August 10, 2006
Posted by Gordon Smith

Yesterday, I agreed to present a paper at Steve Bainbridge's UCLA Corporate Governance Colloquium. Steve is a great guy, and I look forward to spending some time with him -- not to mention going to SoCal from the depths of Wisconsin's winter -- but in all honesty, the first thought that came to mind when he called was, "Another plane trip? Could I combine this with something else I already have planned?"

News this morning of a foiled terrorist plot in Britain has upped the ante on security again, and the U.S. is now banning liquids from carry-ons. Ann wonders whether this might signal the "end of carry-on luggage -- even a purse?" I had the same thought. Carry-ons are history.

Driving was never a convenient option for long trips, but it had the virtue of being relatively cheap. With the price of gasoline headed for $4 a gallon, driving is no longer that.

Of course, there's always cycling. But for me, riding to work is close to the outer boundary of that technology.

Which brings me to my latest resolution: displace travel with technology. I always have found face-to-face meetings quite useful in forming and maintaining professional relationships, but we are entering an era in which such meetings will become increasingly precious. Fortunately, advances in technology are picking up some of the slack. Internet telephony has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, effectively eliminating the concept of "long distance telephone calls." Video conferencing, too, is now cheaper and more convenient than ever.

The times they are a-changin'.

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