Jersey Again

December 16, 2008

My common Internet moniker is YankeeHoo. I thought it fitting to begin this sojourn into blogging while I’m near one of the roots of this  handle. Yankee, of course, refers to my upbringing in New Jersey, where I lived until I was 11. At the time of this writing, I am in a room at the very familiar Courtyard by Marriott in Basking Ridge, NJ. It’s a very interesting twist of fate that I have often returned to the Central Jersey region where I grew up. Over the last 6 years as a Vision Point Systems employee, I have probably stayed at this hotel on average of about 2 nights per month. While being an interesting part of my personal biography, I think the travel dynamic it exemplifies, may be of great interest to the general readers, especially those in SW VA or other geographically similar regions.

Roanoke, VA is about a 7.5 hour car ride from New York City. I would actually suggest this is an advantage for the region. I pulled into my client’s parking lot around 1:30 PM this afternoon after leaving at a fairly reasonable hour in the morning – enough time to get in some client face time, get some work done, and most importantly, bill hours. The potential to fly exists from Roanoke’s regional airport, but our company policy is to drive – not only because of cost and schedule constraints, but because it can take just as long to switch planes, rent a car, etc.

There are three points I want to make about this arrangement relating to consulting and business. I’ll start first with cost of living. Roanoke.org has a great cost of living calculator that allows you to see the disparity between the regions in terms of what resources would cost in various areas. We’ve been able to take advantage of this in our hourly billing rates to clients in the New York Metro Area and be very price competetive with local firms, while avoiding the headaches that come with comlplete offshoring.

My second point is that travel is required. We’ve been able to utilize many technologies over the years for remote support such as conference bridging, remote desktop, etc. These are great. However, one thing I keep getting reminded of, and was reminded of today again, is sitting accross the table from someone is sometimes the only way to understand if they really understand what’s being talked about, especially when designing complex systems.

My third and final point is geographic diversity and exposure is critical to any consultant’s sanity. I love living in Roanoke. I love the business community in Roanoke. The NCTC exemplifies the industrial diversity and relevance that the region has. At the same time, the culture, business environment, and way of life is dramatically different up here. I thoroughly enjoy coming up here (if sometimes only for the pizza). I also enjoy coming home, sometimes tired from the drive, but always recharged from the exposure.

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One Response to “Jersey Again”

  1. Mister Mystery Says:

    I agree, it’s essential to get out of the office, and even your geographic area once in a while. Non-stop traveling is a grind, but day after day in the office is a rut. Nobody in a rut is doing their best work.


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