The World is Not Always Flat

The famous book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century written by Thomas Friedman was one of the requirements of my economics professors at UPS back in the mid 90’s.  CollabNet’s ALM platform was named in the book for helping to bridge the distance gap.  Led by our founder Brian Behlendorf at that time CollabNet was busy socializing the concept of using Open Source techniques within companies to gain all of the benefits that come with Open Source communities.  Over time, our sales engineers now call that innersource and using things like a Wiki, mailing list, and tracker in a SaaS environment have become mainstream within our community.   That platform plus a CVS replacement we called cleverly called Subversion became the foundation of our company today.

I digress. Yesterday I was in the Frankfurt airport, waiting for a flight from Frankfurt to London’s Heathrow airport.   After sitting, waiting, day dreaming on how I could help a particular customer we went to visit that day – my flight was canceled…Then the next one was canceled…  I was stuck.  Off to the hotel, baggage lost in the container.  Our  VP in Europe, Dom, anxiously calling me at 11pm,then midnight, then 1am…

5 am wake up…Put my shoes on – and back to call sign FRA.  After queuing for 5-6 hours – the realization after being mislead by well intentioned airline employee after another – No flights today either -No baggage – the time was now to catch a train.  I had already missed a flight to London and now, in the midst of a snow storm, I needed to get to Amsterdam so that I could meet with customers the next day.   Miles and miles away – no one really knew what was going on.  Everyone around me using their phones to make calls, check emails, flight status, train status, looking for the next steps to getting as far away from FRA as possible.  This was frustrating and inefficient, for sure, even for the most seasoned of travelers -which I’ve become since CollabNet purchased my company back in February.

In these times it’s really nice to have reliable technology assets.  Although I was disheveled, listening to one customer after another yelling at Lufthansa reps, I was also amazingly quite connected.  One text message away from ground control, one phone call away from my wife (5,000+ miles away).

Many of the hundreds of people I met with in 2010 felt this this type of frustration at their work places.  Queuing, disheveled, and mislead by well intentioned people.   Do you feel like this?  If so, drop me a line, and maybe CollabNet can help.

This blog was written in the Frankfurt train station on 9 December 2010 while waiting for the fast train to Amsterdam.

Train Station

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