You Will, but Not Like That

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

YouTube has a set of commercials from AT&T from 1993 that are titled “You Will.

It’s funny, but 14 years later, all that innovation is NOT from AT&T, but from a myriad collection of start-ups (or the giants that bought them like Yahoo, Google, eBay). We have most of the innovation demonstrated in those ads today. Navigation, tolls, presence, video conferencing. Probably the only thing that the telcos have is that they own the pipes.

Now I mention this for two reasons: one is net neutrality and the other is sales.

Net neutrality is going to be necessary for any innovation to occur as it has for the past 14 years. Open access requirements on the last valuable slice of spectrum are just as important. The public (and much of the industry) don’t understand that the spectrum wireless, cellular, TV, radio, satellite has been sold to the highest bidder, but the public has lost not only use of the spectrum (for the most part, think pirate radio, public access, family programming, non-partisan news, bully pulpit, rapid DJ’s), but the spectrum has been used by corporations to fill coffers.

Handsets are what have been driving cellular sales for a long time. The iPhone not only proved that theory, but was the handset that galvanized the public about closed systems and walled gardens. Everyone talks about mobile apps, but how do you get them on a closed system? The first cellular provider to open its system to any handset or app will win the war hands down. (And the customer acquisition cost will be cheap!)

On to what you are here for: Sales. How does any of this help you sell?

Well, people don’t buy Internet access, people buy e-mail or search or VPN or some other “killer app. To sell larger pipes, you need to sell the solution. Does Garmin sell a GPS unit or does Garmin sell peace of mind navigation? Does PayPal offer a payment system or an easy way to do business on eBay and elsewhere on the Web? We hear a lot about mobility, but no one is buying mobility. They are buying ubiquitous access to e-mail or search or the database.

Offsite backup would not be available without a dumb pipe. And the RBOCs each sell backup just not the consumer version because it is a PITA. But backup is peace of mind. It’s insurance. As doctors and lawyers learned during Katrina, if your records get flooded, you are out of business. End of story. That’s what you are selling/offering when you knock on the door.

ROI, TCO, peace of mind, insurance, ease of use, Band-Aids.

Peter Radizeski is president of


. He can be reached at


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