Late at night last weekend, as Hurricane Sandy was beating the crap out of the eastern seaboard, I received an e-mail message from lower Manhattan. You may have received this message, too, or one just like it. It felt to me like getting a radiogram from the sinking Titanic. An Internet company was running out of diesel fuel for its generator and would shortly be dropping off the net. The identity of the company doesn’t matter. What matters is what we can learn from their experience.

The company had weathered power outages before and had four days of diesel fuel stored onsite. They had felt ready for Sandy. But most of their fuel wasn’t at the […]