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Friday, June 22

Knowledge on the Doorstep

I am naturally curious about a lot of stuff.  In addition, my job forces me to know a lot about stuff that, otherwise, I would probably know nothing about.  Particularly, corporate world sort of stuff, which is the furthest from my natural universe.  For instance, I would never sift through SEC filings for a company that has just gone public through an initial public offering.  I would definitely not take stock of their choice of anti-takeover provisions within those filings.  But, since my job does require me to have some knowledge about stuff like this, I have been attempting for some time to toss a wide net and bring in any and all relevant information I can pertaining to the everyday business operations unraveling around the world.  Where do I turn for this information?  Well, it's a good excuse to turn to good old-fashioned print media and newspapers, in particular.

Years ago, I developed an affinity for The New York Times.  While still in school, there was a good portion of the time that my college had daily editions available.  That eventually came to an end, but I would make my way to newsstands to pick up the Sunday edition and had home delivery while working out of our New York City office.  Then, there was a time after moving back to Wheeling that I would receive a mailed copy of the Sunday paper two or three days after the fact.  Old news is no fun to read, so that was short-lived.  Last year at some point, I turned back to the New York Times, hoping for a miracle when I searched to see if their home delivery was available in East Liverpool, OH, where I was living at the time.  Through the online system, the claim was, yes, delivery was available for my zipcode.  Unfortunately, to spare the grim details, delivery was not available, and many many phone calls and handwritten letters later, I'm still convincing them that I owe them no overdue balance because I never received any product.   

Just earlier this week, after sort of falling head over heels for Marketwatch reports on NPR and the stories on the iPhone app, I meandered my way to the home delivery page of the Wall Street Journal.  There have been a few times that, out of desperation, we've picked up the weekday edition, and I have been pleasantly surprised that the stories are made interesting and not so saturated with business lingo that the point is lost.  This is good.  To my surprise, the Journal is available for home delivery in Wheeling, and against my better judgment, based on my recent experience with the Times, I subscribed.    

Yesterday was the first day the paper was due for delivery, so I eagerly watched for the delivery and searched the perimeter of the house.  No paper.  Due to experience, I was prepared to report the problem and immediately cancel the subscription and was completely deflated.  To my great surprise, though, I arrived home from work, checked the mailbox, and there it was!  It arrived by mail rather than paperboy, but it was the Thursday edition and it was here!

After settling from this great surprise, my mind was piqued with curiosity.  How did the Journal do it?  How did they get a print copy of their paper to me on the same day that it was released?  I don't know your experience with the USPS, but it can take upwards of 2 days for letters to travel a block away since they usually travel the block by way of Pittsburgh (serious?).  In addition, the same process required 2-3 days for the Times in the past.  I will admit that I actually "googled" some phrases to figure out how they do this, but I came up with nothing.  I'm in awe of their well-oiled system, and I have to place the WSJ at the top as my preferred print newspaper.  An unexpected, yet pleasing turn of events.


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