Two Observations : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

A long post on another forum included two observations along these lines:

1. Americans have real difficulty seeing past their own shores. 2. Compliance questionnaires are worse than worthless.

To expand on these comments: I would guess that many if not most people on this forum have traveled extensively. Even so, I'll bet that as a group we do have real difficulty in comprehending the world beyond our shores. I know I do sometimes.

Now if you have not read the thread below about Italy's treatment of y2k, you really need to. It's nothing new to the regulars. By all press accounts Italy's computer systems are on track to crash and burn.

Once you have internalized the possibility that Italy may become a temporary dark spot on the globe during January, let's look backwards.

Remember Long Term Capital Management? I had never in my life heard of this group until they almost caused the financial world to collapse. Their difficulty in clearing their own transactions had the limousine and Lear Jet crowd singing soprano until the Fed, (that's right, the central bank of the United States of America), stepped in force creditors to prop up this handful of investors. Reportedly, failure to do so would have caused worldwide financial collapse.

LTCM is not a large group. My understanding is that it is a handful of men. At the time, I could not comprehend how the world economy in 1998 could rest in the hands of a few high-rolling investors tucked away in a nondescript office in Greenwich. But apparently it did. I still don't understand it.

But, being the pitiful dullard that I am, I have drawn the conclusion that if 8 or 10 overly aggressive middle-aged guys in Connecticut can bring down the world, then the entire country of Italy plunging into chaos (at least from a business and banking standpoint) could have even worse consequences. In other words, your going to have real trouble persuading me that the Italian economy is less critical than the some poker club in Greenwich. You might be absolutely right. You might call me a rube. You might get a bunch of Havana smoking, Concorde flying, helicopter skiing 30 year olds laughing in my face about their smarts and my stupidity, but they're going to have a real hard time persuading me.

So much for the dangers of nationalism.

The next issue is much shorter and I will simply recap what the writer in the other forum postulated.

"If you send out 1500 supplier questionnaires, how may will you get back which state that the supplier is not compliant and does not expect to be compliant before January 1,2000?"

-- Puddintame (, May 14, 1999


Damn it, Puddintame....I am all prepared and now I have this terrible urge to go out and buy more s'ghetti sauce and pasta!! Seriously, I think anyone who is dumb enuff to go to Italy for the Jubilee, deserves to get stuck there at roll over. People have to use some sense about this thing or they are going to get a fatal byte from it.


-- Taz (Tassie, May 14, 1999.

Now would be an excellent time to start your stash of imported Italian olive oil. Methinks it will not be available again for years...

-- Doug (, May 14, 1999.

I think your missing the point, he'e not talking about being in Italy on January 1 but that any one country could be the straw that breaks the economic back. Let me tell you a thing or two about Italians. I is one and if there were any place I like to be on January 1/00 its with my family, they were the first people to bring dehydrated food (pasta) to the western world, if always have a variety of dehydrated meats around and lots of tomatoes, with a good supply of non hybrid seed. They are generally very independant and never trust governments or banks. If anything they will survive better then most.

-- Justhinkin com (, May 14, 1999.

Italy? How does it function anyway?

I've been there. It's organized confusion on the best of days, like much of Europe (outside of say, Germany, Austria, Switzerland & a few others). My guess is that if all the computers in Italy went south tomorrow, it would be a while before anyone even noticed. Things might even improve. ;->

-- still (missing@the.gelato), May 14, 1999.

La Cosa Nostra's wealth is digital. Fer how long? I bet their Y2K conversations with da bank go a little differently than the average yank's.

-- follow 'da money (track@it.sie), May 14, 1999.

Italy has proven to the world we don't need governments. If the government shut down no one in Italy would notice and nothing would change. Wouldn't that be nice? They have visited me in this country and have found that we work to hard keeping the government employees employed and not doing enough for our families. Italians work for the family because at the end that is all you can count on. The family is the life blood of the community. Believe me when things got rough (out of work, depression, job insecurity) my family was there, food, money, encouragement. I certainly didn't get that from any goverment).

-- Justhinkin com (, May 14, 1999.

As with ANY survey requiring a response, out of 1500, look for LESS than 2% return. A 2% return would be considered successful.

The other problem is that out of that 2%, there is usually much information that is incorrect, bogus or not provided for lack of knowledge or for security.

It is ridiculous to make accurate analysis of a given situation based on such numbers, but it's done on a daily basis, every day in the ad and PR industry. This is done to sell business plans, promotions, investments and assurances.

The same is true with Y2K "compliancy" data.

Ad agencies and PR firms extrapolate data from minute percentages, and then draw conclusions to support whatever result is desired to sell goals, awareness and marketing programs. It's inconclusive science, but it works becauses THERE'S NO WAY TO ACCURATELY POLL EVERY BUSINESS to achieve the data required, so extrapolated data and conclusions are used to provide reality grouding for little more than forecasts and hypothesis.

Y2K is a tad more exacting on it's requirements.

I see corporations, utilities and government employing the same PR techniques on reporting Y2K compliancy.

That's the stuff Norm posts on an ad nauseum basis.

The questions asked regarding such claims is : "How did you arrive at that conclusion?" "What was the criteria used to determine who would receive the survey?" How many targets exist in the market you need to survey? "How many surveys were sent out?" "How many were returned?" "What % of follow-up and independent verification of data provided was done?"

Those are just the basics. But ask yourself, the next time you read a press release or an article claiming compliancy...would that same report and the data contained therein be accepted without scrutiny by venture Capitalists, investors or a bank for a loan?

-- INVAR (, May 14, 1999.

INVAR, my point is that it doesn't matter how many questionnaires a company sends out, no supplier is going to claim noncompliancy.

Justthinkin, I agree with you on the Italian people. Very resilient people and very resilient "infrastructure." But the banks are computerized. Italy has its own limosine and Lear Jet crowd. I tend to think they'll have some trouble meeting their obligations.

By the way, I wouldn't want to be a tourist in Italy come January. But if I were a native of Italy, I doubt I would care too much about rollover.

-- Puddintame (, May 14, 1999.

Your right justputintime about the lear jet group. But that brings up an interesting point. I've only seen discussions on public transit etc. I wonder what is being done to the Lear jets for the private group. Has anyone seen anything on that? y2kaok

-- justthinkin com (, May 14, 1999.

I wonder just how many countries are in the same boat.(Titanic)

-- Mike Lang (, May 14, 1999.

Absolutely right Puddintame.

Just illustrating the reality of polling/PR data acquisition to emphasise the absurdity of compliance claims.

-- INVAR (, May 14, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ