January 20-22, 2015

I wrote this the other day but the hotel wi-fi crapped out just as I was about to click Post:

Traveling for work this week. This is my first trip to Austin since I attended my one & only SXSW in 1995. I didn’t see much of the city then, and I’m not actually seeing all that much of the city now, apart from the stretch of Burnet where the IBM campus is, and the handful of routes to and from the various restaurants I’ve visited.

These have included:

  • Noble Sandwich Co
  • Taco Deli
  • Drink.Well
  • Foreign & Domestic
  • Stiles Switch
  • Fork & Vine
  • Tatsu-ya Ramen
  • The Blackbird & Henry

Of those, the purest pleasure definitely came from the brisket at Stiles Switch. Everything else has been good-to-great, but that brisket is the stuff of dreams.

Foreign & Domestic comes in second on the food front. Drink.Well takes the cocktail prize, although I had a mezcal thing at Blackbird & Henry tonight that was pretty unimpeachable.

I have a new set of coworkers here in Austin, and I’m really psyched to have spent a week here & to have confirmed that they’re awesome. 

I’m a natural introvert, and thus working on geographically distributed teams has never been that big a deal for me – in my career I have had at least a dozen different managers, and only 3 of them have lived in the same state as me. 

But I’m still hyperaware that the quality of in-person interaction is so much higher than phone or email or video or whatever else. The bandwidth is SO MUCH higher, and the range of types of information exchanged is so much broader. 

There’s a good reason why my teammates are here – we have two labs, Austin and RTP, each one serving stakeholders in the immediate vicinity – but this week together has been so productive on so many [often intangible] levels that I would argue strongly for the value of regular face-to-face contact for any/all distributed teams.

I dunno, though, maybe if they were in Roswell, NM, I’d have a different opinion. Roswell is kind of a hell-hole, and it smells of a mixture of sulphur and cattle.

On the other hand, Roswell is kind of fascinating, what with the UFO history/fetish & all. Plus White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns aren’t that far away. So maybe, like, Charlotte NC is a better negative example.

January 20-22, 2015

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