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What happens when digital fails?

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So, the worst thing imaginable happened today. We had a power outage.

I didn’t realise what that meant until it happened. I then realised that I was only maintaining my semblance of sanity during this lockdown thanks to having an oven, a laptop, the internet, power.

When the power outage occurred, it suddenly dawned on me that everything was lost.

It wasn’t the loss of the internet and the access to the world. It was more than that. We couldn’t cook or eat hot food; we couldn’t recharge devices, like smartphones; we couldn’t play music or entertainment; we couldn’t order anything in, but would have to go out; but, worse than this, we couldn’t go out. Our house has secure gates and they all work on electricity … connected to the house. So, we couldn’t open the gate. We were literally locked in and cut off.

It could be ok for a day, or two, but soon all rechargeable devices would be drained and there would be nothing working. We would be eating each other. I would happily roast my grandma and eat her bones … if the cooker was working, which it isn’t. Instead, I’ll have to eat her butt raw with salt. At least it tastes better that way.

What have we come to?

Stuck at home for months and stuck inside was survivable whilst we had Netflix and Twitter. Now?

Well, it’s not the end of everything. We still have each other and can make a sandwich. I can go out and kill a deer or something, using a handily hand-crafted bow-and-arrow MacGyver style. Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe, instead, we’ll just sneak into our neighbour’s kitchen and steal their stuff.

It really brings it home to you how much you take the modern world for granted when the modern world breaks down. The loss of our usual activities from travel to tourism to theatre to television, is all predicated upon access to electricity. Once you take that away, you’re left with … urmm, yourself.

It made me think  about what would you do if the network disappeared? No internet, no electricity, no television, no cooker, no nothing.

I guess most of use would be lost. Personally, I would probably survive with Pringles or something but yes, it is  a massive challenge for all of us to remove things from our routine.

First, change our routine so we cannot travel or fly; second, change our routine so we cannot shop or go out; third, change our routine so we cannot go online or network; then, change our routine so we cannot cook or even open the front gate.


What would you do if you had no mod-cons? How would you live? Would you survive and thrive or crash and burn?

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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