For years now, Ireland seems to have found it something of an embarrassment that, alongside countries such as Ghana, we lack in something every other ‘modern’ upstanding country seems to have – postcodes. I’m not here to argue nostalgically for the Ireland of yesteryore when the local postman didn’t need to be told your address – never mind a postcode – in order to find you. This is purely a logical argument – or rather, how opting for the ‘modern’ choice over the logical one, only serve to show how ignorant you and/or your company are.
Ireland is a frequent victim of making the ‘modern’ choice – opting for the monkey see monkey do approach to new initiatives stolen for our overseas ‘betters’. Whether it’s marketing, produce, people or public policy, we seem to have this complex that makes us believe something imported from abroad must, by very definition, be far superior than any alternatives we can come up with ourselves. A London ad agency must be smarter, cooler and come up with better ads. Whatever your New York business equivalent is doing on their website must be the ‘right way’ to do websites. And if the rest of Western World has postcodes, well then dammit we’ll have postcodes exactly like them too.
Looking up to leaders and aspiring to imitate them is something we all naturally do since our first year of watching our parents but when it comes to grown up stuff like business or politics, it unfortunately is a poor and childish substitute to what aspiring leaders do.
Aspiring leaders, observe what’s worked for leaders and copy them too. But with one key difference – they also observe the weaknesses and mistakes and improve on them.
What’s that Got to Do with Postcodes?
Well, postcodes are a pretty old concept. The city of London first started using them as far back as 1857. Obviously since then there are bound to be lots a ways to update a postcode, and plenty have done so.
However, it wasn’t until 27 years later that the world would finally decided on a Prime Meridian (Greenwhich) for longitude throughout the world. And it wasn’t until a full century later that GPS military technology – fine tuned during the Cold War – was finally available to one and all.
What’s it Got to Do with Longitude?
Well, lat/long is the universally accepted indicator of location. And while it was one of the most famous conundrums of science in it’s time, it is now something that relatively easily for anyone to determine thanks to GPS and the world wide web. The combination of longitude and GPS made all postal codes redundant (apart from say, bragging rights if you live in D4) around a decade ago, thanks to the prevalence of the internet.
So frankly, by not having a postcode and encouraging supplying a GPS location where necessary (e.g. emergency services to avoid them mistakenly going to a road with the same name as yours), we would actually considered wonderfully progressive leaders without even knowing it.
And all for FREE.
And could have spent that 27 MILLION EURO could have been spent on buying every single man woman and child in Ireland a nice copy of this or perhaps homing 100 homeless families..