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Why Running a City is Not Just Like Running a Business

by on 05/30/2012

Some years ago, IBM determined that there’s no money to be made in commodity hardware: the company abandoned selling PCs in order to focus on providing expensive enterprise services. Former IBM customers yawned and bought Dells and HPs.

Some years ago, the City of Edmonds determined that people travel primarily in cars: the City abandoned sidewalks, pedestrian signals, and wheelchair on-ramps. Citizens showed up at the next City Council meeting bearing torches and pitchforks.

Which incident above did not and will never happen? In contrast to businesses, governments must serve all, which translates to being inefficient in which services to provide. Where they can and should be efficient is in providing those services.

Unlike business persons, Council Members and the Mayor need to understand both necessary inefficiencies as well as necessary efficiencies.

From → Edmonds

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