How Do You Recover from 100% Disaster?

Pansophic founder Joseph A. Piscopo, featured in How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America, suffered through the loss of all company’s data and software offerings when someone went through his company dataroom with an electromagnet, wiping everything out.

Q: Let’s start with the day in 1985 when someone erased all of the data in your company with an electromagnet.
Piscopo: I got a call one night around New Years’ Eve from my data center manager and he said someone just walked through the computer room with a magnet and erased everything on every disk drive in the place.

Q: How could that have happened? You were a public company with safeguards in place.
Piscopo: We’re talking about a rather significant electromagnet, not something little – something industrial strength. All our programs were erased overnight.

Q: How did you recover?
Piscopo: As it happens, we sold a software product that promised security for a customer’s software library, so we had backup for all our programs. It took us about two weeks to rebuild everything.

Q: You usually wouldn’t carry a powerful magnet with you in a data center.
Piscopo: We hired an outside investigator to come in and talk to our people. It turns out that an employee, who was behind on a development project…

How did Joe continue on to an IPO, NYSE listing and eventual sale to Computer Associates? Read the rest of Joe Piscopo’s and 44 other company founders’ interviews in the book How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America.

How They Did It is a book of thoughts, ideas, and inspiration from the most successful company founders ever to come out of the heartland. Get inspired as they share their battle stories, their secrets to success, and insights on how to build a company from the ground up.

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