by Matt Villano

The Armageddon Crowd: Y2K+1

Jan 01, 20012 mins
Risk Management

Remember the preparation for New Year's Eve 2000? Is it time to repeat in 2001?

As the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, millions of freezing revelers in New York City’s Times Square crossed their fingers and hoped that the Y2K showdown wouldn’t result in a technological and societal meltdown. Lucky for all of us, it didn’t. Save for a few minor service glitches, the Big Apple survived New Year’s Eve 2000 virtually unscathed. Now, however, just days away from New Year’s Eve 2001, some say the real trouble is upon us.

Because no numerical set can start with 0, doomsayers believe that this Jan. 1—not last Jan. 1—is the official start of the new millennium. Remember all those problems we feared with the arrival of Y2K? These folks say they’ll be back, big-time, come January. And remember all those wacky preparations people made for New Year’s Eve 2000? Not surprisingly, these people say we should make them again.

The Armageddon crowd has drummed up quite a bit of support and, if nothing else, has raised awareness to the notion that something could go wrong. Nobody is certain what—if anything—will happen when the clock strikes midnight that fateful eve, but a surprising number of executives say they just don’t care. Jeff Morris, CEO of the Internet event guide, says he hadn’t even considered that the year after Y2K could present some IT challenges until a reporter asked. Allan Dobrin, New York City’s CIO, says he’s not stressed.

“We really haven’t worried much about it at all,” Dobrin says. “Even if there are problems, I doubt they’ll compare to the ones we prepared for last year. The worst-case scenario for 2001 is still a walk in the park.”

Still, some companies are hunkering down for the worst. Already, at EarthCam, a company that runs 10 live Web cameras in and around Times Square on New Year’s Eve, CEO Brian Cury is mirroring all of his company’s technology (“just in case”) and hiring extra technical support staff. At financial services companies and larger, commerce-oriented dotcoms, executives are purchasing extra servers, power generators and, in some cases, dry goods and bottled water. Bring on the new millennium!