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Hipstamp And The American Philatelic Society Announce Strategic Partnership

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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 12/06/2022   08:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is a debacle and I am not renewing my membership at this time as my own way of protesting current leadership in which I have zero confidence. The ASDA saga along with the HIP deal cemented it for me. IMHO a change at the top is necessary.
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Posted 12/06/2022   12:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ScottEnglish to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
All --

Unfortunately, I had a family emergency in mid-November that took me out of the office for two weeks through the Thanksgiving holiday. This created some issues with testing, and we missed a payment processing we would have flagged if tested earlier. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and there are stamps showing on the site because there is no development server for offline testing. I understand that's no excuse, and given the circumstances, I would have rather been here testing with our team.

Please accept my apologies for the delay in going live. StampStore is still operational, and buyers continue to make purchases as we speak. If you're interested in shopping online, please visit: https://classic.stamps.org/stampstore

Scott

We will update you as events progress.

***Added link - Mod***
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Posted 12/07/2022   09:25 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Morning Scott,

Sorry to hear about the family emergency. You had your priorities in correct order. The family always comes first. Hopefully things are on the upswing for all now.
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Posted 12/07/2022   12:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ScottEnglish to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for the kind note. For transparency, my father passed away unexpectedly, and I had to get back home to help my mother with funeral arrangements and support her moving forward. We're still going through a process, but I returned as quickly as possible.

We have a survey going out today that asks for feedback on several issues, including the proposal to merge the APS and ASDA. I hope folks take the time to participate, and you have my pledge that we will share the information and listen. I do value our membership and all they do.

Scott
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Posted 12/07/2022   12:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
there are stamps showing on the site because there is no development server for offline testing





Also while all you good and kind folks at the APS headquarters seem to function for the organization, that does not mean you as a group are good at the art of QA or user acceptance testing. You should be okay for Beta testing.

QUESTION SCOTT:
(My condolences for your loss.)

Who or what entity will be handling the 1099K reporting for the APS Stamp Store (especially in Hip partnership) as well as the circuit sales when you, the APS collect and send out more than $600 annually to various sellers? Likewise will you or HIP now be collecting sales taxes as allowed now on internet sales sent to certain (most) states?
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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 12/07/2022 12:59 pm
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Posted 12/07/2022   1:29 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I assume that they cannot have their own test server(s) because much of the code/hardware belongs to HS. I doubt HS would simply hand over their IP to APS for the purposes of setting up a test server (nor does APS have the internal IT people to do this).

I also assume that HS would have been willing to establish an independent test server for APS but it certainly would not have been free. Additionally, in testing on an independent test server would not emulate actual load and traffic (at least without very large costs). Even to a layperson, it should be apparent that the only feasible test setup would be on one of HS existing servers.

Lastly, doing the testing on the production box removes the risk of having to port everything over once testing is complete.

Note: I agree that APS is utilizing a 'less than ideal' testing process here. But I think that this is a unique situation and the relationship itself has a number of 'trade-offs'.

In my opinion, and what I have advocated for the last 15 years, is the ideal solution where APS hires and grows internal IT resources. I have always felt that 'content delivery' is a core competence for APS. Outsourcing a core competence is rarely a good idea for any organization.
Don
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Posted 12/07/2022   2:15 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In my experience, a characteristic of the British civil service over the past twenty years has been pressure on budgets, especially headcount. Departments have, instead, employed consultants, often at huge rates, under programme spend, about which the Treasury appears more relaxed. Aside from the dubious economics, this has meant that, not only have civil servants not developed skills in new areas, but also that the consultancy is both intimately involved in the design of programmes and perfectly placed to use its retained and exclusive expertise to deliver them. Hmm.
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Posted 12/07/2022   2:21 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is particularly common for IT contractors to recommend solutions which help keep the customers 'locked' into only their services. They simply recommend and configure their original quotes to direct customers to proprietary solutions and make switching IT services very difficult. (aka 'job security')
Don
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Posted 12/08/2022   06:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
IMHO a change at the top is necessary.


The ED supposedly operates under the expressed approval of the APS Board so
if someone has a gripe, one should start there. Any change would start with board and their policy.



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Al
Edited by angore - 12/08/2022 06:50 am
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Posted 12/08/2022   07:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The ED supposedly operates under the expressed approval of the APS Board so
if someone has a gripe, one should start there. Any change would start with board and their policy.


My opinion is that a year or two or more should not be wasted in process to make a change. It is not a government or union job.

We know about Hip and ASDA. One of my other concerns is what we may not know about. There are other things such as the organization being top heavy and lagging recruitment during COVID when many people actually returned to the hobby. It feels like a missed opportunity.

But sticking to this topic, the temporary absence of one man who is non-IT (If I am mistaken in this let me know), should have had little impact on the Hip rollout which has gone poorly by any measure. The organization should have been able to still function and complete tasks and goals.

Finally, Scott has my sincere condolences for his loss. Both of my parents are gone and I know that pain well.
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Posted 12/09/2022   10:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ScottEnglish to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
We did not lag in recruitment during the pandemic. New applications for 2020 and 2021 were higher than any year since the dues were increased in 2008. Our dues-paying membership grew from 2020 to 2021.

We remained fully operational in 2020 - despite being shut down for two months. That same year, we paid off the debt. And before I see someone talk about estates, Bob Mason's estate paid half of that mortgage. The rest came from cash set aside from year-over-year operational efficiencies at the APS during my tenure.

As for the ASDA merger discussion, I think folks should judge the whole process rather than speculate on the gossip that I read from a select few. The Board will get a recommendation soon - but my objective has been to develop a plan to better protections for collectors online and elsewhere. If the ASDA merger does not advance that discussion, I will offer a different proposal. There are other options worth considering.

As for the testing, I am not the critical path, but I flagged the issue and made the necessary operational changes to get us back on track. Testing of the payment processing system has been addressed, and the team is putting some final functions in place, but we will launch live next week.

My appointment ends in December 2023, and if I seek reappointment, the President will have to make the appointment, and the Board will have to confirm it. When my reappointment came up in 2021, I rejected a longer term and would only agree to that term. There is no hidden message there, but I am transparent.

If folks notice, there is a directional thread between the HipStamp deal and a discussion about increasing buyer protections online. Market integrity is one of the six founding principles of the APS. Unfortunately, that mission did not evolve with time. All I am asking folks to do is contribute to how to get there. I understand there will be a chorus of "you're doing it wrong" without constructive suggestions, but I engage on these forums to listen and learn. I doubt any of my predecessors did that. It takes a thick hide sometimes.

Scott


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Posted 12/09/2022   10:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
It takes a thick hide sometimes.


Amen to that.
As just an onlooker, I am vastly impressed with your demeanor during the discussions.
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Posted 12/09/2022   11:09 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
.
Quote:
..I understand there will be a chorus of "you're doing it wrong" without constructive suggestions, but I engage on these forums to listen and learn. I doubt any of my predecessors did that. It takes a thick hide sometimes.


Agreed but would extend that beyond philatelic forums to virtually any public, online presence.

Scott has significant political experience, and I assume he has grown his thick hide over time. Surely South Carolina politics is as 'rough and tumble' as the APS.
Don
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Posted 12/09/2022   11:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ScottEnglish to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
As just an onlooker, I am vastly impressed with your demeanor during the discussions.


Thank you, I appreciate that.


Quote:
Scott has significant political experience, and I assume he has grown his thick hide over time. Surely South Carolina politics is as 'rough and tumble' as the APS.


Far worse. I was ranked as the third most hated man in SC politics three years in a row, and my nickname was "Dr. No." The Lt. Governor called me a liar on national television. He had to eat those words later during impeachment hearings. There is a long list of those stories.

Most of the APS members have been amazing, warm, friendly, and helpful. I am thankful for that.

Scott
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Edited by ScottEnglish - 12/09/2022 11:37 pm
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Posted 12/10/2022   01:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add caspian65 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think it's great to have APS representation here. As a member, it's nice to see frequent interaction, other than reading the magazine once a month.

Filled out the survey, hope some good feedback is received.
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