1.5 million small businesses aren't doing anything at all...

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


interesting economic possibilities, no? Arlin

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), January 07, 1999


When I see statements like:

"We're not flying airplanes or building pacemakers," Nagle said. "It's not a major concern." Nagle expects to buy a new computer some time this year.

(and I see a lot of them) it is a good indication of how little the average business person understands Y2K. This person apparently 'knows' the problem is entirely in his PC hardware and that simply buying a new computer will be all he really needs to do. It just ain't so, Joe.

First, his computer may be fine. Does he know? Did he check out the basic box with the manufacturer? It may be that his computer will be fine or could get by with a cheap BIOS update. But has he considered that the software on which he depends must also be evaluated? Apparently not. How is his data stored? Will he have to convert/reformat any critical databases? Maybe he can simply get by with what he already has without too much trouble. Maybe not. But the elevator is not getting off the ground floor. He appears to have not even sucessfully conquered assessment. His vendors? His customers? His other equipment? Who knows? Be a cryin shame if he ends up dropping $3,000 on a new computer he didn't need and ended up missing the $4,500 worth of really critical stuff he did need. The problem here is that most business owners simply do not have the time it takes to give this problem the thought and consideration that it requires. Maybe he read Ziff-Davis' executive overview of "How To Protect Your PC from Y2K" and believes he now fully comprehends the problem in its entirety. Maybe 20 minutes of reading on an airplane. Besides, he's got other more important things to be thinking about. It is not the problems themselves that pose the greatest risk but our apparent inability to think things through and choose paths which allow us the maximum flexibility. This kind of narrow tunnel vision, when applied to Y2K will result in a great many unpleasant and UNNECESSARY surprises. And more than a little reckless/wasteful/ineffective spending. It's not necessarily HOW MUCH money you spent addressing your Y2K issues...but rather how EFFECTIVELY you spent it. Spending it effectively takes good research. Good research takes time. And time is running out. In the end, all disasters are local. Even if the vast majority of his community and peers sail through Y2K unscathed, he and his business may have their own little disaster, and for them, it may be TEOTBAWKI (the end of the business as we know it).

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), January 08, 1999.

Yes, but on the bright side if he understands the problem this poorly he's almost certainly using canned software, and provided it's not still running MS-DOS 5.0 stuff written by a company that's now out of business, upgrading to the latest Y2K-compliant version of the product may well be all theat's needed.

Plus, many small businesses aren't critically dependant on the computer. If it goes haywire, it just means doing everything more slowly using paperwork. It's medium to large size businesses that are the real worry (and of course, almost all small businesses depend on the large businesses for custom and/or supplies!)

You may be interested to know that a place I know quite well recently replaced its entire accounting software system and it (the conversion not the software itself) was a complete disaster. For about three months everything went back to paper-pushing. This was NOT a small organisation: multi-million turnover, several thousand employees. Result: a lot of aggravation for all concerned, a lot of suppliers paid late, a lot or supplies delivered late, a lot of begging of favours and ad-hocery, but nowhere near the end of the world. Gawd knows what the auditors will make of it! I expect this to become "normal" in 2000, and tolerance thresholds will increase simply because they have to.

Of course, not all organisations could have survived this mess, but that's usually because of competition from others rather than the mess itself. If everyone is in a mess, this doesn't apply to the same extent, though of course whoever digs themselves out first gains a huge advantage.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), January 08, 1999.


Same story appears in Silicon Valleys San Jose Mercury News (Understand, they dont print all that much about Y2K, and when they do its mostly Y2K neutral).

This kind of Y2K impact is is all Local, unless, of course they supply the big guys.

...some feel the problem is not serious enough to devote time or money to fixing, others aren't sure where to begin.

And WHO, in Washington, causes the prevailing newsmedia impact to send mixed messages? Hummm. Wise up Washington and change the happy face Y2K disinformation policies. Yes, you are helping with back- channel Y2K info leaking through the internet sieve. Its time to open up the front door!!!

Hint: Small business owners will be REALLY ticked off in the 2000 elections, if they still have the opportunity to point a collective finger and cast a united vote. Remember, they tend to be more creative and lead entrepreneurial businesses, impacting a large percentage of local folks who depend on their goods and services. They could get real creative with the political agendas. IF annoyed. Think state, local and Federal tax base.

Care to speculate on the global impact of small domino games, anyone?

And Nigel, lost business opportunity? Whoever digs themselves out first gains a huge advantage. Yes, theyll understand that one, easily.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 08, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ