Attention Deficit Disorder Society and Y2K Scoring : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Godds morning, folk. Happy New Year and New Millenium. As many people go back to work today and tomorrow, the systems that have been running quite well since NYE are STILL running quite well, which is no real surprise. As I have said in a number of places I would have been VERY surprised to see no street lights on the way home from the party Mrs. Driver and I go to each New Years Eve. I am gratified that the UPS on this computer is NOT powering it, and that the oil lamps are not lit this early morning and that the garbage men will be here shortly to remove the detritus of my last minute preps.

I just have ONE real problem. All along we have talked about a number of scenarios, actually a RANGE of scenarios from the iconic Infomagic devolutionary spiral, to the Mad Max no grid, to a depresssion (worse or as bad as) 1930's, to a recession, to the other iconic Bump In The Road. From where I sit today, we have ruled out only a PORTION of the possible (please note I said POSSIBLE) scenarios. These POSSIBILITIES were ALWAYS assigned a LOW PROBABILITY of occurrence.

We have ruled out an initial hard crash in infrastructure. WHOOPEE! [twirls index finger in air, pointing skyward] There ALWAYS were OTHER scenarios in the possibility mix, MANY with a MUCH HIGHER PROBABILITY than the initial infrastructure collapse. To have eliminated ONLY ONE possibility and to then say "Well of COURSE ALL of the negative scenarios are EQUALLY PROBABLE" after decrying the LOW probability of the one (or 2) that have been eliminated smacks of intelectual dishonesty. Look back over the MANY non-Doombrood (TM) posts and you see the cry that the Doomers have selected the most unlikely scenario, the hard crash of infrastructure, and are planning accordingly. MANY of these Non-Doombrood (TM) posters pointed out that it was MORE probable that there would be recession, type results, etc.

NOW the same camp is declaring a TOTAL VICTORY after seeing their prediction of the LEAST PROBABLE outcome becoming (aparently) a reality. HUH???? What about the near consensus that OTHER possibilities had MUCH higher probabilities of occurrence?? Is it because we, as a society have become so NOW oriented, so INSTANTLY GRATIFIED that we haven't the patience to wait to see, even a few days, whether or not the rest of the business world still works to normal efficiency??

Appaerntly in today's business world, like in the world of entertainment, if it isn't wrapped up in 49 minutes with 9 minutes for commercials and 2 for ID's it can't be followed.

The business world has not even opened up in the new year and people are saying, that since the lights are still on the REST of the problems are cured ALSO. The efforts were (and still ARE in some cases) VERY DIFFERENT. They had VERY DIFFERENT perceptions of need and very different requirements. Not only that, there are functions in business that aren't even LOOKED AT except once a month, or once a QUARTER, or once a YEAR.

One of my clients maintains that we are growing and training the best fighter pilots in history via our video games.....superlative reflexes, FAST analytical ability, Instant perception.....with only ONE downside. If it doesn't happen in the next 3 minutes, it isn't relevant. He maintains that reading, because it takes a lot of time to get anywhere is on its way out, and that learning is suffering. This guy owns 3 companies, all machine-tools-type, who is beginning to feel VERY left behind by the GO-GO-GO speed of return from the dot-com's of the world. He has been told that his industry is passe, that nobody needs them anymore they are too slow to be relevant. He has been told he needs to become Web-oriented to be current. WAIT A MINUTE!! We NEED machine tools to manufacture things, to do REAL work, to build REAL wealth. OY VEY ISHCH MIR. (or sumpin' like dat)

When I was in MBA School at Clarkson, 20+ years ago, my general Business prof pointed out, at that time, that business wanted a greater reliance on the near term bottom line taught in B schools. His comment was, that since this is what they wanted taught the faculties around the country were teaching it, but they were wrong. At THAT time they were talking about YEAR END bottom line. NOW they are talking about MONTH END bottom line in businesses, and in dot-com businesses they are thinking (if not actually working) in a shorter event horizon than THAT. I have clients working with dot-com IPO's and start-ups who are blown away by the short event horizons that they are having to deal with. (And lest you think these are tyro's some of them are patners with such firms as McKinsey, Booz-Allen-Hamilton, and Arthur Andersen)

We have CLEARLY become a short event horizon society. A society living in not the DAY, or the HOUR or the MINUTE of the present but in the MOMENT, the RIGHT NOW. It has gone from what have you done for me (1940's) to what have you done for me LATELY (1960's) to What have you done for me lately - this morning (1990's). This trend causes us to be UNABLE to accurately analyse situations that take time to develop. Consider that there is STILL rebuilding going on in Homestead Florida after HUGO in 1997 (or was it '96 or 98?? See, even I am not immune) that is NOT covered on ANY news source. 3 years is OLD NEWS! Somewhere below is a quote from Mr Yourdon, posted by Sysman, from 010100, posted on 010200, which is being termed "OLD NEWS" and not relevant. Sysman is exhorted to post something MORE CURRENT AND RELEVANT!

Rest the case.


PS Mrs, Driver says this is a bit strident. She may well be right. Perhaps the time has come for stridency in pointing out some falacies and in requesting TIME for valid analyses.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, January 03, 2000


Chuck has the inestimable advantage of being old enough to remember the time when laws of economic physics were still understood. My heartfelt sympathy for the current crop of youngsters who actually BELIEVE this is the way things will always wont. This is an eddy in the river. It may appear to go against the flow, but that is just an anomaly in the whole picture. Anyone who thinks that the economic and or technological picture is blue sky ahead is a neophyte. I hope the doomers are more gracious to the losers than some of the local trolls have been so far...its nice nice to kick someone when they're bleeding from very orifice.

-- frank Lee (I dont give a damn) (, January 03, 2000.

Great post, Chuck, but pollies will not understand it. Anymore than they could ever understand that preparing for events that ALMOST EVERYONE FIGURED TO BE LOW PROBABILITY due to IT WAS NOT THE ODDS, IT WAS THE STAKES.

Indeed, TIME is still the crucial factor. (Another concept that pollies have trouble with. Surprise!) Hoping for the best for today, this week, and the ones that will follow....

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), January 03, 2000.


That was Hurricane Andrew, '92 (seems like yesterday, don't it?), but great post.

-- Thinman (, January 03, 2000.

What are you trying to say, Chuck. It's taking too long to read this. :<)

Good points, all.


-- Got Time?

-- Greybear (, January 03, 2000.

Because, Chuck, those other scenarios weren't used to "Make the Sale".

We've been dealing with date errors, both potential and real, for quite some time now.

We've been dealing with an even higher rate of general IT errors, of greater scope and severity, for even longer.

No collapse. No systemic failures. No de-evolutionary spirals.

How many books would Yourdon have sold with just these scenarios? How many subscriptions for Y2kLoserWire? How many generators, MRE's, etc.?

Not many, is my guess. No, the "hook" has always been the infrastructure. No power. Images of New York looking like "Beirut". 30 million people without water. This was the sales pitch. And it was BS.

-- Hoffmeister (, January 03, 2000.

My personal take on this... good post by the way Chuck... is that I was looking at the scenario that would impact my family unit the MOST, and guarding against it. Well, so far that line of defense hasn't been needed... can you say "Maginot Line"? Most of the issues that could happen now will be on paper. I have a paper trail on my financial and infrastructural matters that I hope is good enough to forestall any unbeknownst (sp?) circumstance. That is the "line of defense" now.

I am also REALLY glad my first line wasn't needed... (whew)

checkin' out the gas man...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, January 03, 2000.

Chuck, Very true. That's the reason I scheduled my stay in Florida to last until 3/15 or so--at least. Because we don't know yet what the upshot is. Thank God we haven't had the worst case!!! But did we know that in advance? No! Were preps prudent to preserve life? YES!

-- Mara (, January 03, 2000.

Great post and essay Chuck. and yes, the more probable scenarios are still ahead of us...hang on to those preps.

Question> What will the herd do if we have a major hit in one week?? or a month?? What will this herd do if there is a bad recession or a depression??

Answer> I don't want to find out!!

-- Brent James Bushardt (, January 03, 2000.

I dunno, Hoff. Books like Krugman's The Return of Depression Economics and Galbraith's The Great Crash 1929 are currently selling pretty darn well, especially considering the blue-skies worldview being espoused in so much of the financial and mass media. Discussions of serious risks (or as in the case of Chancellor's Devil Take the Hindmost, market manias and their consequences) have a decent sized market, it would seem.

Are you saying that the infrastructure risks were Mr. Yourdon's only scenario, and were in fact the book's raison d'etre? That was not what I took away from my reading of it.

-- DeeEmBee (, January 03, 2000.

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