Should I Have Used Telepresence?

I've been traveling all week with my fellow blogger, The VAR Guy. It was a great week for meetings, terrible week for travel. I was supposed to head home late Wednesday night. Fast forward to Friday morning, and I'm still continuing my long journey home due to multiple flight problems. Should I have used TelePresence, the next generation video conferencing technology, instead of going on the road?

Here's the blow-by-blow. It's turning comical.

  • Monday Morning, July 21: Flew from New York to Los Angeles. My business partner (Amy Katz) and I had lunch with Kaseya's Dan Shapero and discussed MSP industry evolution.
  • Monday Night, July 21: I flew from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, for OSCON (Open Source Convention). It a great event that's strategic to our other media site (Works With U, the independent guide to Ubuntu Linux).
  • Wednesday Night, July 23: The trouble starts. My 11:59pm flight from Portland to New York is delayed multiple times. Finally, JetBlue says departure will be 5:50am Thursday morning, July 24. I sleep at the airport. At dawn, the flight gets canceled. JetBlue tells me the next available flight is Friday night, July 25. But I want to get home, so I seek other options.
  • Thursday, July 24, Good News: I score a flight on US Airways from Portland to New York. But there are two catches. First, I will need to transfer in Las Vegas. Second, it's US Airways. I never fly them because they let me down multiple times in 2004. And I never book transfers because they are nightmares.
  • Thursday, July 24, Bad News, Part I: The first leg of my US Airways flight (Portland to Las Vegas) is delayed by electrical problems on the plane. I'm now at risk of missing my connection flight in Las Vegas. But I'm not upset. Better to be safe than sorry on a plane. Happy to sit tight until US Airways is confident the electrical problem is solved.
  • Thursday, July 24, Bad News, Part II: We finally take off from Portland and land in Las Vegas. I have 15 minutes to make it to my connecting flight. But it takes US Airways 10 minutes to open the airplane's door. Pathetic lack of coordination between the on-board crew and the ground crew.
  • Thursday, July 24, Bad News, Part III: The plane's door is finally open. We have five minutes to make our connecting flight. US Airways tells us to sprint from current location (Gate Area A) to our connection flight (Gate Area B). I join nine other passengers in a sprint to make our connecting flight to New York. We make it to Gate Area B ... and the US Airway crew at that gate tells us our flight is back at Gate Area A. That's right: We were sent to the wrong gate by our incompetent flight crew! We sprint back to Gate A, but the flight is gone.
  • Thursday, July 24, Bad News, Part IV: Anything marked Part IV is usually really bad (with the exclusion of Star Wars Episode IV, which was actually the first episode for those of us who saw it in 1977). In this case, Part IV involves the fact that there are no flights available from Las Vegas to New York. I'm stranded in Las Vegas for the night, and US Airways puts me up in a Super 8 Motel ... only, it's not so super. My new flight home is Friday morning, July 25.
  • Friday, July 25: Welcome to present day. I'm seated at my gate. It's Friday morning. Only, I'm not taking off Friday morning. US Airways has announced that my flight is delayed until at least 2pm pacific. We were supposed to take off around 11:30am. The story isn't over. But this blog entry is (for now).
Should I have just stayed home and done all my meetings using TelePresence? Actually, no. Despite the travel problems, I had great meetings in Los Angeles and Portland. And I developed relationships with open source experts from around the world during OSCON.

Those types of relationships don't happen over a video connection.

TelePresence has some great uses. But sometimes, face-to-face meetings are still the way to go.
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