and all the other usual suspects.
Today the Postal Service is struggling financially. Maybe going bankrupt. Its primary function is today universally derided as “snail mail”.
How might this be different for our mail system and for all of us — if a more visionary approach had prevailed? If key leaders had embraced change instead of resisting it?
More important, what could happen in 20 years if each one of us embraces some seminal change we face today? And where will it leave us if we don’t?