Good Luck Happens When Preparedness Meets Opportunity

As luck would have it, Smart Sally and Lucky Larry were born minutes apart on St. Patrick’s Day in Luck, WI to first-generation Irish immigrants.  In a hurry to meet his fate, Larry burst forth without warning, causing Dr. Lecher (busy eyeing Nurse Nancy’s numerous notables) to fumble the catch.  Orderly Oscar, thinking of Sunday’s game-winning touchdown, dove across the room and caught Larry inches before a potentially fatal floor impact.  Everyone applauded and Oscar, resisting the temptation to spike the baby, did a quick end-zone dance and gently laid Larry in his mother’s arms.  Smiling at her newborn, she named him Lucky Larry.  

Next door, Sally was taking a more cautious approach.  Moments before she emerged, the lights went out and the backup generator failed to kick in.  Seeing the room was pitch black, she stopped her delivery and alerted the doctor to her pending arrival with adorable baby noises, which helped him locate an expertly deliver her.  The lights came back on, and her mom declared to the astonished onlookers that she was naming her Smart Sally.  

Lucky Larry skated through college as a party animal while Smart Sally studied hard and entered the business world with straight A’s.  They opened accounting firms next door to each other with Smart Sally growing her business through good marketing and sound business practices.  Lucky Larry found fortune at the grocery store where John, the owner of the largest manufacturing company in the state and a victim of identity theft, found with great embarrassment that his credit card was canceled.  Seizing the opportunity, Lucky Larry paid for the man’s groceries and was rewarded with a massive contract from not only John’s company but all of John’s business associates.  

Both Lucky Larry and Smart Sally understood that the data used and generated in their businesses was their most important asset.  They both bought good computers and servers, and paid someone to set them up and connect them to each other and the Internet.  Lucky Larry used his neighbor’s son who was a wiz with computers and worked for peanuts.  The network seemed to work well with the occasional lockups and blue screens of death that everyone has come to expect from Microsoft products.  Lucky Larry felt lucky indeed as his employees never had to restart their computers more than once a day and coordinated their coffee breaks with the restarts, the loading of programs, and the printing of documents.  He noticed during the last few months that the number and length of breaks were increasing, but it was better than having them sit and stare at the “please wait…” message on the computer screen.  He put a big screen TV in the break room, which helped his employees relieve their frustrations by watching Oprah and Dr. Phil.  This proved to Lucky Larry to be a great investment.  

 Smart Sally took a different approach.  She contracted with a respected IT consulting company that handled her installation and provided her with managed services to keep the network running like new.  Overhearing Lucky Larry bragging about how little he paid for the installation and upkeep of his network, Smart Sally wondered if she was spending her money wisely.  It had been a year since the computer network was installed and she had never experienced a lock-up or needed to restart her computers or servers.  She wasn’t sure what the blue screen of death was because she had never seen one.   It puzzled her during power outages that shout and curses could be heard coming from Lucky Larry’s office while her employees calmly continued to work.  Though her employees didn’t know much about Oprah or Dr. Phil, they seemed happy with their job and the tools she had provided that made their jobs stress free.  She was proud of how productive her employees were and how quickly they completed their assignments.  Her network worked as good as new, and her employees could easily handle more work if she only had more clients.  

That night luck proved to be a fickle lady.  As they slept, the fire raged through the buildings where Lucky Larry and Smart Sally had their offices.  Nothing was left standing but a solitary staircase to nowhere.  Larry, Sally, and their employees, all with tears in their eyes, stared in disbelief at the devastation.  What were they going to do?  What were their clients going to do?  Today was payday; W2’s and 1099’s were due next week.  All the clients’ records were up in smoke, as were the computers, servers, and the precious data they contained.  

Lucky Larry called his neighbor’s son at college seeking advice.  What he heard chilled him to the bone.  The wiz kid had trained an employee, which Larry fired two months ago, to exchange a tape each day with one from a pile of tapes on top of the server.  Larry felt a migraine coming on. His luck had finally run out.  He called his clients and explained that the fire and subsequent loss of their data wasn’t his fault.  Larry heard words he’d never heard before coming across the phone and was told to expect a call from their lawyers.  

Smart Sally prayed for better news as she called her IT consultant.  What they told her sounded too good to be true.  They had been doing an off-site backup each night and all her data was safe and ready to be restored.  What’s more, they offered to arrange overnight delivery of a server and workstations.  By using disk images stored off-site they could quickly configure the new machines and have her company back up and running within 48 hours.  They also offered to fax her insurance company detailed descriptions and replacement cost of all the equipment destroyed.  Sally called her clients to advise them that there would be a slight delay, but they would have payroll processed within 48 hours and the W2’s and 1099’s would go out on schedule despite the devastating fire.  Sally received a call later that day from Lucky Larry’s unlucky clients who heard she was already back in business.  They transferred their accounts to her immediately.  Smart Sally couldn’t believe how lucky she was.

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