I've been working with one of our partners to try and build the business case for a very large deal down in Flordia. I've been in meetings the past three days with the president of this partner company and it's been fascinating getting to know him. He was born in China and received his PhD from Columbia and is now a Professor of Physics as well as the President of this company. We talked last night over dinner about the impact of his physics research on his companies technology and business modeling capabilities. His specialty is non-linear systems and it's links to cognitive functions like image recognition. The technology that they founded their company on began as DARPA (Department of Defense research group who really created the internet) funded research for targeting systems and ended up as a very successful technology offering. He shared his view of China hosting the olympics and summed it up with the explanation that "China just wants to be accepted by the rest of the world." Interesting.
Sitting in these meetings, I was impressed by his brilliance. He didn't say much, but when he did speak or ask questions, it was dead on, and always humble and kind. I've worked with a lot of researchers and technologists who are brilliant, and have no problem letting you know this every time they open their mouth. If I did an honest assessment of how often I speak and what my motivation is behind my words, it probably wouldn't be pretty.
I haven't traveled much this summer, which has been nice to be home on my own schedule. The downside of my lack of travel is not having as much face-time with customers and co-workers, which is where I think I'm at my best in my job. I'm back today and traveling sporadically over the next couple of weeks, with my travel probably picking up between now and the end of the year. My Hilton, National Rental Car and Northwest status levels are all shot to hell, but it's been worth it not to have to travel. Let's see if I still feel that way next year when I'm flying coach, driving a VW bug and have a hotel room next to the ice machine.