Shortly after graduating from engineering school in 1984 under the watchful eye of big brother, I joined LSI Logic Corporation as a field applications engineer and started to travel. Way too much at first. Over to Asia many times, throughout the U.S. and Canada, to Central America and to Europe. One year I put over 1,000,000 miles on my AirCanada Aeroplan account. I still travel a fair amount today although thankfully not nearly as much.
One thing I’ve come to realize over my career is that travel is tough. You are away from your family, eating strange food, living in hotels, and are sleep deprived. The expectation to produce results is higher than usual from both your employer and your customer (or partner) because of high costs and finite schedules.
To add insult to injury, your productivity is shot because things just don’t work like they do at your desk. The phone and computer systems are different, you rely on your cell phone, you don’t have any clerical help (not that I do even in the office), computer support is long distance and in different time zones, Internet access is sporadic, security is a concern and your files and applications aren’t always accessible when and where you need them. They’re supposed to be, but let’s face it… they aren’t.
A few years ago I came to the conclusion that people specifying and developing ICT (information and communication technology) products don’t really care about the pressure that mobile workers face. If they did, they wouldn’t release products and make the outrageous claims that they do. And they wouldn’t try to cram a solution designed to work on a high speed network that’s connected 24/7 to the Internet down the throats of mobile workers that are occasionally connected over a thin pipe. And make them look bad… make them miss their son’s hockey game… because things didn’t work right or together or fast enough.
When Brent, Mike and I were looking for the next gig a few years ago, we agreed that these problems needed to be addressed. We asked some of our friends if they had the same problems. We got a resounding “yes”. So we thought we’d start a company that was focused on trying to help people like us find better solutions to their IT problems when they were working away from the office.
This is the essence of what I’d like to explore on this blog. What issues are you facing? What solutions have you found? Who’s “over promising” and who’s actually delivering?