The GiveWell Blog

Competition is important

My experience with Time Warner Cable has always been good in the past, but then, I’ve always lived in areas where DSL is also available.

Now, I’ve apparently moved into an area where they are the only option – and the difference is amazing and immediate. They miss appointments. They ignore complaints. They don’t fix things that are broken and they’re content to let their customers rot. I’ll spare you the details, but chalk up one more for the case that if you want someone to do a good job with anything, your best bet is to get them competing against someone else.

This is a long way of telling you that my Internet access is sporadic today and I can’t promise a full blog post. The one coming up is a good one – a real update on our project – and it’ll be here within the next few days.

Meanwhile, one micro-rant to hold you over. When I see someone who normally only criticizes charities open a post with “I come today not to bury a charity, but to praise one,” I get excited. I think I’m going to read about someone with a brilliant method for helping people. When, instead, I read about yet another innovative fundraising technique … with no mention of the charity’s activities … and I remember that in my search through the philanthropy blogosphere, I’ve find one blog that discusses how to help people and 14,000 that discuss how to raise money … I’m not happy. It seems clear to me that in the current state of things, charities compete all right – just on the wrong terms.