Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘business travel

Thinking West

leave a comment »

Greetings from lovely White Plains, New York.

I’ve been up here a few days, having flown up to New York City on Monday for a series of meetings.

No sooner had I accompanied my colleague down to baggage claim at JFK than I saw the first reports emerging about the bombings in Boston.

Not long after we heard about the ricin letters.

And then this morning I woke up to the news about the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

It made me sick to my stomach, and my heart goes out to the folks in West.

I drove through there just last weekend on my to Lake Whitney just west of West to play some golf with my father.

Many of the people who live there are of Czech descent, and are known for both their hospitality to travelers and for their scrumptious kolaches.

So I wanted to pass along this “Things You Need to Know About West” list, for I and my colleagues are feeling a little homesick at the moment being up here in the Northeast while all this is going on back on our doorstep in central Texas.

Thankfully, I’ll be heading back home later this afternoon, which means I’ll likely be in a JFK queue instead of reporting on IBM earnings, as I’m normally wont to do on earnings day.

I’ll be sure to do an earnings post when I get back to Texas.

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

Something Special In The Air

with 3 comments

There’s really nothing like the joys and vagaries of business travel.

Yes, I’m back in Las Vegas, this time for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Summit, but it was quite the chore getting here.

Never mind that my lowest offer air fair required that I leave at 7:20 AM on a Sunday… That I could deal with.

But as our airplane in Austin was taxiing towards the runway for takeoff, it became quite evident a disgruntled traveler was not a happy camper, and poised to potentially cause quite a bit of trouble during the flight.  He was being very rude to the flight attendants, and was allegedly pontificating about terrorism to his fellow passengers (he was seated a number of rows ahead of me, so I couldn’t quite make out the details).

Thankfully, the American Airline’s staff was on top of the situation, and they weren’t about to take off with this guy and his pontifications, who was refusing to follow simple and reasonable directives from the flight staff (like not getting out of his seat to go to the restroom on an active taxi-way).

So, AA promptly taxied the plane back down the active runway, where the gentleman causing the ruckus was met by some of Austin’s finest security officials and very politely escorted off the plane.

Then, the Captain came on to explain the situation: “Ladies and gentlemen, at American Airlines we strive to be attentive to ALL our customer’s needs, and the customer who was just escorted off the plane had some very special needs we felt important that he get tended to.  We’ll now be on our way to Los Angeles.”

I laughed out loud, as did a number of other passengers — in one quick moment, the captain reassured his very antsy set of passengers, explained the situation in just as much detail as was really needed, reassured us that the troublemaker’s baggage had been removed from the plane, and indicated we would be on our way shortly.

We could now take off with a clear conscience and no concerns.

So I want to say a big thank you to JoAnn, Queen, the Captain, the dead-heading AA pilot, and the rest of the crew of Flight 457 this past Saturday on the flight from Austin to Los Angeles (and on to Vegas).

Your professionalism and calm amidst that minor storm demonstrated to your passengers that you can only “Be yourself. Nonstop” when the planes are moving, and safely, and you made sure they did both on Saturday, and I just wanted to thank you for that.

Written by turbotodd

November 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: A Q&A With IBM’s Steve Wilkins On The Asian-Pacific Economic Juggernaut

leave a comment »

Steve Wilkins is the vice president for IBM Software Marketing in its Global Growth Markets organization, where he is responsible for all marketing of the IBM Websphere, Tivoli, Information Management, Rational and Lotus brands, generating leads via advertising, the Web, events and direct marketing in Asia — Korea, China, India, ASEAN and Australia — and with colleagues in other growth markets in central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

IBM’s vice president for IBM Software Marketing in our Global Growth Markets organization, Steve Wilkins, has a unique perspective on the Asia-Pacific region, and was also instrumental in helping make the IBM InterConnect event a reality here in Singapore.

The last time I saw Steve, we were sharing a cab in Seoul, South Korea, comparing notes about our respective BlackBerry Bolds and various mobile travel applications we had been trying to help us maintain our sanity while on the road.

That was only a short two years ago, and the fact that neither of us continues to carry the Bold says more about just how fast the market is moving, in Asia and beyond, than can I! (We both carry iPhones these days, along with my newfound Nokia 1280 “global” phone acquired here in Singapore this week.)

I sat down with Steve here in Singapore to get the lowdown on the Asia-Pacific market. Steve offered insights ranging from the slowdown and structural shifts we’re witnessing in China (shifts that are creating massive new economic opportunity for individuals and businesses alike) to the ability of Asia-Pacific telecommunications providers to keep pace with the massive growth in mobile computing in the region!

Thanks again to Steve for taking the time to share his wisdoms and insights about this incredibly exciting area of the globe, one that offers massive opportunity but which also requires close attention be paid to the idiosyncratic needs and customs of the various countries that the region constitutes.

You can see our interview here.

Singapore Redux

leave a comment »

I mentioned in an earlier post I would share a little information about Singapore.  Much of this, I crowdsourced liberally from the Wikipedia entry on Singapore, along with some of my own observations thrown in for good measure.

First, the city-state is formally referred to as the “Republic of Singapore.” If you’ve ever flown here from the U.S., you know that it’s one of the longer plane rides one can take.

I left Austin around 8 am last Friday morning, catching connecting flights in Atlanta and then Tokyo’s Narita, with both flights lasting around close to 24 hours flight time, and arriving here early Sunday morning (around 1:30 AM).

Singapore is an island country consisting of 63 islands, and separated from Malaysia by the Straigts of Johor to the north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.

The British founded modern Singapore when it obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824, and was later occupied by the Japanese in World War II. It later declared independence, uniting with other British territories to form Malaysia in 1963, then separated from Malaysia two years later.

It is known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers,” and is the world’s fourth leading financial center, with its ports being among one of the five busiest in the world.

Its economy depends heavily on exports and refining imported goods, and has the third highest per capita income in the world with slightly over 5 million citizens.

Its population is very diverse, and has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, and is one of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations.

It’s manufacturing base includes electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, mechanical engineering, and biomedical sciences. It also produces about 10% of the world’s foundry wafer output, making it an integral part of the globe’s semiconductor industry supply chain.

It also has majored heavily in tourism (including so-called “medical tourism”), and to attract more tourists it legalized gambling in 2005 (The IBM InterConnect conference is being held at Royal Sentosa Resorts, which has one of those casinos).

This is my second visit to Singapore (my first being in early 2010), and my impressions on both visits have been quite favorable. For a Westerner who doesn’t know Chinese, Malay or Tamil, it’s quite easy for an English speaker to find their way around.

The city-state itself reminds me of Dallas or Houston, what with its shiny, chrome and beige skyscrapers and ports surrounding parts of the island.

But it’s also very futuristic and forward-thinking, having invested early on in commercialization of the Internet and hosting a robust mobile computing infrastructure. Singapore is one of the most ubiquitous Internet penetrated of nations in the world, with over 77 percent of its citizens having online access.

And the “Intelligent Nation 15” ten-year blueprint I mentioned earlier has refined that digital capability, and in fact, the country has emerged as a vital foundry for Internet-based companies.

By way of example, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin relocated here in 2009, announcing plans to invest in “companies with strong interests in the Asian markets.”

Singapore’s National Research Foundation selected eight new incubators for its Technology Incubation Scheme earlier this year, and through that program, the NRF will co-fund up to 85 percent of total investment in each company (up to U.S. $400K).

And talk about a mobile-friendly country. I only needed walk through either Singapore’s Chinatown or “Little India” yesterday afternoon to find mobile phones from around the globe available to me (and settled on an old-school Nokia 1280 to serve as my new GSM “world phone”).

I paid $20 to a local mobile retailer catering to the Indian market, and within minutes (along with the purchase of an $18 SIM card) was up and running.

For the casual visitor, though the city itself can seem expensive compared to other industrialized countries, deals abound, including for food (the cuisine here runs the gamut, from Chinese to Malay to Japanese to India to American, etc.), and that most national of Singaporean pasttimes, shopping.

If you’re a night owl, you’ll certainly find plenty to do here, what between the casinos, the food, and yes, even the nightlife.

As for me, the rest of this week I’ll mostly be stuck in front of the camera or my laptop covering IBM InterConnect here on Sentosa Island, but I hope and expect to sneak in a few noodles or pieces of dim sum along the way.

IBM InterConnect begins first thing tomorrow, so don’t forget to tune in to our Livestream channel and to Twitter hashtag #ibminterconnect so you can keep up with all the emerging announcements and news from IBM in this important and digitally vital part of the world!

Connecting @ IBM InterConnect Singapore

leave a comment »

Greetings from Sentosa Resort Island in Singapore.

The Republic of Singapore, a southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, is 85 miles north of the equator, and is playing host to the IBM InterConnect event this week, which Turbo will be covering here in his blog and as part of IBM’s InterConnect Livestream video coverage.

What’s past is present, except when you’re traveling on business in Asia, when what’s present is prologue. In the case of Singapore, that’s likely to be the case in more ways than one.

Yes, earthlings of the West, I now come to you from the future, some 13 hours ahead of you here in this antiseptic, futuristic city-state, where broadband is plentiful and where the world’s global diaspora lands along with the beams of light helping Singapore to lead us all into the information future.

You’ve heard of the man with the plan? Well, Singapore is a country with the plan.

“Intelligent Nation 2015,” a 10-year masterplan by the government here to help Singapore realize the potential of “infocomm,” is a blueprint for navigating the city-state’s transition “into a global city, universally recognised as an enviable synthesis of technology, infrastructure, enterprise and manpower.”

If Singapore’s future is in information communications, then it is only appropriate that IBM clients, business partners, employees and others in the IBM ecosystem began landing here over the weekend to attend the IBM InterConnect event.

As we positioned the event on the Web site, “In this era of interconnected industries, businesses and consumers, a new kind of leadership is required to turn opportunity into business outcomes. Smarter businesses are capitalizing on information as a bountiful resource and using technology as the catalyst for unleashing innovation.”

Now, for a moment, just close your eyes, and imagine the word cloud that is emerging in front of you: Interconnected. Opportunity. Smarter. Resource. Technology. Innovation. Outcomes.

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, October 9th, we will begin exploring that word cloud in some depth — “we” being IBM clients, business partners, execs, subject matter experts and others.

First, we’ll look at the 10 hot topics that address key business imperatives in this uncertain climate, helping organizations to unleash innovation while pacing the velocity of change.

Second, we’ll share best practices that have been learned directly from successful IBM clients and partners.

Third, as is always the case at our favorite IBM events, we’ll foster a milieu for collaboration: With business decision-making peers and other like minded folks.

And we’ll enable you to meet many of these decision-makers and industry experts, face to face.

As for me, I’ll be covering some of these sessions, in particular the keynotes, here in the Turbo blog.

I’ll also be interviewing those numeourous thought leaders and partners and clients and IBM executives for our LiveStream video coverage.

So, keep your eye out here, and be sure to follow the #ibminterconnect hashtag on Twitter to get all the latest.

In future posts, I’ll convey a little more about the city-state that is Singapore.

Written by turbotodd

October 8, 2012 at 3:47 am

Back In Bangalore

leave a comment »

I’m back in Bangalore.

It’s been a little over a year since my first visit, and this time, I knew what I was getting into in terms of the travel.

I calculated that from Austin to India, as the crow flies, it’s a little over 8,000 miles…or was that kilometers??

The Sri Shiva temple in Bangalore is currently under renovation during my visit, but that certainly hasn't stopped hoardes of faithful Hindus paying a visit to Lord Shiva.

In either case, it’s a longgg way on an airplane traveling 500+ MPH. But I found myself eager with anticipation.

Not only in terms of meeting a new team we had put together, but in also seeing the friends I had already met here, and also visiting the vibrant (and now 3rd largest city in India, in terms of population) metropolis that is Bangalore.

The traffic is crazier than ever…there’s still plenty of dust in the streets, not to mention sacred (literally) cows…but I also sense an incredible energy and vibrancy here that has long ago worn off other major cities in the world.

And then there’s the food, which I wish I could just pack into my suitcase and bring back to America.

There’s also the serious business that is cricket (tonight it was the Mumbai Indians against Trinidad & Tobago, playing in the first round of the CLT20…UPDATE: Mumbai won, but just barely…The Trinidadian cricketers didn’t look too happy at breakfast this morning…They were staying at the same hotel as us.), a game I won’t pretend (yet) to fully comprehend but an excitement around which is palpable.

And then, of course, there are the people of India, and the Bangaloreans in particular, whose grace and courtesy and humbleness are unmatched around the globe.

I discovered from a taxi driver on the ride in from the airport here that 3M citizens in 2003 has grown to 9+M in 2011, and though the growth here may have overmatched the infrastructure, it is the chaos and verve and tenacity of its citizenry which suggests a nation that continues on the rise even despite the global gloom and doom headlined in newspapers and websites around the world.

Though my visit this year will be a week shorter, I have a distinct feeling that my learning and understanding will belie my time on the ground, and I’m very much looking forward to the four full days I have left in this week.

As for the content of the meetings and discussions going on here, I cannot relate those due to competitive reasons…the old CIA, “If I told you I’d have to kill ya.”

But rest assured it’s with great anticipation and expectations that we move through the rest of this week.

Beyond that, I’ll have to save the sordid stories for my as-of-yet unpublished memoirs…but know that the memories of my second sojourn to “Bengalaru” being stored in my human RAM will not be erased or forgotten anytime soon.

P.S. I’m blogging on my new portable guerilla platform, an iPod 4 with an Apple bluetooth keyboard. With some luck and some precious spare time, I’ll also hope to share some of what’s being witnessed here in some semblance of video content.

Written by turbotodd

September 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Crossroads Between East and West

with one comment

I arrived in Constantinople…err, Istanbul…over the weekend.

I’d never been to Turkey before now, so it’s been quite the experience.

I had no sooner been getting readjusted from the Bangalore time zone shift than I had to head back east, so melatonin is my new best friend.

Of course, much of the focus leading up to last night was the final match of the World Cup. I’ll concede that I was rooting for Spain (I caught the Spanish soccer fever two years ago when I was in Madrid and Spain was on its way to winning the Euro National championship), but it was a good performance by both The Netherlands and the Spanish sides.

I’ve seen some comments from friends and others that it wasn’t a very exciting game, but I thought, like a good and strategic chess match, it was well worth the staying up late for and the eventual Spanish goal.

Congrats to both teams, and to host country South Africa, for a very exciting 2010 World Cup. I wish I had been able to see more of the games, but it was definitely interesting to see during my travels the level of excitement and enthusiasm from so many across the globe.

I remember watching people watching games in the Houston airport, at a hotel bar in Bangalore, at another hotel bar in Istanbul, a Tex-Mex restaurant back in Austin…this World Cup really did seem to bring the world closer together, even if only for a short time. And I think even a few Americans got into watching the matches this go round, despite America’s early departure.

As to Istanbul, there’s not much I can say in a blog post that a picture or two can’t say for me. I’m very excited to be here to meet with our Central and Eastern European Web marketing team, and I’m also excited to be fortunate enough to check off another city on my world travel checklist.

For those of you who haven’t been here before, based on what I’ve seen thus far, the Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque are must sees here in Istanbul, as well as the Basilica Cistern (the Medusa heads in which are an eery and real world reminder of the power of mythology!).

In my short day of sightseeing yesterday, we were also able to take in a couple of nice ferry rides across the Bosphorus, eventually ending up wandering around the renowned spice market.

For now, my meetings are about to begin again, so I’ll hope to write more later. But in the meantime, here’s a couple of pics I took along the way with my new Minox “digital spy camera (DSC).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey.

ICAM0113 

Istanbul, Turkey.

It’s the replacement for my Nikon Coolpix, the one I think I mentioned I somehow left by accident in the south of India, and what it lacks in pixels it more than makes up for in portability.

Witness Tom Cruise in the new movie "Knight and Day" and you’ll see the very same camera — although no, that’s not where I got the inspiration to acquire it.

THAT would come from the duty free cart on the Lufthansa flight back from Frankfurt to Houston!

Written by turbotodd

July 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

%d bloggers like this: