Analyzing Yardeni -- "IT Crowd Foresees Y2K Crisis" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Sorry to start another thread but the earlier one had a confusing title and seemed to be mainly a vehicle for displaying the report (link, someone).

In general, Yardeni transmits the non-Koskinen (ie, useful) recent news, nearly all of which is long familiar to denizens of this forum. Clearly, his own pessimistic estimates remain in place, though everything is relative. Mainly, he still apparently expects a recession with "only" 5% chance of depression.

The most interesting part of the report is the ITAA survey. Noting that at least 43% of respondents worked for companies >100M (14% of the total sample didn't say) and 22% are executive management level (yeah, I know, that could be interpreted two ways):

.. 87% believe Y2K is a "crisis" for the "nation and the world.

.. 52% believe Y2K will hurt their company

.. While "only" 34% have currently experienced Y2K failures under operating conditions, 21% of THESE have involved database file corruptions, not just exchange errors (note: multiple error types permitted so percentages of problems greater than 100 overall). Compare this to arguments on this forum about banking database corruption. This percentage bothers me greatly. Maybe the banking mavens need to have the challenge turned around and be charged to answer why there WON'T be 21% database corruption as a matter of course.

.. Note also: of the systems experiencing problems, 25% found errors in tested/certified systems requiring rework. How bad is not said and probably can't be known before next year.

.. Note also: of the systems experiencing problems, 28% found errors in commercial software ADVERTISED as "Y2K ready". This is a hideous statistic, though again, its criticality cannot be determined.

.. 71% have experienced SYSTEM failures under simulated or test conditions. Yummy.

(SIDE COMMENT: The fact that respondents consider the overall problem a crisis is not necessarily disconnected from the statistics just quoted .... !)

.. on the more positive side, 71% are performing contingency planning as a top corporate priority.

.. 44% will stop doing business with suppliers not considered Y2K compliant.

.. 35% are stockpiling critical materials and supplies in anticipation of Y2K shortages. That's a good move for all of us but pretty intense. Usual comments about strange diff between corporate good citizenship and us Your-done-ites who are, um, preparing, apply.

.. Last but not least, 59% believe their local communities are NOT taking adequate steps to prepare for Y2K contingencies.

Yes, all the usual disclaimers apply ("Would you rather they weren't planning, fixing, etc? NO.")

Keeping in mind this measures IT perceptions and opinions as well as facts experienced to date (failures), it is NOT where we want to be on April 13, 1999 as Yardeni makes clear by his own choice of title:

"IT Crowd Foresees Y2K Crisis"

To the pollys, answer this: granted the good news, this detailed survey of our/my professional peers is extremely pessimistic. How do you plan to dismiss it? To my companions on this thread, cheer up (?), we are among the majority in our profession.

To all others on this board: read the lines, read between the lines and ratchet up your preparations to the next level. I could perform more interpretation on above (implications on economy if 52% of companies and that's ONLY in the well-prepared U.S. are hurt; implications of changing supply chain partners in these numbers; implications of the failure types themselves ...) but let's leave that for our mutual dialogue throughout the day.

Finally, as always (and Yardeni points this out), the gov-media refusal to address reality is disgraceful.

-- BigDog (, April 13, 1999


Today's anonymouse Westergaard Wall Street columnist makes an interesting comment,

"I have gotten several queries on why I have chosen to remain anonymous. I am employed by an investment bank which has become increasingly paranoid about Y2K, despite the fact that it is not incorporating Y2K into any of its forecasts or estimates. (This, by the way, is true of almost all of the investment banks, not just mine)."

Keep in mind this guy is certainly known to Westergaard HIMSELF, who selected him to write for the site. Interesting opinion, FWIW, eh? Squares with common sense, at a minimum. Yardeni speculated last year that a number of his colleagues are a lot more bearish than they let on, but dare not go public and are letting him be the "token alarmist." Again, FWIW.

-- BigDog (, April 13, 1999.

Here's a little tidbit in relation to your second posting, BigDog:

Last week I met with a financial analyst at VERY major financial firm regarding money I had received from a pension plan. The sum was paltry, but I was debating whether to take 20% off in taxes and the lump sum or whether to put the money into an IRA. My analyst thought I should put the IRA into stocks, but I expressed some dismay over the inflated stock market, and made my fears of a crash plain. He then, on his own initiative, brought up Y2K, though I had not made any direct reference to it. It was clear from studying his face that he is worried about Y2K. "We're supposed to be compliant," he said, "but no one knows what is going to happen." He told me to keep my December statement as hard proof. I was astonished that he brought this up; it seemed remarkably honest. He also said that he thought that bank runs would probably not occur, because the people with the most money would not be running the banks. It was sort of an elitist thing to say, yet it was interesting to contemplate. I mentioned that I had heard that Henry Kissinger is taking all his money out of the bank, and he responded calmly that each person would be making his or her own personal decision about Y2K. He himself is not going to take his money out of the bank, or so he said, and he seemed to think the stock market would survive a crash, that it was still a good investment!

-- Bee (b@b.b), April 13, 1999.

Bee -

You might want to follow up with him at some point and note the following, perhaps using the good old "I Got Good News, and I Got Bad News" method -

Good News: That Henry Kissinger story about him taking all his money out has not been verified at all. It appeared as almost a "gossip item" in what used to be a pretty good newspaper, The London Times. No one's come forward to corroborate it.

Bad News: Current fractional reserve policy means that it won't require "the folks with the most money" to cause a serious shortfall at the banks. Someone else can no doubt quote the actual numbers, but it's some trivial amount like $2,000 per family taken out that would remove all the cash.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 13, 1999.

"We're supposed to be compliant," he said, "but no one knows what is going to happen."

BigDog if you read 2000 The Year of Fear you will see the part about my father talking to a cousin of mine that happens to be the president of a large bank back east. Make that Melon bank and his name is Jeff. He did say "no one knows what is coming" and he is also worried about critical vendors. Norm and Y2k Pro can say what they want however the fact remains that there still isn't enough light to know 100%. What we can see doesn't look good. Thank you for the analysis of the report, I enjoy reading your threads. Take care of your self. Tman

-- Tman (, April 13, 1999.

TMan --- Your stories are quite cool. Made me think of doing my own, actually. I'm a little surprised this thread hasn't drawn more activity. I find the survey extremely enlightening, not only as a guide to perceptions but as a first read on what many organizations are finding with respect to remediation results, testing results, error types, etc. I guess it's not, what?, controversial enough for the forum today?

-- BigDog (, April 13, 1999.

Yardeni's comments about the "upbeat" article which reported that 87% of the IT- related folks interviewed there expected a crisis here and around the world was so dry it was pretty funny. How anybody could have quoted that figure and have a story be UPBEAT about the subject is beyond me.

A sad thing to report, speaking of the media. Yesterday morning driving home at 6:30am, a major Dallas radio station announced a news story for "those of you worried about Y2K." I waited through commercials to hear it. The DJ fellow -- who is just slightly stupider than a sand crab -- read a couple pieces of an article about the FAA's recent testing in Denver. His sidekick DJ, after he read the part saying that the test was a success, said in that I-love-Lucy extreme spoof voice, "You mean planes DIDN'T FALL FROM THE SKY?!" I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe these morons were on the radio going on like this for millions of people in the DFW area. Then the fellow went on to say that he used to be worried but now he knows that "Y2K Believers -- well -- let's just say I'm beginning to see the light...." indicating that the stories "believers and worriers" have make no sense, that even good news that ought to make everything all better still leaves them saying they're worried, etc. He is not worried about anything except our sanity apparently.

In a fit of quite unspiritual wrath, I sincerely hoped that at Y2K he's a white boy living in Dallas metro in a bad part of ethnic town. A good dose of terror prior to his death might make me feel better thinking about it in retrospect.... How many people, who know nothing about Y2K and were driving to work, may lose MONTHS off "getting it" (or forever) thanks to this bozo? What an abuse of power, when the people with the power in the media to influence so many others are so often braindead jerks.

Yardeni and a few others restore my faith in humanity. Honest human beings, good at what they do, not claiming to be expert at anything they're not, doing what they can to share information. That's a good thing. Like Yourdon -- for all the people hassling him, and regardless of Y2K's results, in the end I am going to regard him as a man who did what I hope I would have done in his place.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 13, 1999.

PJ, I think you have been extremely insulting to sand crabs. I think they're a cut above most media folk, especially that DJ.

Big Dog, it does seem the controversial threads draw more "activity," but maybe it's because more people feel strongly about controversial threads, than threads they tend to agree with, like this one.

To me, Yardeni is still the most honest and credible source of information. But maybe that's because he plays into my paranoia. I'm not an IT person, but I agree with your suggestion to "ratchet up your preparations to the next level," although I'm not sure what that might be. More beans and rice maybe?

-- gilda jessie (, April 14, 1999.

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