Captain Reynaud was shocked. We shouldn’t be.

I was just speaking of contingent futures. Here’s one: Recent surveys, including one just released by Design Chain Associates,
show significant lack of readiness in the tech industry for the EU’s
directives on WEEE — which takes effect one month from today — and
RoHS (which takes effect in July 2006).

Fewer than 20% are actively selecting
compliance schemes, while 5% have selected compliance schemes. The
survey also revealed that 23% percent haven’t even started and 17% are
‘completely confused.’

(The confusion is understandable, notes author Mike Kirschner: Direction on how to comply with WEEE is sparse and confusing in most EU member states.)

But even more concerning:
60% of respondent companies are doing nothing to reduce WEEE costs.

Is this a big deal? Maybe not. EU states may provide extensions and
exemptions. But I wouldn’t want to base my strategy on that possiblity.
Not when about a third of tech industry revenues are earned in the
European market.

So I’ve been surprised by the surprise (as I’ve said before). The
directives and the impending deadlines have been known for years. The
political momentum has been evident for decades. The driving science
has been known for centuries. And, for those who’ve missed the signs,
the EU periodically tips its hand with documents like Towards a Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (released October 2003).

So, homework for everyone: When you find yourself surprised by events,
take a moment and ask yourself whether you’ve been paying attention to
the right things. (And whether you can count on your competitors doing
the same.)