Warning – non-eDiscovery and possible rant follows

I was really looking forward to ILTACON 2022. I invested days scheduling and preparing to transform my usual hectic briefings into truly ‘Well Formed Meetings’ using KnowNow to research and build focused, purposeful agendas with 20+ market leading companies over two days.  As a frequent business traveler I understand how Monday’s severe weather caused more than 8,000 flight delays and cancellations. Almost two days camped in a crowded airport or sitting on the tarmac gave me a lot of time to think about the complete lack of resiliency created by our Just In Time (JIT) lean corporate culture.

There have been lots of good articles on how the pilot/crew shortage and supply chain interruptions have created fragile service and supply systems. Corporations make record revenue and profits while consumers face record inflation and service outages of all kinds. Why should corporations invest in resiliency when scarcity drives up prices and profit for stakeholders?

ILTACON 2022 – The year that was not meant to be

For those of you who have not kept up, I am wearing three hats these days. Between my consulting clients (eDJ Group), analyst clients (eDiscovery Journal) and playing jack-of-all-trades for a startup personal analytics platform (Know-Now.io) I have been too busy to keep up with the conference circuit.

Then ILTA’s Beth Anne Stuebe kindly offered me a last-minute press pass that coincided with client research requests and the internal release of KnowNow’s new meeting module. I could not wait to use our new AI tech to summarize transcripts and take time-synchronized insights instead of frantically writing sound bites and key points.

Event Prep

I did my usual attendance blog and got a lot of ‘still deciding’ responses, so I kept my travel to Tuesday-Wednesday. Two weeks out I was playing with our social network view of my conference project model and realized that it made a good, targeted mailing list. I sent personal notes to roughly 30 former briefing coordinators and filled both days with back-to-back briefings and social events with peers.

I used our research tools to create agenda questions from recent press releases, posts or webinars and shared them with attendees. While KnowNow is optimized for Teams meetings, I successfully experimented with generating transcripts recordings via tablet while taking live handwritten notes. Some attendees got me early feedback and we were all set to have productive sessions.

Airline Failure – please excuse the rant

Despite interminable airport construction, I managed a birthday burger for lunch while waiting to board. The first flight delayed text arrived. They came hourly as I retreated from the growing crowds. Despite New York and Dallas, the weather in D.C. looked fine.

I watched the last D.C. flight board and depart while the gate agent finally told us that our flight was cancelled due to weather. It was really cancelled because the airlines are understaffed, but weather got them off the hook for hotels for over 1,000 passengers stranded in the airport.

I know because we all stood in line for 4-6 hours to hear that from a customer service rep. I could have rescheduled for a Tuesday flight online, but it took an agent to push my Wednesday return to Thursday. Getting home after midnight, I sent cancellations and set up Calendly for Thursday options with the hope that I could salvage live briefings.

Back at the airport on Tuesday I could tell that my odds were not great. All too frequent delay or cancellations announcements evoked groans from the crowds. Sure enough, the crew was delayed and we did not board until almost sunset. I sent my ‘Fingers crossed!’ text before airplane mode.

For a brief moment we left the ground and then slammed back down with squealing brakes and slowly returned to the gate. Mechanics hurried to the cockpit, which got my hopes up.

An hour later they deplaned us after announcing that the hydraulics had failed. This time they assured us they could get a replacement plane from the hangar and we would be on our way. It took less than an hour (one drink) to board the replacement and we taxied once more for take-off. Engines spun up, then down.

Plane back at the gate they sadly announced that the crew was now ‘timed out’ and they were trying to get another crew. ‘Please have another tiny bottle of water or granola bar on us.’ After an hour I was fairly sure DCA would not let us land at 1 a.m. but I kept hoping. We boarded again, only to be deplaned and told that our flight was ‘delayed til 6:30a.m. on Wednesday’. I ran the calculations on how much of my Wednesday I could salvage and made them give me a full refund. Fool me twice…

The Aftermath –

Every one of my briefings and peer catchups has graciously rescheduled for a virtual visit next week, so you will be getting my best write-ups. I have lost my trust in the airline system’s overall stability and ability to overcome even simple hiccups. Several of my executive friends have commented that they may cancel any optional business travel for their departments after having key personnel stranded for days recently. The Pandemic Pause opened the remote/hybrid Pandora’s Box and are still causing waves of quiet quitting as knowledge professionals reevaluate their priorities. Users, customers and clients lose trust in unstable systems without resilience. They make local backups, have alternative vendors in the wings and may just decide that virtual is good enough to replace business travel. These examples apply to eDiscovery technologies, staffing and workflows. Resilience means more than backup and recovery.

As always, I would love your comments, questions and feedback. Glad to be safe and sad to have missed so much opportunity at ILTACON 2022.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call if he has availability. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being published. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 


Want to see my pandemic project? Visit KnowNow to explore how eDiscovery tools can be applied on your own data to create a personal knowledge management system. Apply for early access while you can!


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