|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Jan-Apr 2001||Discussion|
MOBILE EXECUTIVES ON INTERNET TIME
By sheer coincidence, and perhaps individual will and destiny, two mobile executives convened in my home yesterday. One had travelled from South America and the other from Nice and Monte Carlo. It would not have been possible to meet like this without mobile phones and emails.
As I listened to them, I wondered how they managed to stay friends after being romantically involved. That, to me, is a challenge. That is something to aspire to. After all, sustaining long term relationships as witness to one's trials and tribulations is possible only by regularity of interaction and requirement, such as by blood and kin.
In this age of mobility and Internet time, how does one stay in close touch? I arrive home to bills, publications, and junk mail. Only at Christmas could I hope to receive hand-written personal mail. It has become too convenient and too affordable to stay in touch by email.
Meeting face to face has now become a luxury not usually expected. Even in the office, it's easier to send an email than to pick up the phone or walk around the corner. We've become faceless people behind closed doors or computer screens.
In the past, it was easy to run away by moving to another country. Now, you can stay in the same city or even the same neighbourhood and not risk meeting each other.
Someone I met recently remarked that he had spared me a month of introductions over a five course meal. I replied that mobile executives travelling on Internet speed cannot afford a month, let alone a day. Indeed, we condense all we want to say in that precious moment of a face-to-face meeting. Everything after that is follow-up.