Gartner group vice president of Asia Pacific Warren Anderson is not only active in the IT industry in Australia, but also competes internationally in triathlons, so he needs to travel, and often. Here are his travel tips.
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What tech do you travel with, and why?
I never go anywhere without my BlackBerry, and would be so lost without it. As I travel so much, I am either in planes or in meetings, and, so, I need to be in constant contact with the business across the region and with the mother ship in the US. I am still a "button" guy, so getting me to type on a touchscreen will take a lot of changing. I do take my laptop PC with me if I need to work on any documents, but have just added an iPad to my travel technology, and view documents and email on that. So, unless I need to work on documents on a plane and save them, I don't touch the PC.
What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?
My favourite app for travelling is FaceTime. It allows [me] to contact my kids and wife on their iPads by video, which makes travelling just a little more bearable. As it is video [on] a portable device, it feels just a little more real since you can move around with them, rather than having them tied to a PC using video. It is my job to read with my son at night; FaceTime means we still have that time together when I am away, and he can even show me how far he has progressed on Call of Duty or Halo. I have some family in New Zealand: their eldest son has just gone away to uni, but they still have dinner with him on FaceTime, each night. He sits at his normal spot at the dinner table, on his iPad.
Most memorable travel story/experience?
I was recently sitting on a plane to New Zealand, when a famous actor came and sat next to me. He had a very familiar face; I knew him from being in The Lord of The Rings and I knew my daughters would be very impressed. I couldn't remember his name, so I did a search on my phone as soon as I landed. He happened to lean over, saw what I was searching for and had a big laugh. I said it was for my daughters. I'm not sure he believed me, but they were still very impressed. It was Orlando Bloom.
Personal travel advice/tip?
I think that everyone is always willing to give advice on what the best things are to do, but I think that in all the years I have been travelling, I have never met someone with the same habits as myself. I think we all try different things, and then do what works best for ourselves. For me, I always leave home with the motto that as long as I have my passport, my BlackBerry and my credit card, there is no problem I can't solve.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I always arrange for my flights to arrive at the destination early evening and then I don't sleep on planes, other than a 30-minute nap. When I arrive, I go for a ride or a run in the gym, have a couple of beers, a big meal and then have a good eight or nine hours of sleep. This works even when I travel to the US. It is definitely something that you get better at, the more you travel, but I would rather be tired on a plane, than have to struggle with jet lag whilst I am trying to work.
What (if any) travel websites do you use?
I use Wotif and Qantas.
What was your biggest travel disaster?
My assistant books all my travel, but, on a recent trip to India, I decided to take my wife and daughters with me, so I booked the same flights for them online. On the return leg, we had a flight leaving at Mumbai at 10 minutes past midnight. To get into the airport, you needed to show your passport and itinerary to pretty heavily armed soldiers. They ushered me through, and then stopped my wife and daughters outside the airport, saying that they couldn't come into the airport, as their flights were only booked for the following day. They had to wait outside the airport for two hours whilst I tried, desperately, to get them onto flights. They finally found a flight with a business-class seat and three economy seats, and, so, I then went to tell a pretty irate wife how good I was. Guess who sat in economy with the kids?
Where is the best place you've been for duty-free tech shopping?
I used to say Singapore Airport, but, with the outlet shopping in the US now, being able to get special tax credits at the stores, the strength of the Aussie dollar and just the cheap price of tech and clothes, I would have to say the US.
What is your dream travel tech to have on planes/in airports/at hotels?
I would really like wireless electricity.
Favourite destination city to work/visit and why?
I would have to say home, in Brisbane, as it is always so nice to get home. Although, I am sure that one day, I will find out that there is a huge radiation cloud above my house, as my wife and three kids all have laptops, iPads, phones, iPods, etc, and most of our media is wireless. We have fantastic wireless access at home in every room, so I can work from my office or from bed at night, with the same device. One of my Gartner colleagues introduced me to Sonos speakers last year, so now we have them throughout the house and can stream music, legally, to all speakers separately or linked together — very, very cool.