The Business-Technology Weave

Jun 11 2011   11:57AM GMT

From Starbucks to U.S. Airways – Part I

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


A few days ago my local Starbucks lost power.  The sun was shining and it was around 2 in the afternoon.  Suddenly, all the lights went out, the refrigerated cases went dark, and… yes, internet connectivity was out.


What I learned that day, and the next, was interesting to me, and I hope it can provide a lesson for all of us.  There had been a tremendous rainstorm the day prior to the outage.  As it turns out, upon this next day’s outage, one of the baristas mentioned that they had received a call from the local utility company earlier in the day that the power might “go down” in order to work on a station.  Huh.


Unfortunately, there was not only the one effect:  That is, an afternoon’s loss of power.  Something else occurred:  Next day, the ‘net still wasn’t available  – nor the next.  Apparently, a hard crash had affected some measure of my local Starbucks’ backoffice (if I may deign to call it that – I haven’t seen it).  And, for whatever reason, it was on Day 3 that internet connectivity was restored for customers.


On one of the days during ‘net unavailability, I worked at Starbucks, writing away.  I watched customer after customer walk out of the store upon hearing of the outage.  So, there was a definite business impact.


I’m wondering if Starbucks has a simple UPS with configuration for a graceful shutdown of equipment in the event of outages?  Perhaps it’s a calculated cost – they’d rather suffer a hard crash, with dispatch of a tech to fix whatever server, router, or measure of corruption has occurred.  (A barista also told me that she spent considerable time on the phone with someone from Starbucks who attempted to talk her through various resets and restore points – to no avail).


But – one also has to consider the lost business over the course of days due to the outage.  Even if it was a wash, it’s better to expend a little $$ for some measure of protection to equipment in just securing the environment for business reputation – and the secured environment for customer convenience of internet access and use.


Next:  Part II.



June 11th:  On this day in 1911 the Tigers, trailing the White Sox 13-1, came back to win 16-15.  Never, never, never give up.


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