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Re: Explaining spam to policians (was: test message)

  • To: Anders Andersson < >
  • From: Piet Beertema < >
  • Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 16:26:46 +0100
  • Cc:

  One day, a staff member was unable to find a scooter because it
   had appearantly been misplaced by somebody else.  Since this
   caused him an unplanned delay in his work, he wrote a complaint
   letter about it, and since he didn't know who was responsible for
   misplacing the scooter, he sent the letter to the internal staff
   mailing list, which at Karolinska comprises around 3,000 people.
  Assuming that each recipient spent on average 30 seconds reading
   and otherwise dealing with the letter (some probably spent less,
   others more, depending on their interest in the matter), it was
   estimated that the total loss in productivity was roughly equal
   to the cost of purchasing two new scooters.
The big difference with spam is that, once you're a bit versed
in dealing with it, it takes about half a second to qualify a
message as spam or not.

The Karolinska Institute can be found at <URL:>,
And the scooters? :-)

Steve Jobs is told to have used similar reasoning in order to
convince the MacOS developers to optimize system software for
speed, i.e. multiplying any delay with the anticipated number of
Macintoshes to be sold and translating it to the number of human
lives either wasted or saved!
Never heard of these consequences of buying a Mac before. :-)


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