Journal: News & Comment

Thursday, September 16, 2004
# 1:56:00 PM:

Curse the round earth

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Navarik, the company I work for, has customers all around the world. Sometimes that gets complicated. For example, I was working on a website project a couple of months ago where:

  • The main client office was in Hong Kong.
  • The key client contact was traveling in North America, mostly on the east coast.
  • Our president, who was part of the project, was in Houston, London, and Oslo at different stages of the discussion.
  • We were working with a designer in Kansas.
  • Our creative director and I were in Vancouver.

For the most part, conference calls and even instant messaging for the entire team were out of the question. The window of opportunity each day when everyone was awake and at an office or computer was tiny—Hong Kong, Vancouver, and Oslo are very nearly as far apart in time zones as three cities can be. So we worked by e-mail.

Even then, if I sent a message at 6:00 pm my time, that's the beginning of the day in Hong Kong, and 3 in the morning in Norway. A set of replies could take a whole day to get around. Somehow, we made it work, but global commerce does have its frictions.


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