buckets or pipeline?

Are you Hauling Buckets
- or Building a Pipeline?

Once upon a time there was a little village in the middle of nowhere. It was a great village and, for many of the villagers, life was wonderful. But there was one problem, its location was definitely not ideal. The river was a fair distance away, and they had to walk to the river and back every day for water.

After much debate, the village elders decided to change their lives for the better, they would do something about the problem. They put out a tender for the supply of water on an ongoing basis.

To their surprise they received two bids to supply water, not just one. More debate ensued and wisdom finally prevailed. The elders realized the whole village would benefit since competition would make them more effective, so they accepted both bids.

The First Supplier's Solution

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The first winning bidder, Billy Buckets, understood exactly what was needed. He bought two buckets, a piece of wood and some string. He tied the buckets to the piece of wood, put it on his shoulders, and started walking back and forth to the river. He poured the water into the concrete holding tank that the elders had built.

The second winning bidder, Peter Pipeline, just disappeared.

Initially, Billy had a monopoly on the supply of water. The village was a lot better off, but occasionally, on holidays and weekends, they would run out of water. It still wasn't perfect.

The Return of the Second Supplier

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Nine months later, Peter Pipeline came back with a construction crew. He had written a business plan, found four investors and hired a crew to build a pipeline from the river to the village. A year on, the pipeline was ready, water was flowing and Billy had competition.

At the grand opening ceremony for the pipeline, Peter made a speech.
  1. This water is clean, we filter every drop, he smiled. He knew that one of the problems with Billy Buckets' water was that sometimes leaves and mud fell into the buckets during the journey.
  2. This water is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, he said. He'd been told that Billy's water sometimes ran out on holidays and over the weekend.
  3. This water only costs twenty-five cents, he announced. He realized that Billy had taken advantage of his monopoly position, and charged accordingly. Peter's price was just one quarter the cost of Billy's water.
And the villagers all clapped and cheered.

Billy Bucket's Response

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Since the competition was so effective, Billy understood he had to do something immediately.

  • Improving productivity was crucial, so he rushed out to get two more buckets
  • Cleaner water was a big concern, so he bought lids for all four buckets, and
  • More time would solve the occasional supply failure. He hired his teenage sons to work on holidays and weekends so the village would never run out of water
Billy started running, not walking, back and forth to the river. Along with the extra water carried with the extra buckets, he was able to slash his price to match the twenty-five cents charged by Peter Pipeline. Life wasn't nearly so comfortable, but he was making a living.

A few years later, his experience was even more dismal. He was rushing back and forth to the river, even on weekends. His sons had not come back after studying at university, despite his exhortations to hurry back. They didn't seem that interested in having a job guaranteed for life!

The Benefits for Peter Pipeline

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Peter Pipeline’s bank account was enjoying the regular cash flow that his change in perspective had brought. He experienced the success that a good idea, together with lots of hard work and energy, can bring.

He fine-tuned his original business plan, went on to other villages and made even more effective proposals for pipelines. Many accepted, and each time it become easier finding investors for the project. Eventually his cash flow meant that he no longer needed outside investors.

Although he only made a fraction of a cent on each bucket of water, his wisdom made him very wealthy. The pipelines not only delivered a constant stream of clean water to his customers, they also delivered a constant stream of money to his bank account.

completely rewritten from a story
told by billionaire author Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Wanna Reduce your Stress?

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Choose your next step right now:

Food for Thought

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You never will be the person you can be if pressure, tension and discipline are taken out of your life.

Dr. James G. Bilkey

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