The Importance of Passion and Hustle

When it comes to building a startup, its not just the idea that counts. Your idea should be good of course, but its far from everything. Even a great idea doesn’t equal future success.

Execution is far more important.

Which is why your team is so important. Are you right people to pull this off?

A good mix of past experience and raw talent is important. They help you have the confidence to step into the role you are now have to play. They help you put people in the team into the right positions.

I honestly think Malcolm is the most talented app developers around, and I think I am the one of the most talented business minds around, especially in relation to business strategy and strategic moves.

But, that only gets us in the door. That only helps shape our roles. It says nothing of how well DineMob will do.

We have to execute.

Execution

Execution really comes down to three things: passion, hustle, and an open mind.

There seems to be one alumnus in particular with a certain aura of respect about him in the Tech Wildcatters headquarters, and that’s TK Stohlman of FanPrint. From what I gathered just from his speeches and anecdotes on an alumni speaker panel here at TW a few weeks ago, is the dude pretty much embodies passion and hustle.

Passion comes first. You have to believe in the idea and have that passion for it. You have to want it succeed. Passion is the quality that drives people to do something “crazy” by others’ standards: like leaving a 6 figure job to start a new company and take $0 in salary for months to get things up and running, or like flying halfway around the world and setting up shop in a new city at the drop of a dime, because you feel like “I need to be here. For this. Right now.”

Passion drives hustle. Nobody hustles for something they don’t really believe in.

DineMob

DineMob co-founders William & Malcolm

 

The hustle is key

Here’s a quick humble brag: I graduated in the top 10% of my MBA class at Hult in 2012.

But, it gets more interesting.

At least 50% of our grades throughout the whole program came from team projects. The other 50% came from individual projects.

I’ve seen plenty of smart people go through that program and make excellent grades on individual assignments (exams, papers), but fail to graduate in the top 10%. Their most common excuse: they were on “weak teams” (they had weak teammates).

That’s not the case for me. My situation is almost the opposite.

My individual grades during my MBA program (exams, papers) were good, but often not great.

My team grades carried me into the top 10%. My teams always finished at or near the top of every class project.

In every class. Different teammates. Still at or near the top.

I’d like to think of myself as the common denominator here. Maybe I am. Or maybe I just got lucky and had great teammates.

The truth is: I hustled, and busted my ass for every team I worked on, led by example, and my teammates did the same.

Throughout the MBA program, no matter which course, my teams were often the last to leave the building.

We worked hard.

Now, at the helm of DineMob, here at Tech Wildcatters, I’m seeing similar scripts play out.

Investors, mentors, advisors, other teams, staff here at TW…. I’m starting to feel it: an air of respect, and notion that DineMob is at the top of their minds, and they are on board with what we are doing.

It’s the same kind of respect a white belt in jiu jitsu gets when he steps on the mat with a black belt and shows he’s willing to hustle and he’s willing to learn.

It gets noticed. It gets respect.

But, even more than that, it gets results…

 

– William Peregoy

co-Founder @DineMob

dinemob at tech wildcatters

Big News: I Moved Back to Texas (Alternative Title: I Co-Founded a Company – DineMob)

Big news.

I’ve moved back to Texas.

It seems like everything happened pretty quickly. A few weeks ago, Malcolm Woods and I got a chance to pitch a start-up idea to the top investor and incubator program in Dallas.

Only the top 4% of applicants get in. And we got in.

Tech Wildcatters, is the #1 B2B Start-up Accelerator in the US, it consistently ranks in the top 10 for incubators overall – by Forbes, TechCrunch, Inc

It’s a tremendous opportunity for us. It gives us a little bit of seed funding to go out and test and validate our idea and it also gives us a tremendous opportunity to be a part of the program over the next 3 months. It will be really intense and we’ll get to learn from successful entrepreneurs and investors – how to start a company, sell our products, and talk to investors.

I’m extremely excited. It’s always been a goal of mine to run a company.

And the start-up scene in Dallas is really getting underway – I’ve just spent a bit of time here so far – but I must say I’m extremely impressed with the start-up atmosphere in the city.

So. I’m here. Back in Texas. In Dallas this time around. For at least the next 3 months. And, now’s the time to make DineMob happen… look out for more news from us coming real soon.

http://dinemobapp.com/tech-wildcatters-class-of-2015/

dinemob at tech wildcatters

DineMob, front and center at Tech Wildcatters QuickPitch

On Day One, I Got My Ass Kicked

Not really.

I didn’t really do anything.

But, I didn’t know anything. So, I probably looked awful. Or at least I looked like the guy who didn’t know what he was doing.

But, I don’t care.

It was wonderful.

I quoted Nick on this before – when I wrote my “slapped by reality” post. I’ll drop the exact same quote in again here:

“Our local (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) club had an horrific churn rate as new guys would come in to class and not come back. It was easy to know who would stick around – the unassuming guys who had come to learn. It was equally easy to predict the first day dropouts. They’d be wearing some tough guy clothes, perhaps insisting on wearing a coloured belt they’d picked up in a sports centre grading mill. They’d certainly have a stiff pride about them. Then one of our scrawny blue belts would wipe the mat with them. The ego death was simply too much to take. Their buffer had been overrun and their self-image could not take the real-world evidence that they simply weren’t as tough as they thought they were.”

That’s right. In case you didn’t figure it out yet – I decided to get into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Partly inspired by Nick’s and Masa’s assessments that training BJJ has given them discipline that has carried over into other ventures of their life.

Partly inspired by the inspiration of two of my best friends from my previous career Texas who are both heavily into BJJ nowadays. They’ve both gotten into much better shape than our days of sitting around an office all day and then heading to a happy hour to pound beers.

That applies to me as well. I was quite fat back then. In the worst shape of my life. At the age of 23.

I plan to keep it that way. I’ll never be that overweight again. I never have been since. And I never will be. Ever again.

The age of 23 – most people’s physical peak, is/will be my trough.

Anyway, back on topic.

Adding In New Habits Each Month

Who else inspired me?  Oh yeah, the other bloggers – Niall  has posted a lot about functional fitness : i.e.: being a man and not training for your “figure” or how you look in the mirror, but training for a functional skill set. In that sense – any martial art applies here. Any form of sports training really. Looking good should be a side benefit, not the main focus.

Niall also recently talked about focus, and how his current focus is on business and training (for him it was training Krav Manga while in Hong Kong).

And, Maneesh recently wrote about habits. He talks about building one new habit a month, and reinforcing last month’s habit.

What was my habit in August?  Practicing Mandarin.

If there was one thing I did everyday during the month of August, it was practicing Mandarin. Mostly pronunciation.

Damn tones pairs. Tricky bastards.

So – now what? I’ll follow Maneesh’s idea here. In September, I’ll reinforce last month’s habit – so I’ll continue to practice Mandarin everyday.

And then I’ll add something new.

But what?

Fitness was an easy place to look. I’ve been itching to get back into the gym. I haven’t worked out seriously in quite a long time. I did P90x a bit back when I was living in London, and then in Tokyo – I joined a gym. But, I half-assed it. I didn’t have a solid plan, so I just went to the gym to go.

The last time I really had a solid workout program was when I lived in Boston. And that seems so long ago.

So, when I got back to Taipei, I considered getting back in the gym. I considered joining a gym and getting a personal trainer and getting back on the weights.

Then, I had a change of heart.

Why? Well, I guess partly due to the inspiration of those mentioned above: AJ, David, Nick, Masa and their love of BJJ.

Oh, and I remember another friend of mine back in Texas ranting about how the Gracie’s were the best fighters ever and no other fighting style can beat BJJ and when you look at mixed martial arts, anybody who’s anybody has solid knowledge of at least one good grappling discipline.

There’s also one other big reason for

Choosing Sports Training over Weightlifting.

There’s the social aspect of it.

Training with and against other people – you make friends. It’s a social sport, even though it’s an individual sport. That’s only natural.

I’m a very social person – I ranked as an ENTP last time I took the Myers-Briggs and that E is very telling. I talked to the counselor at UT (where I took the Myers-Briggs) and her notion of extrovert was very important to me and stuck with me, “somebody who gets energy from other people”. When her and I talked about that I recalled when I worked as a trader – a job mostly full of introverts – and I just always had to get up from my computer and walk around and talk to people. Mostly the other extroverts. The same guys mentioned above – who are coincidentally all into BJJ now.

So, I need people in my life. I need social activity. If I were to spend all of my time writing, reading, and working on the internet – I would go insane.

Weightlifting is too easy to do individually. You show up to the gym with headphones in and lift. For that reason, it’s too boring. I have enough individual things going on in my life. I need something that requires constant interaction with other people.

Preferably something besides drinking, which is just too easy to fall into as a main social activity. That winds up being costly: time-wise and money-wise. Health-wise as well. Losing whole days to hangovers sucks. Getting drunk and hooking up with random girls is fun, but I’ve done enough of that in recent years. I need something more productive to focus on.

So, I guess these recollections hit me and I remembered Masa knew of solid place to train here in Taipei, so I hit him up and sent me the info of the gym.

I hit up my boys in Texas too to get their thoughts on BJJ and getting started in it.

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is: Getting Started & Getting Dedicated

I popped over to the gym.

Then came the next day to sit in on a class. The only idiot in the class without a gi.

I bought a 6-month membership.

6 moths? For a couple of reasons:

  1. Well, I’ve decided to settle down and stay in Taipei for at least the next 6 months (this inspired more by my quest to speak Mandarin than anything else. But, also because I quite like it here.)
  2. You get a discount for signing up for 6 months rather than doing month-to-month.
  3. And – the biggest reason is: I’ve been down this road before. Not with BJJ, but with boxing. I got all hype and into boxing and joined a boxing gym. Went 3 times a week for a month – was sore as hell at work everyday the next day. But, then when the month ended, I didn’t renew the membership. Why? “Too expensive” and “I didn’t have the money”. Playing basketball was cheaper. I was going to come back and re-join the boxing gym again when I had the funds to do so. But… I never did.

I’m determined to not make the same mistake with BJJ. This one needs a longer commitment.

DSC_0238

Time to Work

Statue of Liberty, Rainbow Bridge

I Never Wanted To Live In New York, but Tokyo is Awesome

I never understood why people wanted to live in New York. Especially when Houston and Austin are so much cheaper.

I never understood why people would leave Houston and Austin to go live in a box the size of a closet in New York.

It just seemed backwards to me.

Until I lived in Tokyo.

Tokyo is expensive as fuck. Kind of like of New York. You live in a tiny box that is way overpriced.

But it is so damn interesting.

Tokyo has 23 different wards. Each of them different from the next.

It’s more diverse than you think. Everybody always said the Japanese are shy, very polite and respectful. Most of the Japanese I met, even in Tokyo, were from Osaka. They weren’t so shy.

I was at an Izakaya (Japanese bar) with one of my friends once, and he was commanding the waitress to pour more sake into my glass: “Moto! moto!”  He would press the button to call the waiter before even looking at the menu and then make him wait on us when he showed up. My girlfriend who was with us, said to him, “you are not Japanese. Japanese don’t act like this.”

But, he wasn’t the only one.

My first 3 months in Japan, I met with 4 different language exchange buddies on a regular basis. To practice my Japanese. 3 of them were from Osaka. One of them was from Tokyo.

The one from Tokyo would hammer me on my writing saying “you can’t learn Japanese without learning how to write to hiragana and katakana.” And, later Kanji. We would meet in coffee shops and he’d make me write Japanese the whole time.

The 3 Osakajin, much different. After they met me once, their notion of language exchange was “let’s go to Izakaya!”

Hell yeah! Works for me.

Personally, I think a bar is a great place to learn a language. After all, that’s how I learned Spanish – asking Chilean friends what to say to the Mexican girl standing over there…

I once went on a job interview in Singapore where the guy basically offered me the job, but said he’d pay for me to take business Mandarin classes, so I could learn more than just the “chatting up Chinese girls in bar” Mandarin I knew at the time.

Hey, that’s still useful stuff…. my “chatting up Chinese girls in bar” Mandarin has proved to be very good stuff, mate.

Anyway. I think I think I’m getting off track. Back to Tokyo.

Living in the city really was amazing. Electrifying.

You look up and there’s Sony. Over there is Nintendo.

Sega is from here too.

That pretty much covers every video game system I ever owned.

Then, you realize that those silly key chains those nerdy kids had on the school bus in middle school called “Tomodachis” were from Japan. After all, “tomodachi” means friend in Japanese.

You realize Pokemon is Japanese.

So is Karate.

And Jiu Jitsu.

Of course you already knew Dragonball Z was Japanese.

Then, you look down the block and you see Nissan. The first car you ever bought was a Nissan.

Before you actually bought a car, you drove a Toyota. Oh yeah? They’re here too.

Most of the girls you dated in high school and college drove Toyotas. I don’t know why, they just did. Broke Americans love Toyotas.

Oh, don’t forget Honda. Your mom drove one your whole childhood.

And then you realize.. you grew up Japanese and you didn’t even know it.

This one city (Tokyo) on the other side of the world had more influence on your childhood then you ever imagined.

And, you thought Globalization was a new thing.

And, I’m not even one of those Japanophile dudes. I never really got into Anime or Manga – except for Dragonball Z. I mean, I would record Dragonball Z episodes on the VHS back in high school. But, then I would get home from track practice, take an ice bath, and fall asleep… and forget to watch the Dragonball Z tape.

But damn… Nintendo, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp, Nissan, Honda, Toyota… they’re all here…

Tokyo is amazing.

Statue of Liberty, Rainbow Bridge

Tokyo!

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I Moved Out of Texas So I Could Read More (How to Read 30 Books in 6 Months)

 Don’t Know When I’ll Be Back Again…

Outta here…

A couple of years ago I made the decision to move away from the place where I’ve lived all of my life: Texas.

One of the main reasons I moved out was because I wanted to read more books.

I’m being serious.

Well, I felt like I was just wasting too much time driving. I know I was wasting too much time driving because I would put a CD in the deck and before the end of the day it would be back on track 1. Sometimes back on track 10.

I’m talking about 80 minute CDs here. This means I must’ve been spending like 100 minutes driving per day.

Way too much. For what? To turn a wheel around. To move my foot up and down between two peddles. How is any of this productive? How does it benefit me in the long run?

What else did I do while I was driving? Well, I would listen to music. Or I would think about things. Just flesh out ideas. Think and think and think.

I like doing both of those things. I like listening to music. I like thinking.

But, I don’t really need to drive to do either. I can do both of those just fine walking around aimlessly. Or sitting in a park.

I guess one benefit of driving is I could talk out loud to myself. But, I can also talk to myself while walking around aimlessly. Or even siting in a park. Passer-bys might think I’m crazy, but that’s okay. I used to do that in college too. My roommate back then once said he’d drive by sometimes and sees me walking around with headphones on and talking to myself. He said I was one of the few people who could get away with doing that, because people would see me and think, “oh, that’s just GP.” That’s what they used to call me back then: GP.

So I’ve been crazy. It’s okay.

Metros & Inspiration

I went to London a couple of years ago. I thought riding on the Tube was awesome.

Everybody I met in London complained about how bad the Tube was. But to me it was awesome. At least I didn’t have to drive.

I started to think about all the cool things I could do if I lived in a city with a good metro system (Americans call it a subway system). I could read more books. I could talk to random people.

I can’t do either of those when I’m driving.

I mean you can try. But, then you’re doing things like trying to get the girl next to you to write her phone number on the windshield before the traffic light turns red. Yeah, it’s not impossible. But, it’s logistically difficult.

So I sold my car and left Texas. I just didn’t want do drive anymore.

I wanted to read more. I wanted to talk to random people.

read more

Or he’ll eat you

So, I’ve spend the last two years living in cities. Big cities with metro systems. Cities where you can walk around a lot. And just explore random neighborhoods. Just wandering around random streets. I’ve never gone this way before… So then I go that way.

I’ve also been reading a lot more.

I started out reading on an iPad. Then an iPhone. I had a Kindle app. I didn’t understand why people would need a Kindle when there’s Kindle apps.

But, then I eventually did understand.

I got tired of reading on those things. So, I quit reading.

My eyes would hurt. My head would hurt.

The Need to De-Screen

Too much time on backlit screens. I would spend all day looking at a computer screen. Now, I’m spending my commute time looking at a screen too. Too much screen time.

I got sick of it. I wanted to de-screen.

When I was in Taiwan, one of my mates (he’s Australian, so I think the that’s right term) had a Kindle. I asked him about it.

Then, I read about Kindles. I looked into it. They are made to read like a book. Without bothering your eyes like a screen does. It’s not a backlit screen. It’s e-ink. But, I was in Taiwan and there’s no Amazon there. I guess because it’s not a real country. I don’t know. I didn’t know Amazon played by the UN’s rules. Actually, I don’t know what they do. How do people in Taiwan shop on Amazon? I still didn’t figure it out.

So, then I looked up Kindles in Japan. Japan has become my go-to place to buy new electronics, because everything is so cheap here. I don’t know why. Maybe because the Yen is falling to pieces. I don’t think that’s the whole story though. I don’t know why really. All I know is when I bought my MacBook in Japan it was $300 cheaper than they are in the US.

So, I looked up Kindles. The new Kindle Paperwhite was $120 in the US, but only $70 in Japan. So, I waited until I got back to Japan to get it.

Actually, I think the money I’ve saved on my MacBook and my Kindle has probably paid for my plane tickets to Japan. But then again everything else in Japan is twice as expensive, including food and transportation, so it probably doesn’t work out if you actually take into account everything and do the math. Ahh, well… forget your numbers.

“You can make numbers do anything you want them to do. Including make yourself sound like an idiot.”

By the way that quote is from Kobe Bryant, so I should credit him for it. I don’t even like Kobe Bryant, but that’s a great quote. It’s even better in context. The context is: Kobe was on a radio show talking about how good Larry Bird was and that people seem to have forgotten how good Larry Bird was. And, some guy tweeted something like “if you look at the numbers, Larry Bird wasn’t even that great of a shooter.”  See. I told you it was even better in context.

Anyway….

 The Goal: 30 Books in the Next 6 Months

read fast 4

Clockwork…

Since getting the Kindle I’ve definitely seen my reading go up. I’m finishing a book every couple of days now. And, I try to keep at least 5 unread books in waiting. That way as soon as I finish one, I can flip through and have a decent choice based on how am I’m feeling to determine what I read next.

I’m nowhere near Scott Young’s or Claire Diaz Oritz’s pace. I’ve only read about a dozen books in the past 9 months. But, that’s partly because I’ve still gone through 3-4 months periods without really reading much at all.

I’m actually starting to realize those kinds of numbers are possible.

For myself, I’m setting a goal to read 30 MORE books by the end of the year. Yeah, 30 books in 6 months is quite a jump from 12 in the past 9 months, but I’ve put some “hacks” in place to help me get there.

And, I know how to get there:

  • Keep my work locations and home location separate. Don’t work from home. Home is a place to relax. There’s an old saying “don’t shit where you eat” – rather vulgar, but it gets the point across. So, that means I have to have a daily commute. Commute on the metro everyday. This not much else to do on the metro but read, so this forces a good everyday reading habit. Especially now that I have a Kindle.
  • Spend weekends outdoors. I need to get away from the computer more. Get away from work more. And just overall relax more. One way to do that is to spend more days in the park on at the beach. Since I travel a lot there’s almost always a new park, a new beach, or even a new temple or something to explore. So, at least one day a week, I’m going to just leave my computer behind and head out with only my book and my camera. Relax and read.
  • Take advantage of reading time wherever and whenever. Another good thing about having a Kindle and having a daily reading habit as mentioned above is I’m going to wind up getting really into a book. And not want to set it down. If I take advantage of this by just dropping by a cafe and continuing to read when the mood strikes me, I’ll be able to chill there for a couple of hours. Then, I’ll really get through books in no time.

Yeah. 30 books in the next 6 months. I’m going to make it happen. Which means I’m also going to stay out of Texas.

child

Explore the world, travel and read…

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The Crazy Flight: All I Wanted To Do Was Get to SXSW

Some of you may have already seen this post, as it was a note on my Facebook page from about a year ago. Nevertheless, I figured it’d be a good re-post here, because I wanted to start the blog off on a fun note….

United_Airlines_-_N771UA_-_Flickr_-_skinnylawyer
All I wanted to do was get to Texas for SXSW…
So, I had a flight from Boston to Houston, with a layover in DC.

First, I Have to Actually Find My Flight at Logan

I head out of the house early…. 3 hours before my flight. I NEVER leave that early, but for some reason I’m being good today. I get on the shuttle and tell the driver I’m flying United. He takes me to Terminal C, then he gets unsure and tells me to wait a second – they just made the Continental in Terminal A United as well (merger just went through) – so he double checks, but the United flight to DC is in Terminal C, so I’m good… or so I think.

I try to login, but the Kiosk can’t find me – I go up to the counter – the lady can’t find me in the system either. “Are you flying to Dulles or Reagan?” I check my itinerary from Orbitz – “Reagan”. “Oh, that’s US Airways in Terminal B”. “Umm… ok.” I look at my Orbitz itinerary again, no mention of US Airways anywhere – everything says United. But, whatever….

I trek across the parking garage over to the other terminal. I get there and I’m not in US Airways system either – “You have to go down there to US Airways Shuttle”. Ok, third ticket counter and finally they find me in the system… so eventually I get to my gate. Still almost 2 hours early.

“What the hell? You can do that?”

I send out a couple emails, get on the plane, fall asleep; everything is going well. I wake up and we’re out on the runway – across from Constitution Beach about to take off…. And this guy from near the front of the plane gets up and walks back to the toilet. All heads turn around and watch him walk back, I’m thinking “wait.. you can do that? Go to the toilet right as the plane is about to take off?”

No, you can’t. They flash the seatbelt sign along with the beeping noise. I guess he doesn’t get the memo – or it’s too late – he’s already in the toilet. They flash the seatbelt sign and do the beeping noise again. He stays in the toilet. Now, the pilot announces over the intercom “We’re clear to take off if we could please have all of the passengers return to their seats, we could be in the air shortly. We can’t take off until everybody is in their seats.” Heads turn around and look toward the bathroom in the back – we know who they’re talking to. Still no response or acknowledgement from this guy though.

The flight attendant gets up and walks to the bathroom and knocks on the door. From inside the bathroom the guy yells out “Don’t Fuck With Me!!!” I’m thinking “what the hell? You can’t just yell that at flight attendants – especially on flights to DC of all places.” Eventually, the guy comes out of the restroom and gets in the flight attendant’s face pointing at her like an MLB Manager yelling at an Umpire for a bad call, “what is your name?!? what is your name?!?” He’s yelling at her. She’s trying to be calm, but gets a little sterner (obviously), “Sir, if you could please just return to your seat. RETURN TO YOUR SEAT SIR.” It’s a crazy sight to see… but the guy does go back to his seat.

This, on a runway in Boston

Next thing you know we’re back at the gate and the pilot makes an announcement, “we have a gentleman that’s going to have to deplane and as soon as that happens we’ll be on our way.” The flight attendant is still in the back of the plane, she hasn’t moved. The guy is still sitting down in his seat – he doesn’t look back, but he reaches his hand back and throws his middle finger in the air – and it’s clear who it’s directed to – the flight attendant.

Two Air Marshalls come on the plane and go up to guy and escort him off. The whole back of the plane claps (because we’re the ones who witnessed the whole thing). The flight attendant has to give her statement; they have to remove the guy’s luggage from below. The whole thing takes quite some time actually. Now, I’m starting to hope I don’t miss my connecting flight in DC.

Eventually, we get off of the ground. The rest of the flight is normal. We get to DC and it’s raining a bit – which means a little bit of turbulence… which always happens when I fly to DC. The most turbulent flight I’d ever been on was a flight from DC when I was in 6th grade – I think everybody on that flight vomited. That’s how bad it was. I was also once stranded on the runway in DC for 5 hours due to rain. But, the rain this time isn’t that bad – minor turbulence is all.

A Race Against The Clock in DC

Then as we were landing I felt lucky to be flying into Reagan – got an amazing view of Georgetown’s campus and then of the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol – I felt like I just got a whole tour of DC in a 5 minute plane landing. I guess I don’t have to go back to DC anytime soon – which is good, because who in their right mind really ever wants to go to DC?

Anyway, now I’m wondering what my chances are of making my connecting flight to Houston. I look at the time: its 7:18, my flight leaves at 7:30… 12 minutes?!? I doubt I can make it. I walk through the airport and I can’t even find Gate 11 – so I go up to the US Airways help desk. Since this is US Airways and my next flight is actually United, she can’t even check to see if the plane is still here or not, much less book me another flight – “You either need to go to your gate, which is in Terminal A, meaning you’ll have to leave this terminal and go through security again anyway, or you can leave this terminal and go upstairs to the ticket desk.” Either way, I have to leave the terminal, so I do.

I’m walking to Terminal A and I figure I might as well go upstairs to the ticket counter since its right here. I’m waiting in line and the lady behind the counter is chatting to some guy and she says to me “you can check in using the Kiosk, sir.” I flash my ticket and say “I missed my flight.” “Oh okay, well somebody will be right with you.” 10 minutes go by… she’s still talking, “you can just check in using the Kiosk sir” she says to me again, like she’s impatient because I’m standing there. What the hell? I don’t have time for this. I decide to go to the gate.

I go through security and there’s no line at all. I get to the gate – and there’s nobody there. Nobody working there, nobody sitting there waiting for a flight – nothing. All three of the United gates – nobody around at all – it’s like a ghost town… and it’s not even 8pm. This is just odd… I walk over to one of the Delta gates, “I know you work for Delta and all, but why is nobody at any of the United gates.” She smiles, “Yeah…. I have no idea why there’s nobody at the United gates. Like you said I work for Delta.”

Reagan Airport: United Terminal, at 8pm

I explain to her what’s going on and her suggestion is I should probably go back up to the United ticket counter again. So, I do that… and this time the lady helps me.

I explain to her the situation and she calls it in, she also tells me that my flight is still there – that I haven’t missed it. “There’s nobody at the gate.” “Oh… well, we could put you on a 10:05 flight to Houston out of Dulles, but we’re not paying for the cab fare – it’s either at your expense or you can see if US Airways will give you a voucher for it, because it was their flight that was late and caused you to miss your connecting flight – not ours.”

So, she calls US Airways and then tells me I’m better off just going down there but in the meantime, she’ll book the ticket for me. So, I walk down to the other end of all of the ticket counters and tell US Airways what’s going on – that there’s another United flight at Dulles, but United says US Airways would have to give me a voucher for the cab ride. She says, “Okay, I can do that, let me go check with my supervisor.”

She goes to check and 5 minutes later she comes out shaking her head, “There’s not enough time. Per FDA regulations you have to be there and checked in at least 45 minutes before the flight leaves. So you would have to be there by 9:15.” I look at my watch, its 8:18; “You don’t think I could get to Dulles in an hour? Remember, I have no luggage, only this carry on.”

“You have a good point” she says, “let me go see.”

And, she goes back to check with her supervisor again. About 5 more minutes go by and this time she comes out with the taxi voucher in hand and fills it out right in front of me and tells me to take it downstairs to the taxi counter and they’ll get a cab for me. Ok. I take the voucher and I’m about to leave and she says, “oh, wait, I need to print you your ticket” So, I stop and she prints a couple of things for me – one says Flight Itinerary and I assume the other is my boarding pass and then she tells me that I need to hurry and to tell the cab driver to “go fast”. So, I take all my stuff and head to the elevator.

While I’m getting on the elevator, I hear an announcement, “William Terrible can you please come back to the US Airways ticket counter immediately.” Is that me? Did they just butcher my last name or are they talking to somebody else? I swore it sounded like they said “William Terrible”, plus I’m supposed to be in a hurry – if they are talking to somebody else – I’d really look stupid for going back. I check and make sure I have everything – yeah, I have my ID, I have everything else. I don’t turn back. I go down to get a cab. I get in the cab and tell the driver to take me to Dulles. “How long does it take to get to Dulles by the way?”

“30, 40 minutes”.

I look at the time, it’s exactly 8:30. I’m hoping it takes 30 minutes, because we’re cutting it close now. While we’re driving, I pull out the two things the US Airways lady just printed for me to take a look at my boarding pass and my gate and terminal and all of that. I look at them both, one says “Flight Itinerary: Not To Be Used For Travel”, the other says “E-Receipt: Not To Be Used for Travel”. Neither one of them is a boarding pass. I guess the “William Terrible” call was for me – she realized she hadn’t given me my boarding pass after all. I bet she’s freaking out right now, she authorized a taxi voucher on behalf of US Airways, and I might not even make it on time. Now, I’m starting to feel the time crunch as well – I can’t go straight to security when I get to Dulles – I have to go to yet another ticket counter and print my boarding pass. While the taxi is driving, I know we’re getting close to Dulles and I feel the cab sputter a bit like an old car does when it’s low on gas. I look up and sure enough the cabby’s gauge is on E. “Just what I need” I think to myself, “the taxi to run out of gas on the way to the airport – that’d be the perfect thing to happen right now.”

But, the taxi doesn’t run out of gas and I get to Dulles. The time pressure to get my boarding pass printed and get through security is on, but when I get up to the United ticket counter, the line is just way too long. So I duck under the ropes and just skip everybody. I skip the whole line and nobody says anything to me, so whatever… I got away with it… I go up to one of the kiosks and pretend I don’t know what I’m doing so somebody will come over and help me.

The Final Stretch

Which is exactly what happens: an old guy comes over. I hand him the crap US Airways gave me “US Airways printed this for me at Reagan, but they didn’t print me an actual boarding pass.”

“Ok” he says “Can I see your ID?”

So, I hand him my ID and he goes to punching away on his computer. For the next 10 minutes it seems like he’s pressing buttons, getting confused, and typing my name in again. What the hell is going on now? Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to the old guy. I least I’m able to amuse myself at his name – he’s an old, white guy and his name tag reads, I kid you not – Michael Watts. I wish I had a camera to take a picture, because that’s just classic.

Anyway, old man Michael Watts screws and chops me up a boarding pass eventually and says to me, “They had it all messed up but I fixed it.” Ok, cool. I look at the boarding pass – flight leaves at 10:05pm, boards at 9:30pm, and it’s currently 9:20 and I still have to go through security. 9:30 comes and goes and I’m standing in line at security.

Clearly, a different Michael Watts

Eventually, I get through and there’s still a shuttle I have to catch to get to my actual gate – Oh, Dulles! I remember this shuttle actually, Déjà vu, I’ve been on it before, years ago…. When I got stranded on the runway for 5 hours…

So, in a hurry to actually make this flight I’m running through Dulles airport past Five Guys and plenty of other places that I would love to eat at right now because I’m dying of hunger.

What’s the use of being in three airports in one day if I haven’t even been able to eat any airport food? What a waste…
Anyhow I finally get to my gate and they are now “boarding all zones” so I hop in line and get up to the counter, let them scan my newfangled boarding pass and it beeps… REJECTED.

What now? I look at the screen “Invalid Flight.” The lady looks at my boarding pass, “Oh, you’re going to Houston. This flight is to Denver, it was delayed – the Houston fight will board next.” Are you serious? I walk back to the Arrival/Departure screen… Houston: Delayed until 11:19pm. Oh, snap, I still have an hour! After all that….

I welcome the extra hour at Dulles with open arms; it means food and some time to charge my cell phone. And, eventually, I actually do get on my flight and make it to Houston, albeit at 1:30am instead of the originally scheduled 9:38pm, but there is a silver lining to all of this…. At least I had the window seat on both flights! Word to Erykah Badu

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