Willie Pang, CEO of ViDM, a self-confessed tech junkie, carries a lot of tech with him when he travels. He shares his love for tech, and why he needs to be surrounded by it in this week's Travel Tech Q&A.
ViDM, or Ventures in Digital Media, is an Australian-based company that was recently founded in August 2011 by senior executives from the publishing, digital and online advertising industry. The company focuses on digital media and advertising technology solutions and services "to help leading publishers and advertisers gain competitive advantages in the Australian and Asian local markets", according to ViDM.
What tech do you travel with and why?
I'm a complete tech junkie. I never travel without a litany of gear. As per any standard, I always carry my MacBook, iPad and iPhone, but a few additional personal tech items help to make travel more enjoyable. These include my Dr Dre Beats headphones, a Canon S95 digital camera, a dual-SIM phone with a global roaming SIM and a PlayStation PSP. You can never have enough tech around you.
What's your favourite phone app for travelling and why?
I love TripIt. Travelling around the world for weeks at a time means countless numbers of flights, hotel bookings and destination maps. TripIt ensures I get to the right flight at the right time, and above all else allows my family to track my whereabouts. I share it on Facebook, which allows my friends living in the destination city to know I'm in town.
Most memorable travel story/experience?
Sofia Coppola's film, Lost in Translation, painted a picture of Tokyo and the Japanese culture for me. Living it intensely over a three-year period showed me the wonders of their culture. From the view at Tokyo tower, to the saké bars and the ever-flashing neon lights — the experience was delightful. It's my home away from home.
Personal travel advice/tip?
Bring great headphones. Frequent travel can be a lonely experience, but music and films can enrich your experience tremendously.
How do you deal with jet lag?
I have the constant misfortune of chasing time zones around the world. I eat lightly and change my clocks to my destination's local time as soon as I board a flight. Sometimes I can trick the body into believing that I'm already there.
What (if any) travel websites do you use?
TripAdvisor is a must. There is nothing as bad as being stuck in an unfamiliar city, in a terrible hotel, with nothing to do around you. Wikipedia also helps to give me some context knowledge to share with locals. Knowing the history, the cultural nuances and facts helps me to adapt quickly.
What was your biggest travel disaster?
We often read of the natural disaster events that wreak havoc on travellers, but I've lived it. I was once travelling to Taipei, and lived through the terrifying experience of landing a plane in the midst of a disaster-level typhoon. At one point, I'm fairly sure that the plane was flying vertically downwards. I lived to tell the tale.
Where is the best place you've been for duty-free tech shopping?
It was once Hong Kong, but, with the Aussie dollar so strong, the US represents unbelievable value. I'm a major photography buff, so it was amazing to see the highest-end digital SLR's retailing for 40 per cent less than in Australia.
What is your dream travel tech to have on planes/in airports/at hotels? (Stuff they don't have yet but boy it would make life so much easier on the road)
Wi-Fi. Absolutely everywhere. American Airlines has it on their flights. The world is catching up, but having Wi-Fi everywhere allows you to stay connected to the things that matter the most. For me, that's my family. Looking into the future, a technology that would allow the body to assimilate to the local time zone and avoid jet lag would be a game changer.
Favourite destination city to work/visit and why? (In relation to technology)
New York is an amazing city — so connected. Technology is widely available everywhere you go, and the overall tech-savviness of the locals means you don't have to explain what you need over and over again. It's a city that never switches off, quite literally.