I wrote this on my final leg to Orlando for Collaborate 09. Many people have already arrived, it is amazing how much I learn through facebook. Then I met Borkur Steingrimsson from Rittman Mead at Orlando airport, we did the natural thing and had a great big hug, I forgot that according to NBC we should only have elbow tapped.
I am not laughing about the outbreak of Swine Flu or rather H1N1 virus, it is very serious and it is right that we have plans to deal with it, but I think there should only be one source of information and that is what the World Health Organisation was set up to do. As of today they say dont stop travel. On CNN yesterday the story was about how people are just fed up of the story.
Our own Ronan Miles was unwell last week, not swine flu (probably just man flu) but he decided to cancel his trip out to Collaborate. Not only did he feel awful physically but he felt bad about cancelling although it was great to see the number of other user group leaders around the world sending their best regards and he will be missed. He did the right thing, would you want to sit next to someone with a cold on a plane? I had a cough after 12 hours on a flight to Tokyo before the swine flu outbreak and the next day someone I had never met gave me a packet of face masks in the street. So at least I have some if needed on my flight home.
I hope it does not have a big impact on Collaborate, the financial situation is already affecting all conferences as some companies look to cut back on 'junkets', perhaps conferences should be moved to less exotic places in the future. I am not saying Birmingham UK is not exotic but we never get people complaining it is a junket.
So back to the conference, if you see me, hug me, I am not ill and not scared of you.