Monday, February 02, 2009

Keeping a promise

I'm always amazed on how things work in our society. Imagine you are traveling to a city in a foreign country. So you go to a website and make reservations for plane and hotel. And all you have is a piece of paper where it says that on the day X, at hour Y a plane will take off and you will be allowed to board on that plane. And then in that foreign city you go at the hotel with another piece of paper and they will just let you sleep and eat there. This is really the magic of the modern society, the fact that people learned to respect a contract, even if they never got in touch with their partner. Of course, it is not flawless, and it varies wildly by country and the type of business you are doing, but it is still amazing IMHO.

On the other hand, apart for the B2B, is the P2P promise land where you have no written contracts, but you have expectations. You have expectations even if there is no promise made and others have expectations from you too. And when you fail to meet the expectations or, even worse, you fail to keep a promise you made disaster strikes. And it can be very bad, as you don't loose some money, you loose the trust of others. I remember one such occasion when me and a group of friends organized something funny. But on the day we were supposed to do it I missed it. It was not like I ruined all the surprise, they did it without me anyway and it was fine. But then I was told this: how do you expect somebody to trust you again since you didn't do even this simple thing? I was only puzzled and amused at that moment and only later I realized how tough that was...

Is there a conclusion here? Only that I appreciate when the promises are kept, I know how hard is to do it.

P.S. Last Saturday I saw "Eduard the third" by Shakespeare at TNB. This particular play of Shakespeare is not one of his masterpieces, but most of the drama there was in characters that had to choose between different promises they made explicit or implicit: fidelity to your husband or serving the king's wishes, fidelity to your father or to your best friend and so on.