I am writing this from Detroit Metro Airport, waiting for my plane back to California. Home. Silicon Valley. But, I must say, this trip really changed me, and my view of visiting sub-arctic Middle American cities.
A few years ago, when my friend and client “R” suggested that we consider Detroit for our next geographic expansion, of course I smiled and nodded. But, behind the rolled eyes I tried to hide, I hid my belief that he was thought he was crazy to suggest any such location.
Fast forward to Fall of 2015, and he calls me as he’s departing Silicon Valley, to let me know he’s taken a role as CIO of a hot, fast-growing Ann Arbor-based company. Now, will I open an office, he asked? I jumped on the next plane (exaggeration or poetic license?).
While the November trip was informative, this week’s trip was life-changing. In November, we toured, we saw, we took in. We were almost too busy to take anything in. Oh, and it was 70 degrees. So, the anomalistic weather made it a non-reality-based experience, as well.
This week, Kevan, my regional director and I went on countless meetings – including meeting R, and his newest Director. I’m not sure words will do justice to how at home I was. The personality from every snarky, fast-paced, quick-witted person I grew up with in New York, was somehow transplanted into the work ethic and mindset of the hard-charging Silicon Valley crowd I love. The “if-they-mated” final output, was the Greater Detroit tech management.
Immediately, I was at home. I would stay forever, but for the high of 27 degrees, and the reality that even the cutest of winter boots are still slipping on black ice, or getting stained by salt. Plus, red (my new nose color) is not my best look. Back to California I go. Richer, and excited for my next trip. You know, in June.