Hey everyone hope you’re all having a better week than I am! Really though this week is shaping up to be a real peach 🍑!
Folks my little used PT Cruiser 🚙 finally gave up the ghost 👻 and died yesterday. 😦
Thankfully the client I was on my way to meet with understood the situation and was happy to reschedule, but…
What if I only had yesterday to close the deal? What if they were not amenable to rescheduling the meeting? What if that was my one shot? What if I had blown my chance with them & they were the client to make my career? That opportunity might just as easily been lost!
Are you and your business prepared in case some vital part breaks down? Can you keep your doors open if a hurricane hits your area and the flood waters come? What if consumers simply don’t want the product that you are offering? Do you have a backup plan if your business partner decides to “throw in the towel“? Are you prepared for the looming bear market? I’ll be surprised if the shoe doesn’t drop on that one anytime soon by the way!
Speaking of, ever hear of “Resource Slack“? If not do yourself a favor and get googling my friend! 😉
I am reminded of a situation from years ago when I was a lowly “Information Technology Systems Administrator” that seems applicable right now. You see every time it rained the internet connection coming to the building’s MPOE would simply drop out and we could be without internet connectivity for days! Sometimes this even affected our telecom lines so we were without phone and fax as well. Our business was literally cut off from the rest of the world!
Of course this didn’t affect our warehouse and production line staff all that much, however basically the entire office staff would be displaced to some extent. Naturally this would eat into profits a bit, but simply because we were a manufacturer and our production line would continue to operate, losses were somewhat mitigated.
Customers don’t really care if your Accounting department can’t send out their bills today and the owners know they will go out eventually. If we were really worried about getting paid we wouldn’t have been doing business with those customers or vendors anyway! Our customer service staff would have to field tons of complaints after everything came back online however that “mess” affects upper management very little.
So while it was an annoyance, there was not a major incentive to resolve the underlying problem… well that is until it really started affecting the nightly EDI transmissions!
If you miss your EDI transmission you will start to rather quickly accrue what are called “EDI chargebacks”. Chargebacks are penalty fees levied by your vendors when you fail to live up to some part of your agreement, for example: informing them of sales numbers or inventory quantities etc…
So we were instructed to resolve the issue as simply and quickly as possible.. and oh yeah, you have zero additional funds in the budget to do it. In other words “put a band-aid on it and move on”.
We used a mobile “hotspot puck” as a fail-over which acted as a functional “stop gap solution” in the event that the main EDI lines went out due to inclement weather. It wasn’t pretty, but it did work and chargebacks due to telecom outage were kept to a bare minimum.
I think the owner simply did a cost to benefits analysis of the situation and prioritized the issue low on the list. Frankly, I can’t say that I truly disagree with that assessment either!
It rains so infrequently in So Cal that people literally refer to it as “sunny” California!
We’re also known for having multiyear droughts every few years so it does make sense that fixing an otherwise “minor annoyance” wouldn’t be of high importance.
We (the IT staff), would when the proper occasion arose, remind the owners of the issue, but when you have rising production costs, increased regulatory compliance costs, aging machinery, fierce competition for skilled design & production staff… fixing a “minor annoyance” isn’t going to get budgeted!
Time moves on, a few years go by and the issue remained unresolved and then it rained, everything when down again.
We were called in to meet with the owners regarding the issue. “We thought you guys had resolved this already?!”.
Peacefully, diplomatically, calmly… PROFESSIONALLY, we reminded them of the situation and explained our options. After a nice long discussion of the issue we finally got the “go ahead” to get it fixed.
We then spent months working with our ISP and Teleco to track down just where the problem was occurring. We had technicians from each come onsite dozens of times and run all kinds of quality tests on the local loop.
The thing is, it went like most fickle and intermittent issues tend to go, we simply couldn’t locate the source of the problem!
It was all rather maddening simply because, despite your best efforts the problem remains.
It’s like you can start to feel all the eyes of your coworkers, managers and employers on the back of your neck almost screaming “WHY ISN’T IT FIXED YET?”.
The issue was eventually isolated to a ~300 foot (~91.44 meter) segment of buried twisted pair copper. The service provider ended up having to dig up a segment of asphalt in the street to run a new line, and with that our “hotspot puck” solution faded to only a memory.
Now you may be wondering why we got the “dressing down” that ultimately resulted in the problem getting fixed? Well, it turned out that the owners youngest son started attending college in another state (completely across the country actually) and a reliable internet connection was required in order for them to Skype.
The real take away here is that we only ever fix the issues that affect us in meaningful ways and the fact is that despite my best warnings that you “hedge” yourself, your families and businesses against as many of the foreseeable disasters as possible, the truth is that there will still be things you can’t prepare for because you honestly can’t plan for everything! Or it simply may be that you lack the resources to do anything about it and the “band-aid” (if one exists) will have to suffice.
Further, even after my long and dire warning most of you wont take my advice to heart. For most of you, no action will occur to mitigate loses until those losses feel “real” to you, personally.
So back to my predicament, just what the hell am I going to do about my vehicle situation? I need my vehicle to run errands, take Xavier to Dr. checkups, meet with potential clients… etc…
You better believe this feels VERY “real” to me and I honestly was not prepared for a vehicle breakdown!
I try to plan and prepare for the eventuality that anything and everything can and will go wrong (all good geeky tech professional guru’s should know about the bathtub curve and Murphy’s law) but lately things have been really tough financially!
Frankly, I’m not exactly sure how I am going to resolve this one.
I don’t want to say it’s desperate but… the phrase “totally screwed” comes to mind and… well, I’m at a real loss as to what to do about it right now other then to sit here and tell you about it.
Here’s what I do know though, I can’t simply “put a band-aid on it” and ignore the problem until it “rains” again. Doing that would mean that I’d just end up having even more problems to solve and the next time a problem arises, I will be solving that issue without a vehicle and with limited mobility.
So right now I’d like to take this opportunity to say that if you enjoy reading my articles, like the projects I release or simply feel motivated to help me get through this crisis, please consider supporting me over on Patreon and if you are not too keen on Patreon then please consider supporting me by sending Bitcoins to my tip address. Even just a few Satoshi would really go a long way at this point!