Back in my Cisco days travel was a constant fact – as a VP of Engineering, I always spent a lot of time with customers; what better way to get a handle on the problems of the real world? Learn how customers really used your products and find ways of giving better service to the people paying the bills. I averaged one week a month on the road – all International travel (US customers I met aplenty in San Jose!) with a mixture of trips to Asia and Europe.
Then I became a VC – a long distance trip became "going to Fremont" for a board meeting and my International travel resorted to vacation trips. I can't say that I miss my 1K status on United and a long trip became the East Bay (Fremont) for a board meeting!
So the last 4 weeks have been an unusual amount of travel for me – Mexico, China, back to the US for Thanksgiving in the mid-West and then the UK. A few random observations from my travels:
- Cabo San Lucas is awesome!
- Beijing was less polluted than when I was last there (2004)
- Entrepreneurs in China are fantastic! Great energy, smart and with awesome market opportunity
- What I do with companies in the Bay Area, I couldn't do with companies in China – relationships are what make for great companies; language and proximity are critical to building a great relationship.
- American Airlines is more concerned about rules than service (more of this later)
- Arriving at Heathrow airport at 6am on a Sunday morning makes for a very quick transit from gate to rental car!
- We might be tempted to complain at gas prices of $3-4/gallon but UK prices are now closer to $9.
- Car rentals are expensive in the UK even without the current dollar to pound conversation rates.
- Heathrow airport has been under construction for as long as I can remember… and still is!
- I still like British beer – Real Ale please! Microbreweries at home are great too!
- After many years of flying over and back to Europe, I saw Greenland for the third time in my life – no cloud cover – very unusual but short lived!
- 99.999% of the people worldwide are awesome! I suspect the other 0.001% who are obnoxious, evil, rude, don't give a damn, are aliens!