Worried About Y2K? Get a Life.

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Well, folks, that's the headline from an upcoming (03/29/99--notice the 2 digits. . .)story in "Fortune Magazine."

Here are some choice excerpts for you to chew on.:

Worried About Y2K? Get a Life. BY Stewart Alsop

The Y2K Problem isn't a problem. I would like to say that it's one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on mankind, but Y2K isn't even that: Hoaxes are created by people, and I can't imagine who would have had the foresight to plant this grand joke a few decades ago. Once upon a time, I looked forward to greeting the new millennium with a sense of adventure and anticipation. But now everyone seems to be getting very, very uptight about Jan. 1, 2000, and I've noticed that I've even begun to dread it myself. So I'm taking action: I am declaring publicly that I am not a believer in the Y2K problem. And if you grant that I am something of an expert in technology issues, maybe my declaration will help you to enjoy a worry-free millennial experience.


After talking this over with a whole slew of programmers, venture capitalists, and others, I'll make an educated guess that the geeks have already taken care of whatever problems might exist. I've concluded that the Y2K problem is merely the newest version of the Michelangelo Virus. A few years ago the Michelangelo Virus was supposed to cause a worldwide disruption in computer systems on Michelangelo's birthday. Hundreds of articles were written about the virus. People offered all kinds of solutions. Experts recommended that people stockpile for the date. And when the date finally came, absolutely nothing happened. To this very day, I'm not even sure there was such a virus. No one's shown me any proof that the Y2K problem is anything more dangerous than that Michelangelo Virus.

(End of excerpt)

About the author:

STEWART ALSOP is a partner with New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm. Except as noted, neither he nor his partnership has a financial interest in the companies mentioned. He may be reached at stewart_alsop@fortunemail.com; the column may be bookmarked at www.fortune.com/technology/alsop/. Quote: THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR. FINDING A "SOLUTION" TO THE PROBLEM" HAS CREATED A MINI-INDUSTRY.

Hmmmm. . .I bet this guy will be getting a lot of email. 'Careful though, if you're looking for venture capital. . .

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 17, 1999


It isn't about get a life, it is about save a life. The world won't end; at least not for Stewart's WJ types. It may not end for anyone. We do need to worry about those who depend on the company store for survival. This will not bother the Journal types. It should bother actual humans.


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1Xs4Y7@aol.com), March 17, 1999.


-- Tman (Tman@IBAgeek.com), March 17, 1999.

Anybody know an estimate of the prevalence of the Michelangelo virus prior to its activation date?

-- Bill Byars (billbyars@softwaresmith.com), March 17, 1999.

What is his agenda? Guarantee you he's got some angle on this thing to go spouting off like that. Guarantee you it adds up to $$$$.

-- @ (@@@.@), March 17, 1999.

"I'm taking action: I am declaring publicly that I am not a believer in the Y2K problem."

That is just SO funny.

I'm going to take action too. I now publicly declare that I do not believe that Stewart Alsop has one iota of sense...

-- pshannon (pshannon@inch.com), March 17, 1999.

Oh, gee, gosh, I spose we'll now have to consider Mitch Ratcliffe a doomer. And I'm going to spin around like a top, chanting, "Y2K isn't real." "Y2K isn't real." "Y2K isn't real."

There. I feel soooooo much better.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), March 17, 1999.

Obviosly STEWART is seeking attention and inviting scathing email. Unfortunately I couldn't resist - something I don't usually do btw. My reply to STEWART.

Well STEWART, are you willing to bet your life on that assumption. People like you scare me much more than a thousand Gary North's (and yes, I think he is a nut case extremist). If I thought my future depended on people like you I would absolutely be afraid. Very afraid.

Of all the things that I have read on this (very real by the way) computer problem, I have to say STEWART, that your poor summation and analysis of the 'no problem' is the most absurd.

Why don't you go tell our Government, our banks, our telephone companies, our electric companies, other countries, etc., etc., well you get the idea STEWART tell them they have all wasted billions of dollars and thousands of man hours on nothing more than a big hoax - a grand joke

-- flb (fben4077@yahoo.com), March 17, 1999.

This dude sounds like his whole world revolves around money. Sounds like he's the one that should get a life ;-)

-- Tim (pixmo@pixelquest.com), March 17, 1999.

I agree with Tman. Bardou

-- Bardou (Bardou@baloney.com), March 17, 1999.

LOL, pshannon. Interesting comment about the $$$. Perhaps this guy--being a venture capitalist--already has enough $$$$ to BUY a post Y2K life, if it turns out badly. I do wonder about the agenda. 'Bet somebody figures it out.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 17, 1999.


I sincerely hope those billions of dollars weren't wasted. Alsop's faith in the power of money to cure computer ills might be a bit extreme, but I'll go along with him partway and choose to believe that the geeks have in fact accomplished a lot. It's been a couple of months since I've seen a single geek testify that his project is hopeless. And the number of geeks saying *other* people's projects are hopeless is dwindling fast.

Sometimes everyone escapes alive from real fires.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), March 17, 1999.

Why the hell would a working programmer say it is hopeless as long as he is getting a paycheck? That would be suicide. A lot of those guys are probably going to work until Dec. 31, cash in their chips, and head to Costa Rica or somewhere. After the meltdown, some of them might even convince these companies that it isn't hopeless, and it is worth paying them a 300% increase!

-- @ (@@@.@), March 17, 1999.

Worried About Y2K? Get a Life.

Thanks, but I already have one.

Now, I'm going about securing that life in the future.


- Got Life Insurance?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 17, 1999.

This is an obvious play on "free advertising". Oldest trick in the book. Look for quite a few people/firms to do this as well. Pick a highly public, controversial topic, and make statements that will be published, along with your company name, address, and type of work you offer. Make yourself look like some kind of authority or professional, or that you have alliances with such people.

Viola'....free advertising worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Y2K ramifications will be his just rewards.

Mr. K

-- Mr. Kennedy (oldtimer@free.press), March 17, 1999.

Gee Guys -

You don't suppose this guy is a lawyer in disguise looking for business as in suing all those companies for spending their investors hard earned money on something as make-believe as Y2K?

-- Valkyrie (anon@please.net), March 17, 1999.

It's obvious where Alsop's bread is buttered. He slops from the same trough as Ratcliffe and tow's the corporate line. Ziff Davis has the most to lose if panic over y2k occurs. This isn't a troll for advertising. This is a dead serious propaganda strategy. A nice riposte would be to cancel all Ziff Davis subscriptions if you haven't already.

-- Cancel Ziff Davis (not@ziffdavis.com), March 18, 1999.

this could be a sonar ping by the folks he works for - just to see what's out there / test the mood of their customer base...that sort of thing.

just a thought,


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), March 18, 1999.

Stewart Alsop is fairly well known in the personal computer world.

Not everyone with Silicon Valley roots gets it, by a long shot.

Let's see, Time, Fortune ... is Newsweek next?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 18, 1999.

BTW, for some additional Stewart Alsop (remember InfoWorld?) perspective ...

Check out a Venture Capital web-site, Red Herring


And search on Alsop for some old info ...

http://search.redherring.com/ query.html?col=1news&col=2inv&col=3vc&col=4evnt&col=5mag&qp=&qt=Alsop& qs=&qc=&pw=100%25&ws=1&qm=0&st=1&nh=10&lk=1&rf=2&rq=0&oq=&

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 18, 1999.

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