For most of late September, my daily schedule was devoid of business meetings. It seemed as if the entire high-tech industry was too shocked and too upset to conduct business during such a tragic time for all Americans.
It will never be business as usual, but Im pleased to say that my phone is ringing again and my e-mail inbox is filling up with messages. Companies like Proxim (wireless LANs), Snap Appliances (storage) and Upshot (hosted sales applications) are getting back on the road, visiting our New York offices and knocking on my door to pitch new solutions.
The tone of each meeting, however, is quite informal compared with business before Sept. 11. Instead of jumping right into strategic plans and technical specs, visitors are quick to ask me about my circle of friends and family members. Did they avoid harms way? Are they scared? Will New York ever be the same?
The simple answer to those three questions is yes, yes and no. My family is safe, but I think everyone in America is somewhat scared.
But dont confuse "being scared" with "living in fear." Its natural to be scared during such unpredictable times, but I refuse to let fear dominate my personal or professional life.
Many of our readers have taken a similar stand. The marketing folks at Proxim, for instance, visited New York a few days ago to discuss their latest wireless LAN products.
Many out-of-towners feel compelled to visit ground zero during their stay in New York. Ironically, seeing the devastation first-hand—even from a few blocks away—allows some people to more effectively cope with our nations loss and the challenges ahead.
Much like these visitors, I dont want someone to filter or interpret a critical day in history that occurred two miles from my office. I value the broadcast news, Web news and print coverage of Americas new war. But when I recount the events of Sept. 11, 2001, for my children and grandchildren, I want to give them a first-hand account of our nations pain and proud recovery. Thats why I, too, plan to visit ground zero within the next few days.
In the meantime, e-mail, voicemail and industry meetings are a welcome—but temporary—distraction from the devastation down the road.