Travel Woes

Product Management means travel is needed at times. That requirement might be shrinking, but it will never be zero. Travel brings woes, and challenges.

Earlier in his career, the Dude spent a LOT of time on airplanes. His record year was 261,000 miles in the air. That year, he was in Singapore three times before March 1st, hit 1K status on United by April 1st, and had a late year flurry of travel, including 12 weeks out of 15 on the road. As a product manager.

Lately, his travel schedule has dropped to almost nil. The advances in webinars and telephony have greatly reduced the in person, face-to-face meeting demands. This is a good thing.

Still, there are times when travel is unavoidable. First when you must attend a conference or trade show, and second, when a team has an in person workshop. For some reason, the latter just doesn't work well via the webinar tools out there.

This last week, the Dude was in Europe to support a conference, standing in a trade show booth for 11 hours a day for 4 days.


  1. Airports have become even more crowded. There always seem to be some gates closed, or construction happening that impairs the ability to navigate in a hurry.
  2. Airplanes are almost always full. Software, and scheduling algorithms make it easy for airlines to optimize their route planning and keep planes full-er. Good for business, and profitability. Bad for frequent travelers.
  3. Hotels are getting shittier. Amenities are decreasing, and the care they take seems to be abating. What really pisses the Dude off is when hotels green-wash. You know, they have a placard in the bathroom saying they want you to help them save water by reusing the towels, but when you follow their instruction, they replace them everyday anyways.
  4. The Dude has avoided using any of the ride share services, but since "Super Shuttle" was put out of business, he had to use the corporate ride hailing app, Lyft. It didn't suck, and it was about 1/3 the price of the recommended car service, but it was a lot more than the cost of Super Shuttle". Sigh.
  5. The Dude forgot to download some movies on his Hulu and Netflix app on his iPad. Alas, the library isn't available in Europe, so no entertainment to help him nod off at night.
  6. The Dude is getting too old to stand on thin carpet that is the de riguer in booths these days. Also, his voice always seems to fail him.
  7. In the process of talking to, and shaking hands with hundreds of people, in winter, in Europe, it is inevitable that the Dude picked up a cold bug. Alas, it seems to be pretty nasty.
  8. Even though the Dude typically does about 2 international trips a year, his Global Entry membership is worth every dollar. Highly recommended, even if your employer won't reimburse for it.

Fortunately, the next trip should be a short hop for a personal family visit in March.

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