Estonia has been boasting about becoming a pinnacle of e-government, e-economy, e-commerce in Europe and beyond. Truly, now you can vote through the Internet (not sure who is observing the elections now), most of payments are done virtually, companies are run from computers.
However, here is a little story from reality. I registered acompany using my ID-card attached to my computer through an ID-card reader. Next day I got an e-mail stating that “the company’s name is already a registered trademark in this area of activity”. Basically I had to change the name or register a different area of activity for the company. I wanted to keep the name and changed the activity. Then I received an e-mail saying that I will get answer in the next 5 working days. After three weeks of no answer and tons of phone calls to various institutions which kept giving me different phone numbers, I decided to visit the damned registry department, analogue of the British Companies House.
I entered the old factory building where they were located and took a huge industrial elevator to the fourth floor, and entered an empty hall with couple of elder-looking women chatting in a corner. The moment I stepped in, I knew I would have to deal with predictable bureaucracy, still so common here. And as I had expected, a dull looking woman in her 60-s greeted me with concrete face that reminded me of Berlin Wall or barb wires of Gulag in Siberia. She explicitly stated that I have to change the name of a company and not the area of activity. Moreover she said that area of activity doesn’t matter at all. Following this logic, I wouldn’t be able to use any words that make sense, for my company’s name.
After couple of days of not being able to change the name through the Internet registration portal, I thought that I would lose the money spent on registration and one month’s time on nothing, I got an e-mail saying my company has been registered under the name I wanted to use in the first place. Apparently some employees do not know how to do their job.
What is needed to be said in conclusion, that you may try to act as a cutting-edge, modern and efficient e-system that revolutionaries the way we live, but you can’t ignore the silliest inconveniences in your system, because they define your system, they are your system. Once you address the issues that are basis for problems, you will be able to create a truly quality service/product. In another words, don’t fucking judge a book by its cover. If you don’t know how to do business, e-commerce will not help you, if you don’t know how to run a government e-voting is not going to make it more efficient, if you suck at filming expensive red cam is not going to help you. Amen.
On a brighter note, I provide you with fail compilation video.