LCTY versus the volcano

This promised to be a busy week – two LCTY events, and in the middle I had to go to Dublin for a day to provide some Lotus strategy / portfolio training. That involved flying from Heathrow to Dublin, Dublin to Edinburgh, and then Edinburgh to Heathrow. Mother Nature had other ideas, but more on that later.

LCTY London was a knock-out – I don’t know the final attendance number but the place was swarming with customers and business partners. I spent a lot of the day with the film crew from our PR agency, ensuring that we were capturing the thoughts of customers, partners and IBM staff. You can see the results here… of course I managed to get my handsome mug on camera, but unfortunately the edit gives the impression that I repeated myself (probably because I did).

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the closing talk by Professor Brian Cox, discussing the vast and tiny aspects of the universe. To say that he had the audience mesmerised was an understatement. I had the chance of a brief chat with him before he went on, and I asked how long the ‘Wonders of the Solar System’ series took to film (answer: from March to November 2009) and if he really went to all those places just to film some relatively small excerpts (answer: no, because while there they took the opportunity to film content for other programs). Professor Cox, like so many of our favourite speakers over the years, stuck around to chat afterwards, and even autographed Wild Bill’s iPad.

Click on the picture of Professor Cox for a larger version.

After a day in Dublin I boarded a plane (with propellers) to Edinburgh. Twenty minutes after the cabbage crate was due to take off, the pilot informed us that we would now be leaving (good) but would be making a brief stop in Glasgow so that they could drop off an engineer and some spare parts (oh, great). Upon landing at Glasgow, the stewardess said “ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Glasgow”. Like we wanted to be there… which, of course, we didn’t. The subsequent short hop from Glasgow to Edinburgh was over before the plane could get above thirty feet.

I then joined some colleagues in a sports bar to watch Tottenham versus Arsenal, and the least said about that the better.

Thursday morning started with news of the volcanic apocalypse, and after breakfast with my frolleague Richard Bye I checked whether the hotel could extend my stay. Seconds later a text message from British Airways arrived, stating that my flight had been cancelled. Very efficient BA… and the text message arrived at 7:47 (yes, 747, how ironic).

I quickly investigated the possibility of returning home via train, and in a matter of minutes the 16:30 and 17:00 trains became fully-booked and unavailable. So I booked the 17:30 train. After another successful LCTY (with more filming) I boarded the train and got home around midnight. Some of my colleagues arranged a convoy of rental cars and arrived home a lot later. I’m surprised that Mercedes deals are pretty good when you get them from All Car Leasing.

I guess I have to thank Mother Nature for delaying the ash cloud by twelve hours… I think a journey home by ferry and train from Dublin would have been a lot longer and more stressful.

One more snippet of info, discovered by Mike Smith of The Turtle Partnership. There was one other LCTY event going on that day, the 15th of April. Do you know where? Rekyavik… that’s in Iceland.


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