June 9, 2019 at approximately 2pm CDT. A massive storm hit Dallas Texas.
I currently work in the Data Decisions Group Dallas office. Luckily for commutes my house is only 2 blocks from the building-due south. I can actually see my neighborhood from my 6th floor office window. I drive to work as opposed to walking but that is a different story about human motivation and behavior.
I was coming home from Sunday lunch when the storm hit. High wind, hail with dense rain that obliterated your windshield view of the road. Tree limbs were flying; the streets started flooding. I repeatedly stopped and switched lanes to safely arrive home. I thank Land Rover for building SUVs that like water almost as much as a Labrador.
Even though it was storming I was stunned to find parts of my roof were missing, exterior light bulbs were broken, the pool was full of debris. My house had lost access to power, to phone, to internet, to cable TV.
Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night passed. And the digital pathways to my house remained blocked. Repeatedly I asked for updated status. The service firms were so overwhelmed that their automated messages simply stated your service is out. And we have no additional information to offer.
At first, the shock of it all simply blocked logical thought about “how do I stop my mail service” as I am leaving town for 2 weeks. But as the days passed and more and more normal daily actions were not possible from the comfort of my house I became more and more frantic. I need my email, I need my ecommerce, I need my online banking, my Ipad and Kindle need their Wi-Fi. I need to buy a book to read to replace TV programming but my devices will not connect.
On that fateful Friday morning, today, when all of my services returned the world flowed back into as a torrent of information. Emails, news broadcast, devices vibrating that the next message had arrived.
I was lucky. The storm caused massive destruction and death. And it halted commerce in an absolute manner—neither websites or retail stores could operate without power, the phone system, the internet.
The events were a strong reminder that our economy is fragile. And that actual humans are more important than any digital device. My neighbors poured into the streets to help each other. Individuals who I do not know came to my door to ask—are you OK?
DDG operates in the digital world—AWS machine learning analytics, real time MDBs with campaign management platforms that drive millions of personalized messages. It is easy to forget that despite all of our plans Mother Nature can alter our day.
Final note on the Day my Digital Connection died: due to the design of our IT networks and processing centers DDG did not suffer a loss of digital connection. Our clients did lose the ability to talk with their normal representative in Dallas as the city had suffered true system failures. But all servers and processes continue to operate as we plan for these events, we test for these events. We simply hope they never occur.