Monday, April 16, 2007

Being a Consultant Makes You Tough (or Stupid)

Since working for ThoughtWorks these 2 years, I've gotten much tougher in the face of being able to work on short or bizarrely interrupted sleep. Case in point: I left Minneapolis (after speaking at the sold-out No Fluff, Just Stuff Twin Cities Software Symposium) on Saturday evening, dashing from my last session at 4:45 straight to the airport. 8 hours later, I was in Amsterdamn, with a 2 hour layover. 12 hours after that, I'm in Kuala Lumpur, arriving at 6:15 AM. I probably got about 8 hour of sleep, but never more than 2 hours at a time. I'm now exactly on the other side of the world from where I live: 12 time-zones away. I cleared customs, got my suitcase, and headed for the car service the conference had arranged. Traffic was awful, and combined with the distance of the airport from downtown KL, I arrived at the hotel at 8:35 AM...and the conference starts at 9 AM with me facilitating. Quick shower, dash upstairs, and I'm ready to go at 9 AM sharp. I then proceeded to talk on and off for 8 hours. I managed to stay up until after 8 PM. It's now the next day, and I feel fine. I'm apparently adjusted to the new time zone (I sleep soundly last night, interrupted only by my phone ringing at 11 PM (or, 11 AM in the states)) which I promptly ignored.

Two years ago, I could have never done this. Just part of the implicit training all the travel and distributed work instills. But there are benefits as well. Here is a picture taken just outside the hotel's meeting rooms.


Kamal said...

Hi Neal,

I'm from KL. Would you be able to tell me what conference you are attending? It's rare to see a ThoughtWorker around these parts of the world :)


Neal Ford said...

It's actually called a "masterclass" on SOA. It's basically a facilitated conference with a couple of speakers and a small number of attendees. I'm learning a lot about SOA adaptation here in Asia.