Ghosted: from URL to IRL

This week the video conferencing company Zoom announced its IPO.

In the Forbes profile of its founder Eric Yuan, this nugget jumped out at me:

For his IPO road show, Yuan deigned to make the 50-mile trek from his San Jose headquarters to San Francisco for a single investor lunch—and then bolted back to work. Everyone else, money manager big or small, met with him virtually, over Zoom. When Yuan flew to New York for the IPO, it was just his eighth work trip in five years. 

8 work trips in 5 years.

A lot of us may do that in 1 year. Some of us do that in 1 month. A few brave souls would do it in a couple of weeks.

Whether by cause or effect, a common frustration I’ve been hearing of late is a lot of in-person meetings getting repeatedly rescheduled at short notice or just shelved completely. 

There are likely a few factors at play here: a renewed focus on protecting time; the increased stress and overwhelm that seems to be part and parcel of modern work; wider shifts in our culture; and the wealth of communication options that contribute both positively and negatively to all three of the others.

For those of us who place great value on in-person connections, these shifts can be troubling. 

Video technology like Zoom is an incredible enabler, and nearly flawless in quality, but it’s still not the same – and until we truly do enter the matrix, won’t ever be.

The question now is about making choices.

Where and when do we keep pressing ahead to bring people together in-person and risk the ghosting, rescheduling, and disregard for time and energy? 

And to what degree do we accept that remote is the future, and lap up the efficient, convenient, but 2 dimensional utility it provides?

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