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7 comments

People still need people

Posted August 04, 2008 6:56 PM by mavella

I was surfing some boards looking for inspiration and found this gem of a visitor comment on Fast Company a bit back, discussing the impacts of rising fuel costs on business:

"Within five years, technology will obliterate the need for business travel."

When I got done laughing hysterically after reading that, I thought: seriously, somebody believes that?

This idea has been launched several times, pretty much starting when the telephone was invented and continuing through each progressive step of technology improvement. Radio. Television. Videoconferencing. Internet.

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Guru
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#1

Re: People still need people

08/04/2008 9:04 PM

its true, because of tech fast develop, it indeed reduce the time and the cost of businessman's travel

In spite of this, people need relationship, need friendship, need trust each other.

play fair.

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#2

Re: People still need people

08/05/2008 5:03 AM

There is a lot of value in what cnpower says. There is nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting for engendering trust, respect and understanding, particularly in sales activities.

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#3

Re: People still need people

08/06/2008 8:19 AM

Hi mavella,

Not sure if you're a fan, but in Streisand's song, she uses the phrase "People who Need People" :

Over the years, I've used WebEx and SameTime (IBM/Lotus) products, along with other web-collaborative software tools, and know from personal experience that they are very effective in getting work done when collaborating domestically and overseas.

However, to develop that initial trust with a new customer or supplier (I think the Chinese word is "Guanzi" - maybe CNPower could help me), that makes all future collaboration over the web possible, there's nothing like showing up at their site, sharing a meal, and making a face-to-face personal connection.

There's something about making eye contact and doing a handshake, at least once a year, that goes a long way in cementing a business relationship.

It may not be the greenest thing to hop on a plane and do this, but there's no substitute, in my opinion.

-april05

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#4

Re: People still need people

08/06/2008 8:56 AM

I don't know that technology will make business travel obsolete (I rather doubt it), but rising fuel costs are a good candidate for doing the job. I guess proponents of videoconferencing would be the hardcore true believers. There are some meetings that can be done by conference call, but not every transaction is a typical "meeting". I used to have a job that was essentially 100% travel, and there's no way to do that job without going to the locations.

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#5

Re: People still need people

08/06/2008 9:45 AM

Many technical people are dealing with equipment, systems and processes. Much of my business travel is to look, watch, study, time, measure, smell, feel these items. Also when you go to another work site you will learn things you didn't know you needed to know until you view the system, equipment etc.

Anybody that thinks business travel can be eliminated have a very narrow view of what business travel is. Some of it is looking at numbers on a power-point graph in a conference room, but much of it is not so easily replaced.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: People still need people

08/06/2008 11:02 AM

I agree with everyone's opinion that technology cannot and should not replace the "face-to-face, see it with your own eyes" methods. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I still prefer the telephone to email, and walking over to speak to someone instead of phoning or email. That could just be me, but from what I'm reading in the letters, maybe it's not. And if we all feel this way, why is it that people say that engineers have no "people skills?"

-Bluezone

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#6

Re: People still need people

08/06/2008 10:55 AM

The main problem is that beancounters have not figured out how to assign a dollar value to "good will".

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