David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
NOT Traveling Blog, 2nd Week Of February 2021
David Danto’s ongoing list of disjointed and occasionally random observations and thoughts as we wait-out the pandemic – mostly NOT traveling like we used to.
Now that we’re squarely into February, I have more than my usual number of random thoughts – with many of them around what I was doing about a year ago.
Last February was when I took my last international trip – to attend a conference in Amsterdam. Many people embrace adventure. If I’m being honest, I’m not one of them. I’m an over-thinker. (Just ask Joe Brancatelli how much I pestered him about Amsterdam. Can I really take the train and not a taxi? Where do I go to buy a train ticket? Do they have food there? Have you ever heard of the hotel? What is the exact walking path from the hotel to the train? Etc.) As it turns out – just like most global business centers – the experience didn’t resemble foraging in the jungle and seeking caves for shelter. Amsterdam is a lovely city and it was a very successful trip. I definitely dislike having to feel comfortable in unfamiliar places, but after this last year I’d jump at the chance to feel that unease again.
About a year ago the collaboration industry association I’m part of was giving an award to Zoom’s Eric Yuan, celebrating his work to establish a visionary video platform.
Back then no one outside of our industry knew who he was, and Zoom’s stock was in the mid $80s a share. Now – a year later – just about everyone knows what Zoom is and who Eric is, and their stock is worth about $400 a share. What a difference a year makes – especially this last one.
About a year ago my actual last business trip (before I experienced the pandemic lockdown) was to Austin Texas. I’d been to Austin before, but had never visited the Congress Avenue Bridge until that trip.
About a year ago we thought watching and taking pictures of a bunch of bats flying around in the middle of a city was “cute.” Little did we know back then the havoc one of those little guys would likely have caused…
About a year ago most knowledge workers commuted to an office every day, and remote employees were routinely scapegoated for a company’s problems. These ‘lazy’ and ‘MIA’ employees were either shunned or barely tolerated. Now, we know that remote knowledge workers are more productive than their in-office peers, and they’re less expensive to keep on staff when compared to paying rent for the hundreds of thousands of square feet of real estate in the world’s biggest cities. Because of this, big companies are shedding leases in big cities faster than you can say Jack Robinson, and manufacturers are now making equipment specifically to support high quality, enterprise manageable experiences for remote workers. Again, what a difference a year makes…
About a year ago a record snowfall in my home New Jersey like we had a few days ago would have just about disabled the country’s business plans. With EWR, JFK and LGA shut down for 2+ days due to ~35 inches of snow, the ensuing havoc throughout the air-travel system would have been monumental. Now, a year later, it barely registered a blip on the day’s news. Companies just kept business moving as they have been all year. Students kept going with remote learning as well, as the concept of a “snow day” is long gone. Just about the only impact to our lives was the postponement of the few remaining in-person events. Doctor’s appointments and COVID vaccines were cancelled for a couple of days. When the global pandemic has finally passed it will leave our society much more resilient and able to keep going when we’re not able to travel – clearly one of the rare silver linings of the disaster of this last year.
As always, please feel free to write to me with comments or items I should add to a future Not Traveling blog (or if you just need someone to write to.) Stay safe, be well, hug those you’re sheltering with (but no one else) and do your best to stay positive. We’re going to be in this for a while longer.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.
The Explanation for my Not Traveling blogs: In 2014 I was voted by USA Today readers as one of the top ten business travel bloggers in the USA. Now mind you, I turned out to be number ten on the list of ten, but I did make it on (with my thanks to all those who voted.) Now that we’re all stuck at home and not traveling, I had to think about what to do with my blogs. I could stop writing them entirely – waiting till we all get through the current COVID19 pandemic / crisis. I could wax nostalgic and/or complain about past trips. Or, I could focus all of my efforts on my day job – growing the use of collaboration technologies – especially in light of how many people are now forced to use those tools for the first time. In reflecting upon those choices, what I decided to do is compile an ongoing list of observations during the crisis. Some of these may amuse, some may inform, some may sadden and others may help. My goal will be for you to have seen something in a different light than you did before you stopped to read the blog. I was going to apologize for how disjointed these thoughts may seem when put together, but then it dawned on me that feeling disjointed is our new normal – at least for a little while.