Geeks On A Plane: British Airways Gets Silicon Valley Dudes Together For Flight 10-Innovation

Did they get the idea from Rihanna’s last publicity tour?

Geeks On A Plane: British Airways Gets Silicon Valley Dudes Together For Flight 10-Innovation

British Airways, once the world’s favorite airline, has launched UnGrounded. The firm is dubbing it “a hack at 30,000 feet” and it entails getting a bunch of large-brained geeks from Silicon Valley together on a flight to troubleshoot the “misalignment of global talent,” or moving those engineers, scientists, and tech brains from places where there’s an overspill of talent to countries which need it. They’re expected to come up with a solution in 11 hours.


Forget snakes on a plane, this is a movie plot that needs a green light now.

On board so far (sorry) is Andreessen Horowitz partner Todd Lutwak; Leor Stern, Google’s Principle of New Business Development; Duncan Logan of the RocketSpace accelerator; a whole host of other VC dudes, such as Celestine Johnson and Gerald Brady; as well as other SV luminaries.

Once the flight has landed, these guys are all going to “march” to the DNA summit and present their ideas-slash-solutions to UN delegates.

(I’m not sure how well this would work as a sequel to the earlier Geeks On A Plane idea.)

The airline ran into privacy issues last year, with its Know Me customer service policy, which was accused of archiving data on its frequent fliers, as well as Googling for mug shots of them so that BA staff knew who to approach.

Is this a problem that B.A. should be solving? Is it really a problem that B.A. wants to solve, or just a canny bit of marketing to try and drum up a bit of business in the Valley? How do you think the current imbalance of tech and math talent throughout the world should be resolved? Reply in the comments, and don’t forget to tell us which Hollywood actors should be playing the lead roles in the movie of the flight.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.