business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

While waiting to board a plane last week at Baltimore-Washington airport I encountered a completely new service that’s a perfect sign of the times.

A sign suggested I download the app for “Airport Sherpa,” which would enable me to order food from such exotic places as Subway or Quiznos and have it brought to me at the gate. Seemed like a silly idea to me, but only briefly.

The reality of airports these days is pretty grim. On virtually any day travelers are likely running to their gates late thanks to the seemingly endless security lines at TSA. Plus, as most of us are aware, the airlines have long since stopped providing any food on board. It was never any good, but its absence is especially noticeable on cross-country flights.

Just like that, I started thinking that airport Sherpa is a pretty good idea, enabling travelers stuck in a security line to think ahead and have a sub brought to them at the gate to sustain them in the horribly unfriendly skies. And it got me thinking … what’s next?

The truth is that we live in the age of ultra and not the villain from the Avengers movies. Rather it’s ultra in terms of what we expect and get from services these days. We want and get ultra convenience whether it’s groceries and clothing being selected and brought to us or simply sandwiches arriving at our gate at BWI airport.

Ultra comes in other forms as well. I’ve written here in the past about fast approaching 5G cell phones already promoted by the wireless carriers as Ultra wide broadband. Ultra everything seems increasingly possible and, in fact, likely.

Thanks to realities of summer holidays and vacations, today’s blog is the last I am writing for about a month. (No whining, you get MNB for free and Kevin is entitled to a break!) In most years, when Kevin and I go dark we discuss exactly which news events will likely bring us out of hibernation and our guess is one or two.

This year, I just don’t know. The odds are that over the next few weeks multiple such events are likely. It’s even more likely the world we’ll have in one month might be very different than what we have today, thanks to the ultra-fast pace of nearly everything. Who knows what apps, what services and what technologies will have us all buzzing 30 days from now that, like Airport Sherpa, make so much sense in retrospect.

Sadly none of us has the powers to foresee what we should be doing next month, year or even tomorrow. But the folks at Airport Sherpa provide a pretty solid template. Find an unmet problem or challenge for everyday consumers and figure out a way to solve or at least mitigate that problem.

That seems to be table stakes in the age of Ultra. Unless you know Iron Man.

Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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