GOLDEN OLDIES….I used to work in the document imaging industry, and aside from a general cynicism about our industry’s future (“the paperless office will take over at about the same time as the paperless bathroom,” went the usual joke), the most pervasive irony was the dawning realization that imaging and other digital automation actually increased the amount of paper used in offices. Lots of stuff got scanned and stored, but then it eventually all got printed out. Multiple times. And then copied and distributed. And then mailed.

Today, the New York Times reports on a similar irony:

In 2005, revenue from first-class mail like cards and letters, which still made up more than half the Postal Service?s total sales of $66.6 billion, dropped nearly 1 percent from 2004. But revenue from packages helped make up for much of that drop, rising 2.8 percent, to $8.6 billion, last year, as it handled nearly three billion packages.

It is impossible to say how many of these were online orders, but Postal Service officials give e-commerce a lot of credit.

?Six years ago, people were pointing at the Internet as the doom and gloom of the Postal Service, and in essence what we?ve found is the Internet has ended up being the channel that drives business for us,? said James Cochrane, manager of package services at the Postal Service.

I don’t really have anything to say about this. It just brought back fond memories of both my old industry and the general dotcom euphoria of the late 90s that predicted the post office would die a quick and well-deserved dinosaur’s death. Those were the days.

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