[FoRK] The World Is Not Flat

Sean Conner sean at conman.org
Tue Jan 19 13:04:26 PST 2010

It was thus said that the Great J. Andrew Rogers once stated:
> On Jan 19, 2010, at 12:11 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
> >
> > Actual distance is a red herring now because of hyper-efficient
> > shipping.  Intermediaries in many cases are only there when they are
> > more efficient than the alternatives.  Commercial distance is a metric
> > of time and money which is only loosely connected to actual distance.
> There are "quant" logistics companies that do not own any shipping assets.
> They make vast quantities of money by finding and exploiting
> inefficiencies in the global supply chains operated by "real" logistics
> companies and reshuffling the assets to (hopefully) create a profit.
> Bloody speculators...

  I'm failing to see what the problem is here.

  Maybe related, maybe not.  A decade ago I worked at a huge webhosting
company called Verio (real name---it's been long enough).  Verio owned the
data centers, the servers, the network switches, etc. and directly hosted,
oh, a million web sites.  And as is the case, a disgruntled customer would
get mad enough to say "Hey!  You guys suck!  I'm moving my hosting over to

  Joke was on the customer though---Verio did the hosting for BellSouth.net
(at least, the commercial websites BellSouth.net would "host").  The only
difference between Verio hosting and BellSouth.net hosting?  Verio was
hosted on this group of servers, BellSouth on that group, two rows over in
the data center.  Tech support?  Same group of people even (front line tech
support would get a "whisper code" when they picked up the phone, saying
which "company" they were "working" for---Verio not only did hosting for
BellSouth, but AOL and several other large companies that did "hosting").

  So, who's exploiting who here?  I mean, besides the final end customer
with a site to host?

  -spc (I now work in a three person web hosting company and even *we* have
	a few resellers of our work, although the resellers are responsible
	for their own tech support (and anything they can't handle, they
	pass on to us))


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