Oh Boy!

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I read this at Douglass Carmichael's page http://www.tmn.com/~doug

(Begin clip fair use invoked)

---On the plane to the state of Washington ( I am writing this note on the plane..). Guy next to me, rings in the ears, long hair, big 14 plus inch IBM laptop of the kind you don't buy except to make a statement and make presentations, or have discretionary income, and I say "Are you by any chance involved with any y2k stuff?" "Well, actually I am the head of y2k for XX university in Chicago." "How is it going?" "We will be ready, making real progress." "What about the students coming back at the beginning of that first semester in Jan 2000?" Never thought about it. Maybe I'll mention it to the President" "What about utilities?" We've written to all our suppliers, they say they will be ready." "If they say they are 80% compliant what do you sense that really means?" "That they are 40%." "What about your interface with the U.S. Department of Education for student loans?" " I think its on the list. I just started last February we are still catching up. We are working on contingency plans. Paper and pencil stuff." "How many pencils?" Don't know. Let's see (makes plausible mental calculation.) "Where will they come from?" "Your right, better start ordering them now." "What if everyone does that? " "The manufactures will gear up." "What if you were one?" "Well, I wouldn't. It might not happen. Besides it would kill the market when its over.". "What about telephones?" "the tel company said they would be ready? What about electricity? That's facilities." "Do you think they are asking these questions?" "Well, we both report to the same person and I know he isn't asking those." (earphones go on, CD slips into his laptop, solitaire comes up on his screen) "Well, it will work out somehow.": (an hour later, as we land, "Thanks for the conversation. Let's trade cards."

(End clip)

This shows the whole problem in a glance, from managements non-grasp of the problem to the division of labor. This is just how it's happening at the place I work at. Half solutions for half percieved problems. Any one else see it this way?


-- Paul Cordes (latemarch@usa.net), December 14, 1998


It is just too scary for the average person to take in, even though -- as Carmichael demonstrates -- its not that hard to think through what the possibilities are. Douglass Carmichael has also written extensively about the psychological dynamics of the realization that Y2K cannot be fixed, since virtually all of our lives, we have really never known of any problem that could not be fixed, given enough time.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 14, 1998.

I have two good friends working on the VISA y2k team. At a party a couple of months ago "so how's it going?" .. "we're doing pretty good, things are winding down a little, we're way ahead of the game, testing next year pretty much" .... "so what do you think of y2k generally?".... "not a real problem, things will sort themselves out...."

By this time I think I'm in an episode of the Twilight Zone, these two are so clueless it's not even funny. Technically they are very competent. Everything else clueless. Neither read this forum or CSY2K. Neither know who De Jager or Milne or Hamasaki or North or Lord or Yardeni or Yourdon or Koskinen is. They don't read web sites. They have not read TimeBomb 2000 or Hyatt's book. Their department is primarily contractors, strangers hired a year ago to attack minute pieces of the puzzle. If they are all like my two buddies, and probably most are, we are in trouble.

I suspect it is no different in much of management in most organisations. Clueless.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), December 14, 1998.

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