It’s time to Fall Back!
It’s a great time of year, when the
first hint of a shift in the weather and shorter days advance the sense
Sorry, but this move toward laptop webinars
with six people crowded on a screen has gotten old in a hurry.
I think face-to-face from a distance with
the loved ones works: we enjoy seeing Uncle Claude, young Obhishek, Nilu
and Zahir via Zoom.
But for business, while meeting in person
does open up our COVID-19 closeted world a bit, the specter of the on-screen
avatar, while helpful, also feels at times like sitting in the audience
of a burlesque show.
Seen One, You’ve Seen Them
Online meetings are useful for company meetings
and even some key account appearances; however, the avalanche of group
think webinars going on in air cargo right now can feel like the Burly-Q
of another day. While titillating at first, eventually you are left with
the impression that if you have seen one, you’ve seen them all.
Let’s face it: some webinars end up
as a boring sales platforms amongst the usual suspects with nothing new
to say, or overlong dissertations on roast pig or some such subject.
Feed The Need For A Trade Show
Whilst mounted by sincere people, webinars
lack delivering the standard feel of the fast-developing air cargo industry
of 2020—the dynamic, electrically-charged atmosphere that networking
at a trade show can provide and desperately needs at this time.
Street Smart is the ability to think fast
on your feet.
Scott Rudin wrote a book defining street
“You've put yourself at risk and survived.
Or thrived. Or have scars. You've been tested and have a bank of courage
to depend on when you are tested again.”
Book smarts, as Rudin framed it, mean someone
who is good at following the rules.
“These are people who get straight
A’s, sit in the front, and perhaps enjoy crossword puzzles.
“They like things that have singular
“They like to believe the volume,
and precision, of their knowledge can somehow compensate for their lack
of experience applying it in the real world.”
But in the era of COVID-19, a new thinking
has emerged as a major guiding value. It’s not just thinking in
or outside the box, but rather with no box at all.
We’ve thought about how we can handle
the lack of face to face and easygoing, back-and-forth networking that
air cargo desperately needs right now, while watching people in masks
strapping cargo all over the aircraft. It reminded us of a line in the
movie Fight Club:
“How much can you know about yourself
if you’ve never been in a fight?”
Well, right now air cargo is in a fight
to figure out what to do as an industry at a time when the world is aware
of our business.
We are all of us—big and small—at
the doorstep of a golden opportunity to change more than the public’s
perception about what our industry can accomplish. We can also change
transportation itself in all forms of air cargo as well.
Air cargo has become the greatest driver
of revenue—with the most flights—across the airline industry,
by virtue of COVID-19’s effect on consumer travel. At this time
of maximum exposure, we need to leverage our book smarts and also our
traditional street smarts into a new deal to build a better air cargo
The Great Outside
In New York City, a major portion of my
education was as a salesman walking the streets of Manhattan for Ballentine
Beer. The experience taught me a lot about street smarts.
Today I see restaurant after restaurant—not
only in Manhattan but also out in the neighborhood boroughs—where
street smart restauranters have set up sidewalk cafes to attract diners.
To some, my city may appear like a poor
man’s Paris, but in truth the sidewalks and streets of New York
are alive and filling with more and more physical distanced (what the
hell is social about social distancing?) diners as a welcome, charming
new look for New York.
Street Smart Outside Cargo Conference
So, I’m wondering: why don’t
we organize an outside air cargo trade show in Palm Springs or Bavaria
or Istanbul, sometime after a vaccine has been released?
Put up some airy tents outside and build
some strong, meaningful sessions and dinners so that everyone can get
back to the future?
I recall when CNS met a few years back in
Palm Springs, thinking how much better it would have been if everyone
could have conducted business outside.
This is a call to the trade show companies
that have long profited from air cargo events: create something radically
different, extend a helping hand to put us all together for the good of
Air cargo needs some street smart thinking.