Victus Spiritus


Long commutes beg for Telepresence

15 Nov 2010

I was tight on time this AM, because of a 5 hour commute to a meeting a few hundred miles from home.* I haven't travelled for my job in a little over 5 years, but opportunity knocks.

Sharp organization leads remind us of the value of face to face meetings. Most builders (engineers, web hackers, etc) see greater than 30 minute meetings as a hefty time sink, a distraction that costs more than the meeting itself, not including travel time.

From the advent of the Internet and the rise of web collaboration, telepresence begged at the dreams of every commuter. As a would be entrepreneur and founder, this trip is a smack in the face by an incredible problem and tax on collaboration. I've heard of companies (Cisco) working on improved telepresence, but the costs for quality meetings is still very steep and nothing like actually meeting in person. Do you know of any other corporations working this problem?

Why I'm wrong and some meetings are worth any commute

The technical meeting was epic. I got to meet a group of incredible engineers. Beyond that I asked a thousand questions, and got solid answers to most of them. These folks oozed enthusiasm.

A few guys were fluent in the latest network architectures, interfaces, and even scripting languages (Python). I was introduced briefly to OpenCV, a powerful open source computer vision library and I plan to share it with the guys at the office. One gentlemen had ten years experience (both good and bad) building and selling his own software company. Yup, you can find founders just about anywhere if you listen carefully.

*= a ten hour total commute is pretty long, but I've had longer single day trips. Round trip traveling coast to coast (NY->LA) started at 4:15 am and ended with the red eye back the next morning, with traffic filled ground travel all to support a few hours of meetings. I've got nothing on the guys and gals who commute 3-8 hours regularly each day.