Businesses not working on Y2K because "it's all hype" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Article in yesterday's San Diego Daily Transcript: Small Businesses Are Writing Y2K Problems Off as "Hype"

...According to the report, 84 percent of all small employers are directly exposed to a possible Y2K problem. In addition, 43 percent say that they are "very dependent" on the use of computers to operate their business. With the high susceptibility to the Y2K Bug, companies should be well on their way to completing their Y2K planning. Although many have taken necessary precautions, the survey shows more than a quarter of the companies exposed to Y2K do not plan to do anything about the problem. Respondents who do not plan to take action state the No. 1 reason they have not prepared is because they believe "the whole year-2000 problem is blown out of proportion."

The report lists several other similar reasons companies have not remedied the problem, including, "Y2K is just another way for somebody to get rich," and "If the problem affects me, I'll fix it."

In addition, 12 percent believed the problem would cost more to fix than any damage it would cause, while 10 percent think the problem will only afflict larger firms such as utilities.

The author of the report, William J. Dennis Jr. of the NFIB Education Foundation, summed it up: "Suspicion rather than resources seemed to be the primary generic motivation for inaction."

To all of you who have been communicating the message that "it's all hype": congratulations. You have been extremely successful in ensuring that a fairly significant percentage of small businesses will do nothing at all to address the problem. They will not pay to have their systems checked, let alone to get them fixed if any issues are identified. They will "Fix On Failure" (if they can), and not because they are really ignorant of the problem, but because the natural human tendencies to ignore bad news, and to procrastinate even when informed of bad news, have been strongly reinforced.

I have encouraged everyone I know to be simply be prudent, to truly review their potential exposures and take the necessary measures to reduce risks. I have worked hard at helping my friends and associates understand that their computer systems have an extraordinary capacity to "fall over" in unusual ways - when I worked in tech support early in my career, we used to marvel at some of the behaviors that the systems (and their users) exhibited.

Prudence, not panic. Never panic, nor doom. Just risks and risk management.

Now I read that over 20% (there's that Pareto number again) of small businesses "will not do anything" to address potential Y2K problems. Many of them would have done something, had they been encouraged to do so. Some of them now may suffer completely unnecessary failures, simply because the voices of the status quo and of "peace and safety" had the edge to start with, and have been much louder and more pervasive that those encouraging caution and preparation.

Congratulations. There are now less than 200 days until Rollover, and some small businesses will not have any contingency plans at all, because you've "spun" the message that ANY preparation is "Doom 'n' Gloom" and that "Y2K is all a bunch of hype". Your efforts have succeeded. Let us hope that all the remediation work that IS being done is equally successful, because as matters now stand, you've set up a large number of folks for failure.

Now I know why ED Yourdon, Stan, FM, and others are moving on. I'm tired, as well...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), June 23, 1999


Denial, procrastination, blind optimism.... Sounds a bit like the whole human race is selecting itself out of the survivial process.

Maybe Darwin was right. The roaches will inherit what's left. Maybe they'll even figure out how to open all those cans...

-- doomed (, June 23, 1999.

Flinton, Poole, Decker, Davis et al:

Do you feel you've had some part in this?

Are your proud ?

Do you feel successfull ?

-- George (, June 23, 1999.

George, you don't want to give those people you mention too much credit. I doubt that anyone in that 20% above knows any of those names.

Blame Koskinen and Clinton and Jane Garvey and their ilk. The leadership in both government and business was lacking and people will suffer and die as a result. State governments have been silent. County governments have been silent. Local governments have been silent. The Chamber of Commerce in most areas have remained silent.

There was just too much lose in credibility if you were viewed as a "wacko Y2k extremist"...even if all you tried to do was ask for people to be prudent thinkers and consider putting aside a little insurance.

However, the sad fact is that the ultimate responsibility should be placed on the shoulders of those responsible for the business. The SBA has made an effort to get people to take the problem seriously. They are in denial, they are too comfortable, they are too focused on the next quarter to look at the next year, two years, ten years. But, things can change.

I've written about one client I have many times. They are an association that represents huge, major, worldwide corporations and they were in absolute denial until last month. Then, the "light" went on. Now, they're setting aside bottled water not only for the business but actually for all their employees. They're writing about it in publications. They're making it a priority in corporate communcations. Eventually, everyone will "get it". Even the "denialist butt-heads."

I send out a personal "e newsletter" to friends and family and business associates about once a month. I almost never hear a word back except, "how do you find time for this?" or even with a gentle laugh, "you know, I don't even read what you send me."

Yet, over the Memorial Day weekend my sister came up to me and whispered, "c'mon, I want to show you something. I haven't ever had a chance to read what you've about y2k, but..." The person who once shared that little chuckle with me is her husband. Now they have a new pantry where they are putting everything from water to canned goods to rice and beans.

Mac, keep the faith bud and hang in there. There are still people finding out about this everyday and if we can stay focused and continue the dialogue we can still make a difference.

Mike =======================================

-- Michael Taylor (, June 23, 1999.

You know, when I hear a person dismiss y2k as a lot of hooey, I think there is one more doo-doo head spouting off just trying to look above it all. Well, if the business owners aren't taking y2k serioulsy after big companies have spent millions taking it seriously, then let them suffer. I am no bleeding heart for doo-doo heads.

-- Carol (, June 23, 1999.

Michael -

Thanks for the encouragement. That article, being from THE local business paper, hit me hard. Not sure what the stats are for San Diego County, but if they're in line with these findings and that many businesses get "whacked", we're in for a very hard 1Q2000 'round here.

I will be focussing more on personal preps (getting my house in order) and not spending any more time on working with municipal types, but I will not give up answering one-to-one questions if I think the questioner is in earnest. One of my colleagues (a very experineced IT project manager) was not really convinced until a couple of months ago, but now has started prepping. There's satisfaction in that.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), June 23, 1999.

Mac...remember we're neighbors so if you need anything let me know! Anyword on a So Cal get together?

Mike ===================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, June 23, 1999.

MAC - I bought all the supplies for making your solar dehydrator today. (It has been on my list of to do's.) Take heart, hun, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Thank you for your wonderful ideas!

-- marsh (, June 23, 1999.

Mike -

Thanks for the support. The response re a SoCal meet was less than overwhelming (we got four), so I bagged it for now. Perhaps later this summer, assuming preps move forward on schedule (ha!).

marsh -

Thanks also for your kind words. I'm afraid you may have mixed me up with some other "Mac", unless I just pointed you to some "solar" plans that someone else developed. I'm far more of a consumer of blueprints and suchlike than a producer. Layouts for sprinkler systems is about the top of my engineering abilities.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), June 24, 1999.

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