Dan Lyons Bitchslaps AT&T

One of those unbelievably funny, but oh-so-dead-on painfully true posts, with Dan Lyons skewering the stupidity of AT&T’s Stephenson, who has been bitching about the 3% who use 40% of his bandwidth. Lyons basically says he doesn’t realize what an idiot he is: he’s selling bandwith, and people are using more than he has. Shouldn’t he be building out the network?

[via The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs : A not-so-brief chat with Randall Stephenson of AT&T]


We’ve got people who love this goddamn phone so much that they’re
living on it. Yes, that’s crushing your network. Yes, 3% of your users
are taking up 40% of your bandwidth. You see this as a bad thing. It’s
not. It’s a good thing. It’s a blessing. It’s an indication that people
love what we’re doing, which means you now have a reason to go out and
double or triple or quadruple your damn network capacity. Jesus! I
can’t believe I’m explaining this to you. You’re in the business of
selling bandwidth. That pipe is what you sell. Right now what the
market is telling you is that you can sell even more! Lots more! Good
Lord. The world is changing, and you’re right in the sweet spot.

While I’m ranting, let me ask you something, Randall. At the risk of sounding like Glenn Beck Jr. — what the fuck has gone wrong with our country? Used to be, we were innovators. We were leaders. We were builders. We were engineers. We were the best and brightest. We were the kind of guys who, if they were running the biggest mobile network in the U.S., would say it’s not enough to be the biggest, we also want to be the best, and once they got to be the best, they’d say, How can we get even better? What can we do to be the best in the whole fucking world? What can we do that would blow people’s fucking minds? They wouldn’t have sat around wondering about ways to fuck over people who loved their product. But then something happened. Guys like you took over the phone company and all you cared about was milking profit and paying off assholes in Congress to fuck over anyone who came along with a better idea, because even though it might be great for consumers it would  mean you and your lazy pals would have to get off your asses and start working again in order to keep up.

And not just you. Look at Big Three automakers. Same deal. Lazy, fat, slow, stupid, from the top to the bottom — everyone focused on just getting what they can in the short run and who cares what kind of piece of shit product we’re putting out. Then somehow along the way the evil motherfuckers on Wall Street got involved and became everyone’s enabler, devoting all their energy and brainpower to breaking things up and parceling them out and selling them off in pieces and then putting them back together again, and it was all about taking all this great shit that our predecessors had built and “unlocking value” which really meant finding ways to leech out whatever bit of money they could get in the short run and let the future be damned. It was all just one big swindle, and the only kind of engineering that matters anymore is financial engineering.

And now here we are. Right here in your own backyard, an American company creates a brilliant phone, and that company hands it to you, and gives you an exclusive deal to carry it — and all you guys can do is complain about how much people want to use it. You, Randall Stephenson, and your lazy stupid company — you are the problem. You are what’s wrong with this country.

So, AT&T’s griping is because they sold everyone always-on data for a fixed rate. They are preparing to go to a model based on usage, so they can gouge us. Thank goodness there will be a price war going just as soon as the monopoly that Apple granted to AT&T is over.

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