About the life of the traveler

November 16, 2007

I’ve never been much of a business traveler. I decided early in my career that my wife and kids were far too important to me and that whatever opportunities travel offered, it could not offer more than the value of sharing my family’s life together. And it did cost me, no doubt, but it was right.

My kids are grown, having kids of their own, and my wife has agreed to travel with me whenever feasible so I have been doing a lot more of it, as frequent readers of this blog will know. Two comments–travel sucks, and yet, there is no question that there is so much more that can be done with face to face meetings that can’t be done in the office or even via the great new web conferencing tools.

Traveling sucks. No news to the millions of people who have to travel or who choose to travel for work. But I just have to believe between the too often ridiculously poor and unapologetically disastrous service offered by most airlines (yesterday’s flight was United, in my view one of the consistently worst performers), and the outrageously idiotic rules and procedures of our TSA, travel is far more of a nightmare than it needs to be. One should not have to be able to afford a private jet to get reasonably efficient, friendly, predictable and unembarrassing service. Having to strip oneself almost to your underwear while being pushed by a crowd behind you is outrageous. I cannot understand why we have proven to be such cattle led to this kind of treatment with so little protest.

I suggest a global traveler strike. Let’s just all say we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more.

The flip side is the value of face to face. Much of what I was able to accomplish with my month long odyssey on the road was because of face to face meetings. Part of it through the efficiency of group presentations, part of it developing strategic partnerships that cannot be done unless you sit across a desk or conference room table from each other.

So, there it is. Travel sucks and it has to be done. So it goes.

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