Shiva Ayyadurai: USPS can save itself

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, entrepreneur and lecturer for CMS’s systems visualization course, recently spoke with Fast Company about the seemingly unscalable challenges faced by the U.S. Postal Service.

The MIT alumnus and and creator of modern email (not to mention the word itself) told Fast Company that despite the USPS’s dire announcement of post office closings and a 50% volume drop since 2001—in other words, despite the financial pressures placed on the USPS by the ascendance of email itself—the postal service can go back to its roots and innovate its way out of waning relevance.

As he told Fast Company:

The first U.S. Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin, was a superlative innovator. Like Henry Ford, he laid down a production system with the USPS for the receipt, sorting, routing and transport of mail while setting quality standards of training and delivery.

That was not a mere operational process of tweaking or refining an extant [business] to generate more revenue or reduce costs–but an inventive process.


The U.S. Postal Service could offer an email management service to millions of businesses overnight, generating enough revenue to cover costs and make profit without layoffs. Global 2,000 companies and small to medium enterprises alike sorely need email management, which is a massive opportunity. They could also lead the charge in email validation and other solutions for a host of problems faced by email marketers.

Ayyadurai recently produced his own “History of EMAIL” visualization, a clear “what could have been?” and “what could be?” for the USPS.

History of Email

“Can Technology Save The U.S. Postal Service?”—Fast Company

Andrew Whitacre

Communications Director