Tales From the Long Haul

To Beijing And Back -- Let's Do the Time Warp

Photographer: Gary Connor

Photographer: Gary Connor

For Stuart McClure, it was the longest flight he'd ever taken for the shortest meeting.

In 2009, McClure, a senior manager at antivirus-software maker McAfee, was asked to fly 12 hours from Silicon Valley to deliver a 20-minute speech in Beijing - and then turn around and fly another 12 hours right back home.

All told, he'd be on the ground in China no more than a few hours. He knew it wouldn't be worth his time, but a colleague asked and McClure's boss agreed. So he went.

In crossing and re-crossing time zones so quickly, he wound up with the kind of time-warp workday that only other high-mileage international travelers might find familiar.

McClure left on a Wednesday, gave the speech on Thursday, and flew back in time to have his Thursday back again.

"It was like you walked through a warp-tunnel and ended up having only 20 minutes transpire in your day," said McClure, who left McAfee last year to co-found Cylance, a computer-security startup. "That is the shortest longest trip I've ever done."

The trip was uneventful and a poor use of his time, he said.

"The only thing I learned," he said, "was to never do that again."

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