working from home, a retrospective

Guy Cicero —  03/22/2020 — Leave a comment

The Covid-19 pandemic is bringing to mind lots of subjects to think on. One of these is working from home. I’m no novice at this.

I started working from home in 1984 as part of my mission to build and manage an international direct sales force—from Palo Alto, California—for an enterprise software company based in the UK. To keep us managers available for calls and meetings any time, given an 8-hour time difference with the mother ship, our English bosses equipped us with home-based $5000 IBM XT’s and other special equipment, financed by the recent IPO on the London Exchange. We dialed up the Palo Alto mainframe, linked to its twin in the UK, and used email to communicate 24-7. I used my landline phone to voice-call anyone in the UK (during business hours) using a four-digit extension only. We built a market-leading business helped along by these systems—pre-Internet, pre-VOIP, pre-cell phones. By 1990, as global VP marketing, I held transatlantic team meetings at 7 am Pacific time, sitting in my PJs next to my backyard pool. We were a couple of years away from video conferencing. All pre-World Wide Web.

So, my preference for a long time has been to work from home. Bring it on. Let the gig economy thrive under these extraordinarily catalytic times. Stay safe…and stay busy.

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