As someone who earns their living entirely online, I
considered myself the last person I ever thought would ask
the question, “Do we really need the Internet?”
However, the extended power outage of almost 4 days, ongoing
loss of Internet access, combined with many other events
surrounding the recent Hurricane Isabel caused me to
reassess my priorities.
When “high-tech” business gets into a head-on collision with
a natural or man-made disaster, we all need to ask, “Do we
really need the Internet?”
Well, when you’re in line for 3 hours to get gas so you can
siphon the tank to run your father-in-law’s generator in
order to save $1,000 worth of food in three freezers – you
don’t need the Internet, you need the expectation that
you’ll find gas.
When you’re driving around for 2 hours trying to find ice so
you can have a cold drink and make your family more
comfortable on a 90+ degree day – you don’t need the
Internet, you need patience and a sense of humor.
When a good friend of yours falls 30 feet off a ladder while
helping his neighbors cut a tree off their house, fractures
his back and neck, punctures a lung and must be airlifted to
the hospital in critical condition – you don’t need the
Internet, you need faith he’ll be okay!
When the hurricane’s destruction threatens to ruin the
surprise 50th wedding anniversary party you’ve been planning
for over a year for your parents – you don’t need the
Internet! You improvise and set up a human communication
network that spreads the word to dozens of people who still
show up and throw a party that creates memories that will
last a lifetime!
When you can’t turn on your computer to get work done, you
can still grab a good old-fashioned pen and legal pad and
get more work done in the peace and quiet without phones,
fax or email to distract you than you could ever get done
when things get back to “normal.”
It struck me last night as I struggled to get my high-speed
Internet connection going again that I was much more
stressed over getting a stupid piece of hardware to function
than I was over driving 50+ miles to find gas just two days
In fact, looking back, I was more proud of the fact that on
Saturday I found what was probably the last cold six pack of
beer in all of Southeastern Virginia than I was about my
last successful online product launch!
And after spending many days and nights in the dark, I
realized that the Internet represents the ultimate
convenience, but it’s also the ultimate business risk
because so much can happen to shut the Internet down or
prevent you from accessing it.
If recent events taught me anything, they taught me these
three truths about life:
1. Life is fragile and valuable – don’t take it for granted.
2. Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being
of family and friends. Sometimes it takes a calamity to
3. Anyone who depends on the Internet for their entire
livelihood should seek to diversify how they make their
money – just in case the Internet disappears one day when
you least expect it!
(c) Jim Edwards – All Rights reserved