Youd better not have anything stored on your computer that you want to keep, he said, Itll disappear come Jan. 1, 2000. Mark my words, all hell will break loose.
My typical response was to shrug and assure him I would be prepared.
Well, if youre reading this in the confines of your comfortable office, its safe to assume my friend wasnt right about the end of the world. But he wasnt far off on his other warnings, especially about the fate of my computer. I lost everything, but it had nothing to do Y2K.
The bottom line is that I should have known better, especially considering how many stories Ive written and read about backing up computer data. So when my computer hard drive crashed a few months ago, I, like many other people, simply sat there stunned, gaping in disbelief, wishing Id taken the time to back up my information.
Simply put, there was there was no reason why I couldnt have found five minutes a day to connect a Zip drive (there was one conveniently sitting in my filing cabinet) and copy everything over.
The end arrived with an ominous clunk, short-lived and loud. A co-worker in my office at the time offered this sardonic prophecy: That didnt sound too good.
Moments later, after a few hastily rendered prayers and a desperate call to our IT director, nearly three years of data was gone phone numbers, interview notes, half-written stories and memos counted among the MIA.
But in tragedy, I learned a valuable lesson: Preparation is something you do, and you dont put it off until tomorrow. That applies to business owners in every aspect of their operations, not just information management. You never know when the bottom is going to drop out and leave you standing there with a dumb look on your face.
Just because things are going well today doesnt mean the gravy days will continue. In fact, most bad things will happen to your business the moment you become complacent. Theres an old axiom that says it best: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I always viewed that with a grain of salt. Now, however, I see it differently.
Being prepared is more than keeping up with the latest technology, watching your competitors to see what theyre doing, or even putting a little bit of money away for a rainy day. Its the realization that technology is nothing more than a tool to help you make your business more efficient. Blind reliance without back-up measures can lead to disaster.
But more important, preparation is an action that occurs today, not tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes. If theres a moral to the story, its that you can, indeed, learn from your mistakes.
That said, Happy New Year.
Dustin Klein (email@example.com) is editor of SBN. He has spent the last four months piecing his database back together and now backs up his information daily.