Measuring the Moments of Kambr
It’s a time for reflection, a time for holiday cheer; a time to take stock of the past, to ring in the new year.
But, what marks a year?
12 months; 52 weeks…365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes; 31,536,000 seconds — leap years excluded. Or cosmologically, one orbital revolution of the Sun by planet Earth. Just a nifty, useful unit of measurement.
No. Like so many vessels concocted by humans firstly for practical purposes, the year also strikes a deeper chord. It represents far more than the summation of millions of clock ticks. Ask someone about the happenings of his day, and you may receive a morning-to-night play-by-play. Ask someone about her year, and the response will likely be dominated by memorable moments, triumphs and trials, eventful encounters. Capped by thematic waves, chronology becomes submerged in a sea of experiences. Perhaps most revealing, we quantify our lifespans in years. They are our personal milestones.
So, if asked about my year, about my 2019, these are the notes that resonate.
A Rock from a Pile of Pebbles
My journey goes back to 1981. My passion for aviation, 1992. My ride on the industry roller coaster, 2005. Along the road, I have been fortunate to collect a bag full of connections and lessons, successes and knockdowns. I grasp conversations from 2006 when, shell-shocked by the loss of Independence Air and finding its atmosphere hard to replace, Martin Kaduc and I discussed the ‘right culture’ for a company (as juxtaposed to scenarios both real and imaginary — think Office Space). Jason Kelly and I lamented the state of airline media and dreamt of a reinvigoration of airline communications and news, this in 2007. Enjoying the crisp air on a London stoop in 2015, Michael Peters and I began pondering the impossible that technology was now making possible. It has been nearly a decade since I set the flagstones for a reimagined approach to commercial planning managed services and ‘health checks’. In the elapsed time, ideas have been added, processes refined, inefficiencies removed. I have depended on many people, including some others that now proudly wear the Kambrian badge.
As this year progressed, it became abundantly clear that all roads led to Kambr. The removal of any single moment, any person, and my Kambr — what Kambr means to and for me — would not be quite the same. Kambr is the culmination of my career. And 2019 is the rock on which to construct our vision for the future of commercial aviation.
Within Advisory, in the span of eleven months, we transformed what was — in essence — a one-man-band, freelancer, single-project consulting shop into a branded, respected advisory business that is guided by an expert team, delivering an expanding product portfolio to a host of varied clients based in five global regions. The historian in me will always attribute some of this achievement to experience, but alone those vital lessons constitute an incomplete formula. Our advance relies on another asset, which has also proven our greatest strength in the face of adversity.
Whether Kambrian, customer, friend of Kambr or industry consumer, the organization’s north star is the people it serves. This light has shone through in many ways. Confronted with crises of confidence, I have sometimes foolishly believed I stood alone, like Britain in 1940, only to be reminded by a message in Slack or a midnight chat of the power of four founders. As our team has grown to twenty-six, each has added to this edifice. I have watched as shared rewards were selected over individual gains. I have never witnessed my colleagues over-promising or offering to deliver what we cannot produce. I have repeatedly benefited from candid advice — being told what I needed, not what I may have wanted, to hear. Each person engages in her or his work in a spirit of collaboration with the goal of user (software, services, content) delight in mind.
Faced with the age-old challenge of more staff or more business first, we elected to hire. Tempted by the prospect of new clients for which we were not ready to support, we chose honesty. Company events? Absolutely. While cost consciousness is important, teambuilding is essential.
Which brings me to my magical moment of 2019: Kambr Kristmas. In the first week of December, nearly all Kambrians were united in Amsterdam for reflection, brainstorming and fun. We topped it off with a trivia competition designed to reward the team members for their industry knowledge and a party that drifted well into the night. People-centric authenticity is the beating heart of Kambr. I consider this culture our greatest accomplishment in 2019, and its maintenance and care our paramount responsibility as we scale in 2020 and beyond.
But now, I shall leave the past and look to the future. Grand are the opportunities on the horizon. Perpetuating our ethos, Kambr will continue to grow the team. Within Advisory, we expect to more than double our capacity — enhancing the collective skill set of our group while also diversifying our suite of product offerings. This diversification will be two-fold. On the one hand, we intend to broaden the scope of core revenue management offerings. Training materials, onboarding guides, toolkits for promotions and groups management are all likely to feature. At the same time, we will also do our part to reduce the detrimental effects of silos within airline commercial practices: Kambr will mold together products and services cutting across revenue management, network/schedule planning, ancillaries and e-commerce.
2020 will also herald the birth of a pivotal new product as we join with our Solutions team to launch brand new software into the world. Together with Kambr Media, we shall aim to take commercial aviation thought leadership to new heights. And then, there is what — for me personally — may be most exciting of all: the establishment of the Kambr Cup. We have no intention of taking it easy in our second year.
The first year is a battle, but armchair philosophers the world over would have us believe that the next go-around is even more trying. Hence phrases such as sophomore blues and terrible twos. I have a different take. At the close of 2018, I said to family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances that there was much more to come. True to those words, 2019 was a blast; an unforgettable year. We made those seconds count. And yet, I think the 31,622,400 seconds in 2020 (leap year bonus included) will be even better.