A Letter to Our Valued Clients, Partners and Friends
We have big news, and I won't make you read through lots of fluff to get to it:
Starting this June, Annie and I are going to spend a year in Seoul, Korea.
There, I said it. I'll give you a moment to think about it.
Okay. By now, many questions have surely entered your mind. I've given this move a lot of thought and tried my best to anticipate your concerns, so please read on.
The number one thing I'd like to stress is that Bigger Bird will continue to operate as usual. Our phone numbers, email addresses, etc. will all remain the same, you can still call, email, fax, IM, text or tweet us anytime, as if we had never left. (There is a +19 hour time difference, but we will be working on Hawaii time.)
The one obvious change is that we will not be able to meet in person. However, the constant march of technology continues to lessen the need for in-person meetings. Video chat and online meetings are surprisingly good, and getting better all the time. We do plan to be back in Hawaii at least once (probably around the holidays) and we will keep you posted if you'd like to meet while we're in town. Otherwise, we'll be back next June.
Aside from meetings, there may still be a few things that require a local presence, including taking delivery of DVDs and documents. To handle these responsibilities and others, we will be appointing a "Hawaii Regional Manager." More on this in the coming months.
As some of you may recall, we have been to Korea three times already during Bigger Bird's lifetime (June 2006, October 2007, May 2009), for about 8 weeks in total. Each time, we learned more about working there. During our May 2009 trip, we set up a temporary office in Korea, complete with network and phone system, and our iPhones worked flawlessly to keep us connected and on top of things. Based on this experience, we believe it will be straightforward to maintain our current quality of service.
A popular question from the few we've talked to thus far: "Why are you moving? What does Korea have to offer?"
Hawaii will always be home, but we'd like to try something new and different. We'll be closer to the other side of the family (Annie's), and we'll be immersed in a culture that practices the kinds of sustainable ideals we've been trying to incorporate in our own lives: more public transportation/less driving, more urban/less suburban, and more vegetables/less meat, with an emphasis on local, in-season foods. And since we'll be in a new and unfamiliar place, more exploration/less routine.
Some may fear that we may grow to like our new life so much that we may not return after a year. As it happens, a stay of over one year will create considerable immigration and employment challenges. Additionally, some of the people we've talked to who have lived in Korea say that while one year will be a great experience, we may not be well suited for long-term Korean life. So at the moment it doesn't seem likely, but if things change, we will certainly keep you informed.
And finally: "Are you 100% sure about this?" Yes! If not 100%, at least 90%. We've thought this through thoroughly. We've bought our plane tickets (one-way) and are starting to decide what to sell, store or give away. While we have not settled on a neighborhood yet, and though visa issues or cries of protest from our clients could delay our plans, we are decided.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions. This time, unlike most, I suspect there will be questions...