There's no getting away from it – Sydney is a stunningly located city. It is, however, a very, very long way away from home.
Our ability to communicate in the modern age is quite simply miraculous. So far today, I've been able to catch up with my Asia IT Manager (who is in Tokyo this week) via video chat, kept up to date with home by text and instant message (the slightly asynchronous media easier to manage with a six month-old to look after), reworked the annual staff IT Survey that we are going to be launching next month (using SurveyGizmo, and popped in to say hello in person to people in the office here. All (bar the text messages and the meet and greet) from a £200 netbook and the hotel broadband connection. That we just take all of this stuff in many ways for granted these days is an illustration of how easy it is all becoming.
First impressions of the office here is of incredible activity and growth. The Australian economy had a mild flirtation with the global recession, but then got back to providing the raw materials that China in particular so desperately needs to keep it's manufacturing engine running. That underlying strength in the economy feeds into all of the other markets (and for us, the drive for marketing activity).
The Australian operation is growing at a tremendous rate, and as a result there is a real opportunity to see how some of the new services that we have made available can help to bolster that growth. It's much easier to adopt new ways of working when there are new challenges as a result of business success.
Feedback so far from people about the Google services has been positive, but I'm going to be spending time with the team over the next few days talking about the services that we will be rolling out in the next few months, and how they can help them with the business opportunities that they have.