TIL: John Koskinen can take credit for the world being exactly the same on January 1, 2000 as it was on December 31, 1999:
Twelve years later, the Year 2000 date change panic that riveted the public and government leaders seems like something out of a disaster movie. But in the late 1990s, there were real fears that the computer systems that supported our modern infrastructure — from banking and air traffic control to defense systems — would fail when their digital clocks flipped over on January 1, 2000.
In the United States, that race against time was led by John Koskinen, an Office of Management and Budget executive selected to lead President Bill Clinton’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion.
Remember Y2K? And the accompanying clip art warnings that we were all going to die and our computers were going to explode? THIS GUY RIGHT HERE was running that show while everyone else was getting drunk and preparing for the worst.
“On New Year’s Eve, we had 100 information desks set up” in the coordination center, Koskinen said. “Madeleine Albright, then secretary of State, came by and said, ‘Geez, you could run the world from here.’ I said, ‘Well, we might have to.’”
Presumably the Senate need know no more, as they asked Koskinen all of two questions before cutting his Finance Committee hearing short today. Guess there were urgent snowballs to be lobbed on the Hill instead.