The world is flat, a visa can be helpful…

At this very hour I am supposed to be up in the sky, 30.000 feet, on my way to India, but I am not…
“Can I have your visa please?” struck me by lightning. @#*%!
For almost three years now, my company Qelp has been working closely with one, subsequently two business partners in India. For some people it’s hard to believe that we work together successfully, while we have never met in person. We do meet in cyberspace, some weeks even on a daily basis including weekends.

We email, we chat through GTalk, we conference call, development work is delivered through workflows in our software platform, on test and live servers, JIRA issues fired back and forth, invoices sent and paid. Week after week, month after month. For a range of reasons I never went to India to meet Kalpa, Rashmi, Rabiya, Ravi, Swetha and their colleagues in person. Today I was supposed to go there for the first time, for a full program of meetings in Mumbai and Pune until Thursday. It just did not occur to me anymore, that I would need a visa until (not) checking in. Stupid of course, embarrassing even ;-) Having worked so closely together, my brain apparently felt the Indian embassy in The Hague implicitly granted permission to finally meet these people in person. At Qelp I think we practise Thomas Friedman’s, The world is flat to a significant extent. Offshoring, software-as-a-service for our customers, teleworking, virtual teams, operating internationally. Yet, we still live in a bricks and mortar society – one that does require a visa every now and then, for quite different reasons. Travelling in the European region, to the US, various countries in North Africa and the Middle East does not require ordering a visa in advance. There is either an EU treaty in place, you fill out a form in the plane or pay some duties upon arrival.
Hold on friends, sorry about this, I’ll plan for a new trip.

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