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“How much sleep should I lose over this?” I’d just finished going over some areas of high risk for this customer, some projects that had been delayed, appropriately up until now, due to larger business issues.”

“None, I only lose sleep when there isn’t a plan in place.”

Look, we all live with business risk and most of us live with some technical risk. The most successful people live with the most risk and sleep just fine. They also have a plans on addressing the risk, mitigating the risk or responding to it.

You’ll always have risk, just have appropriate plans to match.

My wife sent me the link late Saturday night. I was exhausted from driving non-stop through fog and rain for 13 hours and then hitting the gym for a run to loosen up. The product was perfect, all the parts for a swing set my kids would love. It was almost too good to be true but the online store was set up on a major site that I assumed would back me up if it wasn’t real, plus my mother-in-law had found it and she’s pretty thorough. So I charged my AMEX and went to sleep.

Three days later I went to check on my order and the site was cleared out.

Ghost town.

No swing set parts for Christmas.

And I was out $173.

I contacted support for the major site who told me — in essence — they were not going to do anything and that I should contact my card company if I wanted resolution.

I popped open my American Express app on my phone — from a Starbucks between meetings — and told support what happened. Five minutes later a new AMEX was being overnighted and I was refunded my $173.

This was personal but there are lessons for leaders at any level of any organization.

Takeaways

  • None of us are too smart to fall for a scam. Not you, not me, no one. I catch a lot of this stuff for a living, but at the right moment I was still susceptible
  • Long-term risk mitigation matters. I use American Express because of their reputation for extraordinary customer service. When I chose the card I chose one that would back me up when it mattered. One great decision made years ago continues to protect me.
  • Vendors matter. I’ve had to work with American Express on fraud issues before. They’ve never let me down, that’s why I stay with them. Who is there for you when it matters?