Logan is My Nightmare
Boston Logan is a place from my nightmares.
It’s not because I dislike Boston, far from it. And it’s not that I dislike the airport’s location, which is one of the more convenient in the US. Most of the airport, at least most of Terminal B, is actually pretty nice.
The area that’s from my nightmares is the separate Canadian quarantine of gates B1-B3. Air Canada flies exclusively from these gates, cut off from the rest of the terminal. Inside, there’s a large mural of an Air Canada jet sporting old livery, a one-stall bathroom (at least for men), and a snack bar with lukewarm coffee and prepared sandwiches.
The gate area is typically packed with travellers waiting for their flights. There’s a bar stool area to do some work on counters and it’s hard to know which outlets work or don’t.
In the grand scheme, it’s not really that bad. With only three gates and a dedicated security line with expedited (but not true pre-check) security, on most days you can breeze through and arrive 20 minutes or less before the departure time without worrying about missing your flight. There’s also duty free from a boutique land-side that brings in purchased items through security for you before the flight (so you can buy duty free booze on your way back to Canada).
No, what reminds me of my nightmares is the constant delays. Nearly every day, the later flights are delayed and it’s a crapshoot as to whether you’ll make it home and if you do at what ungodly hour that will happen. Boston gets “low clouds”, fog, thunderstorms, freezing rain, blizzards, etc that cause ground stops for incoming flights. Flight delays also accumulate by the end of the day, causing the last flights to often be the most delayed or canceled.
When we were starting UCIC, we were working on our Kickstarter project and trying to answer as many questions as we could on our campaign. We ended up delaying our launch to figure out more things. Later, we were delayed in getting components, or finding parts designers, or getting funding, or waiting to hear back from developers. Every time we hit a hitch, I had a recurring dream of being stuck in a terminal indefinitely waiting for a delayed flight.
The generic terminal of my nightmare always had the same characteristics:
- Low drop ceiling, usually with with some water stains on the panels
- Fluorescent lighting
- Crowds of random cold strangers
- Difficulty to read departure boards
- Warn out, faded carpet with patterns from the nineties
- Gate staff heads down in displays, several rows of people waiting in front of them
- Poor ventilation
It wasn’t until a few years ago when my daughter received Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss that it occurred to me that the airport lounge was similar to The Waiting Place.
Here’s what Dr. Seuss says about it.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
When you’re in a startup, there might be times when it seems like you’re waiting indefinitely.
Waiting for your Kickstarter to launch, or a VC to respond, or a term sheet, or a response to your YC application, or for your client to respond, or waiting for a vendor to give you an estimate on BOM, or waiting for lead times, or waiting for a partner to get back from vacation, or waiting for customer feedback, or waiting for the results of the MVP survey. There’s always something to wait for.
If you’re in a startup, no, that’s not for you. Yes, there will be things you need to wait for but very quickly these waiting times can add up and lead you to be paralysed. Better to just assume one outcome and start moving in that direction for the sake of momentum.
Whenever I had that dream of being stuck in a terminal, I knew that I needed to make a decision and run with it.
Sorry Logan, you’re not really my nightmare, just similar to it (same goes for you, old parts of Laguardia and Dulles).