My Y2K cluless buddies : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I recently left VISA in California, the world HQ. VISA and MasterCard started remediation of y2k problems several years ago, and have made a lot of progress. They both claim to be compliant. I would have to disagree, I could go into great detail about why I feel this way but I'm pretty fed up repeating myself and being shot down by DGI's or, more usually DWGI's.

Briefly, with VISA, there are 21,000 banks that interface with each other (via VISA, SWIFT etc.). Over 150,000 endpoints. It's now December '98, one year to go, not one bank is yet compliant. The vast majority of these 20,000 banks are non-US. The vast majority will be non-compliant. We will have the problem of imported data - in other words correctly formatted and parametered data thit is inaccurate or corrupt due to faulty y2k date arithmetic, which will cross-infect compliant and non-compliant banks alike. Result = chaos, banking meltdown.

That's the problem in a nutshell, it's so simple that the brains at VISA and MC do not seem to have figured this out. There is talk about isolating compliant banks to only talk to each other - HA!, this will be a pretty small club. Result = meltdown. There is talk about firewalls, can't be done. result = meltdown.

VISA has never tested it's compliancy, the only real test will happen in one year's time - period.

Which brings me on to my main point.

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 (, December 14, 1998


Oooops - clueless - duh.

-- Andy (, December 14, 1998.


Thanks for the heads up! Great post.

I totally agree with you about the cluelessness of management. After all, if they would have paid attention in the first place we wouldn't be in this mess.

Thanks Andy! Oh, and I didn't even notice the typo in the title.

Mike ==================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, December 14, 1998.

If their only source of y2K data is the mainstrean TV media, that's all they would know.

Sad, though, that being that close to the VISA Y2K mess (and having to fix it!) focused their eyes so deeply that they don't understand everyone is facing (but not solving) the same degree of problems.

It's THAT part of their innocent (lack of) awareness of the world that is frightening.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, December 14, 1998.

I have mixed emotions about their cluelessness (?). If they were aware of the seriousness of the situation would they give up and bug out OR bear down and dig in.

How can they not know who Yourdon is and be technically competent in a commercial environment? I don't get it.


-- MVI (, December 14, 1998.

Andy, I would like to inquire about your knowledge with regard to all banks doing business with Visa being non-compliant. Can you post more detail on how you know this?

-- Goldi (, December 14, 1998.

MVI I don't get it either but it is true - they both are caught up in the day to day stuff and have no grasp at all of the big picture, and were not particularly interested in my point of view (and hey, it was a party, we were all a little drunk, I left it at "wrong dudes, it's gona be a mess"). I spoke to one of them more recently, a Turkish guy who is building a house on the Bosphorous, I said, "you know, y2k, do some more research, it might be a good idea to go back this year rather than 2001" which he had planned to do.

As for Banks Goldi I get most of my information from Westergaard, Yardeni etc. and the Gary North links. Just go to the GN site and look at the Banking sub-section.

Link at

Imported Data will be the Achilles Heel:-

Subject: All Must Be Compliant, Or Else None Is Safe Link: Comment: Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig presented remarkably frank testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on July 30. In it, he described the number-one problem facing banks (and all other systems). This is the problem of interconnected computers. All of them must be compliant in 2000, as well as consistent with each other. The programmers must test their repairs by interfacing with all of their customers and all other banks they deal with.

What he did not say is that in order to do this, programmers must deal with a number of possible interconnections that approaches infinity as a limit.

The y2k problem cannot be solved. There is no agency with the sanctions required to police such an international coordinated conversion. It is a worldwide problem. There is no U.S. government agency that has imposed a plan of action on everyone. Also, there is no agreement as to the methodolgy of the repair: windowing, expansion, or encapsulation. The Federal Reserve has recommended a 2- digit approach (windowing), while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has recommended a 4-digit approach (expansion) (p. 8).

Here is THE problem: everything must be fixed for anything to be fixed in an interconnected system. Until there is a suggested theoretical answer -- there is none so far -- there is no practical solution to the y2k problem.

As Alan Greenspan said "Everything must be fixed 100%, 99% is not good enough..."

-- Andy (, December 14, 1998.

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