De Jaeger - "I am burnt out in every definition of that word, every aspect of that word," he said. "I make it one day at a time." : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

". . . And so, about 18 months ago, the world decided that Mr. de Jager, 44, was worth listening to. Last year, he left his home in Brampton, Ont., for 80 speaking engagements (at $7,500 a pop).

His Web site devoted to the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem gets more than a half-million visitors a month, he receives 200 E-mails a day, and has published dozens of articles and books.

In short, he has become famous and wealthy. And now, he can't wait for it all to end.

"This thing has become an obsession, and if someone uses that in the clinical sense, it doesn't bother me because I think it's true," he said. "This is a seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day job. I never stop thinking about this, and getting away is very, very difficult."

The pressure he feels as Jan. 1 approaches is compounded by controversy -- the fact that Y2K vigilantes now accuse him of letting down the side. Once branded a "dread merchant" (his words), he is now labelled a fraud for suggesting that the problem won't be as bad as some people think.

Statistics Canada released a report yesterday that appears to confirm his sunnier prognosis, but Mr. de Jager now describes himself as "a walking human cinder."

He complains that his weight is up and he is subject to mood swings. He says he is taking more and more time off.

"I am burnt out in every definition of that word, every aspect of that word," he said. "I make it one day at a time." . . . .

Mr. de Jager is among a smaller group of about a dozen who command widespread respect for thoroughly investigating the phenomenon and for not ringing alarm bells unnecessarily.

"Peter deserves a lot of credit for pioneering in the Y2K domain," said Capers Jones, who writes about the bug and is chairman of Software Productivity Research Inc. in Burlington, Mass.

Few paid attention at first to his warning in 1993 that the world was "accelerating toward disaster." It is a measure of the primitive state of the discussion that Mr. de Jager had no trouble claiming as the address when he started his Web site in 1995.

Now, he feels that the corner was turned some time in 1997. By then the financial and telecommunications industries were well on their way to dealing with their software, and other organizations -- even governments -- were starting to move.

By the end of last year, Mr. de Jager had concluded that the back of the problem had been broken. And that's when the trouble really started.

A few weeks ago, he posted on his Web site an article, titled Doomsday Avoided, in which he said that catastrophy scenarios were no longer apt. He explained that he had long since stopped worrying about the financial industry -- "my money will remain in the bank" -- and that he expected no disruption of telecommunications service.

He expressed concern about the power industry, but he concluded that although the problem had not been solved, "we have avoided the doomsday scenarios."

There were, as he puts it, a few dissenting voices.

Paul Barker, editor of Computing Canada magazine, was astounded. "Much of the content is questionable and the timing is all wrong," he wrote in an editorial.

Fellow Y2K analysts were irritated. "Peter has swung all the way from a doomsday scenario, which probably didn't exist in the first place, to an everything-is-fine scenario, which certainly doesn't exist now," said William Ulrich, president of Tactical Strategy Group of Sequoia, Calif., another Y2K expert.

"Of all people, Peter de Jager shouldn't be swinging on a pendulum. He should be balanced somewhere in the middle, giving credible information."

Joe Boivin, Mr. de Jager's closest rival as a Y2K prophet in Canada, said the recent comments reflect a narrow Canadian perspective. "Peter may have done himself a big disservice because his credibility has been challenged," said the 20-year veteran of the computer industry who left the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to start a Web site devoted to the Y2K issue.

Mr. Boivin (whom Mr. de Jager dismisses as a "minor player") agrees that there is nothing to support the looming-apocalypse notion for Canada. But he believes that problems overseas could cause riots and that the consequences of this turmoil could roll into Canada by April. . . .

Now, what's his bottom line? "I don't know what's going to happen. I know that we run a huge risk because we're dependent on computer systems and they were broke and we've done our best to fix them, but we don't know if we're going to get it all."

He professes to be weary of the whole debate with "conspiracy theorists posing as computer consultants."

He talks of the long weekends he has been stealing lately and even the occasional week when he has tried to leave the issue behind. He has bumped his lecture price up to $12,500 to try to price himself out of the market. "One of my goals," he said, glancing at the watch, "is that six months or a year after this is for someone to write 'Whatever happened to . . . ?'"


-- Andy (, May 03, 1999


Oops, de Jager...

I know a lot of folks hate and revile Gazza, but this is a classic commentary...


Peter de Jager says he's burned out on y2k.

It was a lucratiuve burning, says Globe Technology.

Now that he has reversed from doomsday to bumpmonth, critics are complaining.

Now, he says, he doesn't know what's going to happen.

So there it is. Six years on the rubber chicken lecture circuit, fees now at $12,500 a pop, and he doesn't know what will happen. So, what about everyone else? What are the non-experts supposed to think or do? Mr. de Jager hasn't a clue.

He says he will leave his money in the bank. I assume that means, "all the money that remains after I buy my tenth-ounce gold maple leaves." But maybe I'm reading too much into his words. If I am, let me substitute these words:

"Y2K giveth, and bank runs taketh away."

The story reports that Joe Boivin is critical of de Jager's shift. De Jager dismisses Boivin as a minor payer, the story reports. I see. A minor player. Boivin headed the y2k repair project of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce until he quit in 1997 to set up the Global Millennium Foundation to warn Canadians of the disaster and to offer sources for community action. He left a high paying career to save lives. He has had to fund the project; outside sources have not donated much money. He accepts no ads, unlike de Jager's Web site. You cannot find anything like this on Boivin's site:

"A variety of sponsorship programs are available for vendors that wish to list on the Year 2000 Information Center. Please contact Antoinette de Jager of de Jager & Company Limited at for additional information.

"These links are provided as a service of the Partnership to the computer industry and other interested parties. The Partnership does not endorse the listed entities, nor is it responsible for the content accessible through these links. Under no circumstances will The Partnership be held liable to any third party who may choose to rely on a listed entity, their products, or services."

But Boivin is a minor player, says de Jager. In one sense, yes: a minor player in the generation of ad revenue. A piker, in fact. He's a y2k programmer who put his own money where his mouth was, and did not get rich off of y2k doomsday warnings which he then renounced. He has moved up to a 10 rating on a Russ Kelly's scale of one to 10. Until he revised his estimate in March, I was the only 10.

On the other hand, you may be in charge of the 1999 annual convention of a trade association in which 80% of the members have not completed the y2k assessment phase. If so, you may want to bring in Mr. de Jager to calm the attendees. If this is worth $12,500, click here."

-- Andy (, May 03, 1999.

He took the money and that he's spread the message,he wants banking to last as long as possible before it crashes it's natural death.fradulent fractional reserve banking has had a long life and everything dies

-- zoobie (zoobie@zoob.zab), May 03, 1999.

poor zoobie, it must be terrible to be so ignorant.

if the banking system dies, you go with it. with out fractional systems....NO CREDIT. no credit, no business. you lose your job. too bad, but at least you have a roof over your head...what? no mortgage without...CREDIT?!? house! aha you say, I don't own I rent! what's that? the landlord kicked you out because HE can't afford to own your place outright? wow....too bad. really.

if you think there is class division now, you need to look at hard money societies. you either had wealth, or you didn't. period. rich land owner, or peasant/serf/slave.

don't like the system....stop bitching and go somewhere else.

-- (.`.`@.`.`), May 03, 1999.

It's amazing how a couple visits from the IRS and Revenue Canada can make someone change their tune. It's one of gov't's most effective tools.

DeJager's sudden about-turn, just when the banks and gov't began their PR campaign in earnest is to me, a sad commentary on the powers that be in our countries.

-- Some1Else (phoney@this, May 03, 1999.

No Zoobie, not everything dies. From the Havamal (an ancient Norse poem)

Cattle die,

Friends die

Thou thyself shalt die,

I know a thing

that never dies,

Judgement over the dead.

-- Ken Seger (, May 03, 1999.

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