Just finished my Y2K presentation to my company

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I'm the new Year 2000 project manager at my company. I was given an hour to present Y2K in all its glory to the company's senior management. My shining time to convert all of the DGI/DWGI...

During the hour, the company president asks me, "Why can't we just turn our computers some date other than January 1 on that day? Wouldn't we avoid the expense of replacing these computers?"

Though I've seen it many times, it hits me anew - there are so many people who just won't get this. I watched my mother recently express outrage that she couldn't post a bid on eBay. "It always worked before!" She is the consummate DGI.

So I watched the eyes around the room as I presented my heart out, this most passionate subject of mine.

"I recommend we tell our employees to prepare for two reasons: one, we have a responsibility to them since most can't understand this issue and don't have the resources to investigate it. And two, it's good for the company, because the fewer problems they have January 1, the more secure they will feel and the more likely they won't feel threatened by the new millennium."

Around the room I saw glassy eyes, bobbing heads, and one guy who was intensely interested.

It turns out that after I left, they discussed it. My manager came up to me and said, "Well, lots of opinion. You and Wayne (the company president) define the poles."

Of course, I'm thinking - Wayne has the most to lose. Besides, the WSJ has done little to prepare him for what he just received.

Fortunately, my manager has somewhat converted. He's now talking recession. And our MIS manager (former EDS employee) is on board, but still plans to rake it in from the bottomed-out stock market sometime late in 2000.

It's a process. Y2K takes seasoning and time and redundancy. Hopefully, I can use my position to help the employees of our company to begin to prepare themselves. I think that's my ultimate goal in this.

I'll be steering the contingency planning committee later this month. It'll be interesting to see the response there.

Never give up, never give up, never give up...

-- Brett (savvydad@aol.com), March 01, 1999


People keep telling me that y2k won't be a major problem because business executives are too smart, and they would never let something so awful happen to their companies.

I would say the response by your company's prez speaks volumes. Even if his type of "duh??" understanding represents only a small fraction of CEOs, extrapolate his view over 10 (or 20, or 40??) percent of corporate moguls, and this is shaping up to be a "Houston, we have a problem."

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), March 01, 1999.

Besides that fact that our society constructed a massive, complex digital infrastructure with a freakin' built-in expiration date, one of the biggest reasons y2k will most likely prove to be a disaster, is that the top-level decision makers in business and gov't circle truly do not understand IT.

They understand that IT has boosted efficiency, and consequently, profits. But most have no clue *how* it works, nor why two lousy little digits will be like cancer cells when the "one-one-oh-oh" date rolls around.

Your CEO, Wayne, has no clue that the RMS [your company name here] is steaming full speed through an iceberg field.

-- rick blaine (y2kazoo@hotmail.com), March 01, 1999.

Don't you just love the "set a different date" response? The crux of the problems is a bad date, we're going to fix with a bad date.

On the "People keep telling me that y2k won't be a major problem because business executives are too smart, and they would never let something so awful happen to their companies." I've heard that so many times I'm sick of it. My stock reply is Edsel, Studebaker, Nash, Kaiser-Frazer, Cord, Sterns-Knight, Rambler, Desoto, Packard, Hupmobile, etc.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), March 01, 1999.

Did you ever see the movie Barbarians at the Gate? It was a true story. Remember the blind hope of the smokeless cigarettes saving the company? Everyone in the company knew the project was doomed, except the CEO.

Oh yeah, how about "New Coke"?

-- anon (anon@nowhere.com), March 01, 1999.

Brett, Let's see, end of Feb 1999, you just presented, the executive sponsorship lacking. My deepest sympathy. I hope for your sake you negotiated a substantial six figure salary for accepting your loose loose position. Without exec on board you face an uphill battle and there is simply no time left to quibble. In the end if its a bump you didn't know what you were talking about and if its a ten you didn't make a strong enough case.

I told the headhunter, 6 figures and I'll need to meet with president and board prior to accepting. He said I was crazy, it doesn't work that way. I told him those are my terms, if he gets anything call. Needless to say he hasn't called. Needless to say I'm not surprised. But that was my price for a loose and 'hail mary' position. Good luck friend. jh

Not to be cynical, but that's what I've told the headhunter

-- john hebert (jt_hebert@hotmail.com), March 01, 1999.

Ken Seger -- add Tucker to that list. And he wasn't a pretty smart fella.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), March 01, 1999.

Make my "wasn't" read "was".... (Slipshod work there)

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), March 01, 1999.

I remember my first presentation to my company management. One of them came running into the room with an umbrella over his head (I'd already been given the "chicken little" title).

I spent 1/2 hour to the same bobbing heads & glassy eyes. What I found worked for me however, was to show them a failure. I suggested that they go run through a sample production cycle with 2000 information.

Well, they got to step 1 in the process and the system locked up tight. I had no further problem getting committment from management.

Getting them to buy into "warning" employees is a different story though . . .


-- Dave (Dave@nospam.pls), March 01, 1999.


Glad to hear you got to present. I volunteered to be our company's Y2K coordinator. Our company president is one of the technically brightest people I know, able to predict technology trends consistently and accurately in a fashion that amazes me. I presented him info, and he is convinced that: A. People will be finished in time B. Power and telco don't rely on date specific software C. That if there are problems they will be handled in a couple days D. That the best way to handle Y2K is buying and selling put and call stock options at the right time

After hearing him discount issues over and over, I have stopped communicating info internally. Folks at this company know where I stand, and I am happy to give them updated info when they request it, but I am over communicating this issue into a hostile and sceptical environment. My standard response to this unrelenting scepticism is, "We'll find out soon enough" I feel like I have generated awareness, but not commitment to preparation, but that at least I have proactively raised the issue.

Brett, glad to hear you had some folks nodding their head!

-- Plugging away (boss_is@DGI_big_time.com), March 01, 1999.


Bad news - from the first, then through each following post.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 01, 1999.

My former IT director had a monthly departmental meeting, usually featuring guest speakers. Last summer, over lunch, I asked him whether he would consider a meeting focusing on Y2K. The initial focus could be on the company's internal efforts, but the balance of the time would be for the "big picture", which we discussed at some length. He seemed to agree with me that there was cause for concern. He invited me to speak, and to put together a presentation.

I agreed. I had been researching Y2K for several months, and was very disturbed by what I was reading. I put together a draft copy of a Powerpoint presentation. It consisted of facts and quotes broken into several categories. Many of you have seen the presentation. At the time, the draft version consisted of roughly 50 slides.

I was a little nervous about giving the presentation, but I knew my material. I e-mailed him the draft version, and asked for his feedback.

Within an hour, without explanation, I was shown the door.


-- Steve Hartsman (hartsman@ticon.net), March 01, 1999.

OMG, Steve, how incredible to read about the beginning of your PowerPoint presentation. What stooooopid unethical imbeciles to let you, a prize with initiative, go! We are doomed, yes indeed. Thank God you persisted and pursued the truth!

This thread shows the hidden awful state of business. It's no longer a cliffhanger. Now we know. Moron lemmings.

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), March 01, 1999.

Brett....Do what you can, educate those that will listen, save your paychecks (cause you will be out of a job sometime first quarter 2000). You cannot educate those that will not listen. Sometime in fourth quarter, your boss will call you in raising hell and say "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME??? Of course it is your fault that your company now has three weeks to do four years worth of work. My advice to you .... DON'T jeapordize your family in their time of need to try and meet the company deadline. You can't do it, don't try! If by some silver bullet, you succeed, then you will be fired for "making it sound bad and scaring the help", if you don't succeed, it's gonna be your fault anyway. GOOD LUCK. I don't envy you. Lobo

-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), March 01, 1999.

My DGI story with a twist.

I worked with PC's and LAN's and one day about three years ago I began a long job for a "friend". Built a seriously complicated job processing/accounting system. This friend's business is in manufacturing of fine jewelry.

I'd been up on Y2k for a while but in August I stumbled on Ed & Jennifer's book, read it, and decided to speak to the owners of the firm. What I saw was the possibility of problems not as in as much as their systems, but problems in having Accounts Receivable exposure.

So over a two hour meeting we went over as much as possible, concluding with me asking them to consider reducing the AR exposure starting this August, as protection for the firm. They thought I was insane and had lost it. I mean really glassy eyes!

A few days later a representative from an alarm company came to call. I asked about their year-2000 compliance efforts. He stunned me by informing me that his company was going to have major problems with the half of their business that controls security in and about/inside of office buildings (card readers, computer controlled security). Seems as though most of the systems are written in dos, and running on 386 to 486 computers. When pressed by one of the owners of the firm about security for the jewelry industry in the city (the other half of the reps. business), it boiled down to; no telephones - no security, no electricity - no security. When asked what are the alternatives, he replied, "24 hour armed guard."

Now, what I had explained earlier - started to make sense.

After a while, the weekly copies of info from the GAO, North, Yourdon, Hamasaki, were met with - yeah, yeah, I know, I know. When asked what are you going to do? What are your plans? Blank look. We're talking an industry that has eight different types of insurance, high security, and no desire to plan for the obvious.

I had explained in our August meeting I was going to leave the area and relocate for good, in an area I am comfortable in. I at that time, projected leaving in August of this year. After about two months of the yeah, yeah, treatment, I decided to leave in January. It makes more sense to me to, work at getting myself prepared, than to work in an environment of no contingencies for the Y2k problem.

I believe you can only take so much of your own time working with people to help them see what the possibilities are. Then after they acknowledge the possible scenarios, and their not interested, it's time to move on.

What's the twist? DGI to GI to "GI but are not going to do anything," or maybe they will prepare at the last minute. I just hope they know when the last minute is..... and it's not too late.

Best Regards, Tom McDowell

PS to ED & Jennifer: Thanks! And Blackfoot/Clarkfork telcos are converting to new systems now, most empoyees are being required to work six days a week for a couple of months during conversion.

-- Tom McDowell (bullriver@montana.com), March 02, 1999.

For those doing presentations now, get a physical copy of the March issue of Dow Jones Investment Advisor. The title of the issue is Blackout! It has several articles on various aspects of Y2K from a financial point of view. The first article is Crashing the Party by Robert Clark. It is a DGI to GI story that should click with the senior management types. My copy was given to me by a major advisor at Prudential. I will also post this as a new thread since things get buried so quickly anymore.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), March 02, 1999.

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