How much does an international entrepreneur travel in a year?
The quasi-obsessive quantification and daily social-network ”exhibitionism” trends are very interesting phenomena enabled by new technologies and there is no doubt disciplines such as psychology and sociology will examine them in detail.
Although I don’t believe I follow those trends, it’s true that a certain level of quantification of some activities enables process optimization, setting and achieving goals, or even a more precise analysis of activities that may otherwise be magnified or minimized by a subjective memory recollection.
This is most obvious in the business world. Away from a “micro-manager” tendency to look very closely at every move, or a “big data” one, attempting to extract new knowledge from each number in a table, I decided to check a few concepts related to my business activity, and it has been a really interesting experience. Specially my travel activity.
Clearly, if one is an international serial entrepreneur (I am the founder or co-founder of 8 companies in 2 countries), sooner or later one has to travel. Specially if your business is focused on enterprise, B2B systems, with customers worldwide.
But everything has a limit, and should be taken into account when making decisions. In 2014 I traveled. A lot. 72 flights (compared to 42 the previous year), the longest one being 6,717 miles (10,809 km) from New York to Tokyo. That’s a flight every 5 days, all year long. In fact in the last three years I have traveled 239,152 miles (384,877 km), which amounts to almost 10 times around the world, or more than the distance between the Earth and the Moon. While not all trips are work related, there is no doubt that in any case, it’s a lot of traveling.
Considering that I hold an average of three videoconferences per day, if it wasn’t for the internet, I’d have to travel much more.
So although the “app entrepreneur” stereotype that media portrays so often of kids who have dropped out of college to develop (“ahem”) an app, take three rounds of financing, and go public or be acquired by billions, all without leaving their designer loft offices in Silicon Valley, sounds nice and idyllic, the reality is different. Lots of entrepreneurs, like myself, are not kids any more. And many do not live in Silicon Valley (although I do live in Silicon Alley). And above all, those entrepreneurs have to travel, a lot, to get sales instead of “raising capital.”
It crossed my mind to create an infographic, but I have no time for that. “How about the time it takes to collect this data?” A lot less than it seems, because as soon as I arrive at an airport, I “check-in”, which is shared via Twitter. With that my colleagues, and family, know that I have arrived, and when, and above all I have linked it to various services such as JetLovers, which calculates the routes and distances, so then it is as simple as clicking a link to get all this data, map, etc.
For comprehensiveness shake, here’s the complete list: