Challenge Your Stereotypes

by Colin Berkshire

One of the most difficult mindsets to overcome is “stuck in a rut thinking.” That is, being so set in your ways that you cannot think clearly or make quality decisions.

I was almost accosted by a friend when they learned I spend a lot of time in China and even like it there. Immediately they tore into China about their gender preference and sex-based fetal abortions. They were practically rabid that I could even think of supporting such a totalitarian regime.

Now the facts are this: For most age brackets, the United States favors males far more than does China. Do’t believe me? Go here: The numbers show a far greater sex-bias in the US than in China.

In almost every country there are more males than females for persons under the marrying years and more females than males in most senior years. This seems to be a natural way for things to be.

But if you allow your thinking to get crystallized on false stereotypes then you will do yourself and your employer a disservice.

Even I catch myself with false assumptions. It’s so easy to do. You must be vigilant to keep your thinking clear.

Century Link is one of the major wireline carriers. I met with a senior manager who talked about their great future because they had copper going to every house and business. This person believed that the existence of all of this copper build-out was worth something and ensured their future. I say this is a false assumption.

The number of land-lines are declining rapidly. DSL and ADSL has pretty much demonstrated that it can’t compete against Cable+Fiber. While the land line companies could build-out their networks and use the copper to drop Internet into homes, the fact is that they aren’t doing this and aren’t planning to.

My statement to the Century Link executive was that his company was already dead, but the message had not yet traveled from the tail to the brain. It was an extremist comment, but I see no evidence that they are doing anything more than milking their slowly dying cash cow.

They are not pushing DS3 to the homes, even though they can now deliver it on a single pair. They are not pulling fiber to the telephone poles and dropping data into the homes using the twisted pair. Heck, they won’t even port a telephone number out of the serving area of a central office!

I will admit that I am astounded by how many people still pay $30 a month for home phone service. But I am willing to bet that the average age of these customers increases by one year for each year that passes.

I love telcom. But I cry when I run into execs like the one at Century Link. Their lack of challenging their stereotypes is going to doom their company.