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1997-12-01 11:14:50


Inc., Magazine on Yourdon & Survival



Ed Yourdon may say he lives in New York City, but does he? That's what INC., ONLINE asks.

The domino effect threatens every system. If "Fortune 1,000,000" firms go belly-up, this will have serious consequences on the Fortune 1000 firms, says David Eddy.

* * * * * * * *

Edward Yourdon says he lives in New York City, but I'm suspicious. When I spoke to him last summer, he was hanging his hat in the not-at-all-thriving metropolis of Polson, Mont., writing a book about the Millennium Bug -- the pesky glitch that, at the turn of the century, is supposed to bring all of computerdom to its knees. Yourdon insists he's not doing the survivalist thing, but his descriptions of dial tones disappearing, banks and schools closing, and cars stopping abruptly in the middle of highways are enough to make anyone pack a few bottles of Water Joe and head for the closest available hills.

But even Polson, Mont., may not be isolated enough to protect Yourdon from what many predict will be a digital apocalypse. We're all connected by links: social, cultural, and occupational; written, spoken, and electronic. So when the ball falls on New Year's Eve 1999--sending systems into paroxysms of catatonia--anyone can be affected, from the CIO of a huge corporation to the recluse who depends on a small local utility for electricity. . . .

"Big companies are coming to the conclusion that they don't have time to fix all their year 2000 problems, so they're letting some non-mission-critical ones slide," says Yourdon. "But what a big company considers unimportant may be your company's lifeblood." . . .

The reverse situation -- in which small companies laid low by the Y2K bug no longer make purchases -- is perhaps even more distressing from an economic standpoint. David Eddy, president of software marketer Software Sales Group, in Wellesley, Mass., gets knots in his stomach contemplating the consequences of small-company cluelessness. Referring to his pal John Healy, whose millennium woes are chronicled in "Uneasy Rider," Eddy says, "I look on John's world as the base of the pyramid. The Fortune 1,000 will stumble significantly if the Fortune 1,000,000 stop buying cars from General Motors and reams of paper from Champion. We're all of us done in by the domino effect."


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