So I've been thinking a lot about why I have to travel, whether we take it for granted the value of "in-person", and if there's an opportunity to close the gap, push out the performance frontier.
I recently saw in my Facebook feed a debate on whether investors should hear pitches over Google Hangout or some other virtual means. One of the responses was super interesting - in essence, he said his team found out that the remote team thought the presenting startup founder was significantly more arrogant than the local team. He recommended virtual pitches only if you already knew the team.
Why? Why? What makes that difference? Why does it matter that you're in the room?
Is it that we don't catch the facial nuances so are left to interpret only the more dramatic gestures and expressions we do see?
Is it that we can't smell their pheromones and emotion indicators, and therefore are missing important data in our analysis?
Is it that we haven't shaken their hands and felt a sense of kinship from the ritual and biochemical stimuli resulting from skin touching skin?
Is it that we can't see their faces at a scale that our brains interpret as human, and therefore feel less empathy?
I could go on and on. We know that trust is about information, and that it's very difficult to build trust without meeting someone at least once. There's something in that live interaction, that if we dissected it and understood it, maybe we could build technology that did more than just solved the problem of seeing the same slides and hearing the same voices - or even seeing the same faces and co-authoring the same document - to create an experience where I feel like I'm in the same room as you. So I never have to get on a plane unless it's going somewhere with ocean and white sand.