Unpack your suitcase

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Finally, the summer months are upon us. Oftentimes, this can translate into less business travel, as trade shows wind down (revving up for the big SEMICON West show, I suppose) and there are fewer conferences. With this, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is breathing a sigh of relief (unless you are a glutton for punishment and plan to cash in a bazillion frequent-flyer miles to take the troops to Disney next month). As we know, it's not necessarily the business that can wear us down but the process of getting from point A to point B.

Everyone seems more cantankerous when it comes to flying lately, including seasoned business travelers who tend to view delays and questionable customer service as par for the course. Being told (eventually) that to get to point B, you will have to go through points C, D and E with only a growl, snack mix and sludge coffee, you can see why all trips now involve a post-trip discussion about the personal tribulations you endured to finally reach your destination. We all have travel horror stories, myself included (you know there isn't enough room in this magazine to detail these colorful epics).

So when Bob Greene, a prolific columnist for the Chicago Tribune, recently asked a question regarding traveling in general, he got my attention: When was the last time you took a business trip where the end result couldn't have been the same via fax, teleconference or e-mail?

He has a good point.

I know I'm not the only one who has attended a less-than-stellar tradeshow or an unorganized business meeting and then boarded a plane back to home base only to think that my time could have been spent doing something more productive. But then there is always one tidbit of information or a good conversation that reels me back to being a frequent-flyer card holder (with a gold star, please).

So it's not all about productivity, it's about personal relationships – whether you are selling a new engineering concept or keeping on top of the latest trends in the industry. Still, there is potential for different avenues that can bypass trudging through an airport terminal and a visit to the lost baggage carrousel. Teleconferencing and Web casts come to mind for some discussions, where you can still have some personal interaction. While some Web casts I've seen rank in the “dismal” category, I think there is still some potential here, and perhaps you do, too.

So while I'm cooling down on the travel schedule in the months to come, others on the Advanced Packaging team will be out there in force. And because I can't get up the nerve to take on Disney, I'll just see you at SEMICON West.

Until next month,
Amy Knutson-Strack
Senior Executive Editor
Print & New Media

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