The Bangalore Express, a Networker's Paradise
By the time he boarded in San Francisco just after lunch on Feb. 21, Tony Stuart had already collected eight business cards. Stuart, who runs a consulting firm out of Palo Alto that matches Indian outsourcing firms with American clients, paid $3,800 for his one-way business-class ticket to Bangalore. Before the 22-hour journey—including a couple of hours in Frankfurt to change planes—was complete, he’d introduced himself to 19 people, all of them potential clients. “That’s, what, like $150 a meeting?” he says. “I’d probably spend more taking them out for dinner in Frisco.” Plus the dinner—trout in an almond butter sauce—was terrific. As a one-man show running his own company, almost all of Stuart’s business comes from the sort of frenetic networking he pulled off at 30,000 feet. Such exchanges happen all the time on LH 455, a flight so legendary it has earned its own nickname: “The Bangalore Express.” The beginning of a day-long marathon between Silicon Valley and its counterpart in India, LH 455 (which connects in Frankfurt with LH 754 to Bangalore) turns into a tech convention even before it takes off.
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