Well, here it goes. The long awaited weblog post that will detail some of the major highlights from my recent trip to Cincinnati to attend a workshop with my virtual team with folks coming from all over the world (UK, Australia, India, Germany, Spain and the US). I know that some of you have been looking forward to this weblog post but I must say that you would have to bear with me because it promises to be a rather lengthy post as there are just far too many things to detail about the trip. So I guess I will split it up in the multiple days I have been there and I will leave it up to you to jump back and forth from each of them. As I said, lots of great things took place during the course of that week so this would be just a small report of how things went. Oh, before I get started, you would also notice how I have been taking some pictures while I was there and have included them as part of this weblog post but you may want to check out my Flickr account to find over there some more. So, here it goes:
Saturday 9th of September: Nothing major to comment on in here, except for the fact that for me to get from where I live to Cincinnati it took me over 20 hours travelling non-stop ! And all that without counting all of the different security checks. Six in total ! Yes, I was. Completely drained and exhausted after such a long trip. So off to bed.
Sunday 10th of September: The next day I experienced one of the major highlights from the whole trip. I mean, I knew it was going to be a great opportunity to meet my distributed team but what I never expected was to actually be able to meet up on that Sunday morning one of the folks that I have admired the most in the field of Knowledge Management for a number of years now and perhaps one of the main guilty parties that got me involved in KM in the first place a few years back. Yes, indeed, I had the real pleasure and honour of meeting up with Denham Grey. The one and only! (I feel very tempted now to upload the picture we took together contemplating KM…).
And he wasn’t coming alone. He also brought with him Patrick Hindert. Another real treat that would be difficult to forget ! What a fantastic morning we had the three of us talking away on all sorts of different things related to Knowledge Management. Fascinating ! Actually, Patrick wrote a very nice description of that morning over at his weblog and I doubt that I would be able to come up with a better overview of what we talked about. It was an incredible experience, to say the least, because more than anything else it was the first time that I have met these two gents face-to-face even though we have known each other for a number of years (Even though I got to know Patrick just recently) and it kind of felt like three good old friends getting together, enjoying some brunch over at Vinyl, and talking away as if it were yesterday. It felt like we knew each other from far too long ! Ahhh, the power of weblogging !
But that was not all of it. While we were catching up on things we also had the great honour of meeting up with Melody Sawyer Richardson and engage in one of the most interesting and enlightening conversations I have had in a long while. As Patrick mentioned, Melody is currently working on a very exciting project, Second Sunday on Main, in Over-the-Rhine (How cool is that? They even have got a Wikipedia entry for it!), that is certainly, I am sure, going to change things over there big time. Her passion, charm, involvement and commitment are just unbeatable. It has got to work. I am sure it will.
Anyway, during that conversation we talked a great deal about Knowledge Management topics in general, online communities, emerging technologies related to social software and the like and how they could actually help out on that particular project and a whole bunch of things that I may be able to relate to as time goes by. An incredible experience to say the least.
After we were done with brunch we actually continue with the tour around the city and Patrick kindly took us to several different places that were really worth while checking out. See the pictures scattered around this particular weblog post to have a sneak preview of them all. It was a pity that for the rest of the week the weather was not really that nice with plenty of rain so I didn’t get much chance to take some more pictures. Perhaps next time I get to visit Cincy once again.
The rest of that afternoon I stayed at the hotel, hanging out at the pool, relaxing and thinking about what a fantastic morning I had with both Denham and Patrick and, of course, with Melody. And from there onwards off to get ready for the workshop.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 11th, 12th, 13th, of September respectively: Those were the days I was very busy attending a workshop at the IBM office with hardly any time to do anything else. Lots of interesting and worth while conversations about KM at Global Business Services and what would be happening from there onwards and into 2007 and some of which I may be able to share with you over here as time goes by as well. It was really nice being able to see all of my colleagues coming from different countries and showing the same passion as always about KM, Communities and Collaboration. Having working sessions from 8am till 6pm without that passion can be somewhat difficult I can imagine, so it was great to hang out with them getting plenty of stuff done.
In the evenings we had the opportunity to go and check out a number of different local restaurants, like Jeff Ruby’s (Where the fillet mignon was just out of this world ! Highly recommended! Oh, and in there, I bumped again into Patrick who was having dinner with a client! Talking about coincidences, eh?), Montgomery Inn (Where I tasted for the first time the unbelievable Graeter’s Ice Cream. Peach flavour was just awesome!) and P.F. Changs (I have been to many other better Chinese restaurants, but this one in West Chester was rather good, too!), although while I went to the latter with my boss the rest of the team decided to enjoy a baseball game. Yes, I know. I missed it, but I have never been too much into such sport. Never managed to learn the rules. I guess next time I will try harder.
Thursday 14th of September: This was the last day of the workshop that lasted till mid afternoon. After that most of my colleagues did eventually head back home but I was still going to stay one more day. I was not really sure at the beginning if I was going to stay or not but I am certainly glad I did because during the week Patrick and Melody invited me to a charming family party that I just couldn’t resist taking place that same Thursday evening. It was like the icing sugar on the cake, if you know what I mean. I thought we were just going to have a small, rather cozy, party at Melody’s unique house. But on the contrary, it was one of those parties difficult to forget. I know I will not forget it that easily. Not only did Melody open her house to everyone as if they were close family members but everyone else even made you feel that way, too ! An incredible experience ! It felt like I was part of the group and all that from someone who visited Cincy for the first time ever and who didn’t know most of the people back there. If there is a way to define hospitality in the best terms possible that, folks, would be the best I can come up with.
It was surely an honour to be invited to such intimate gathering and although I could tell a whole lot of stuff about what happened that evening I am just going to keep it for myself. You know the drill. There are some things you can weblog about, then there are other things that are better left out of the blogosphere and just for your own personal enjoyment. This was one of them. Suffice to say that the party was *the* grand finale for such a week that it will be difficult to forget. I won’t.
Friday and Saturday, 15th and 16th of September, respectively: Not much more to say regarding those two days since I spent most of the time travelling. This time around with over 25 hours non-stop and arriving home the next day, due to the timezone craziness. Still incredibly excited about the whole week that I had just experienced which I am sure made the whole trip a lot more enjoyable than expected.
Overall, one of the best weeks I have ever had in a long while. I was able to meet up with my virtual team for the first time in several years of working remotely, away from the office. I had the incredible opportunity to meet up for the first time with both Denham Grey and Patrick Hindert and catch up with some good old friends as if it were yesterday and I finally got the unique opportunity to feel at home in Cincinnati thanks to the hospitality shown by Melody who certainly made me comfortable enough to make me want to go there again soon. And I will. I am sure.
And, finally, to finish off this rather long weblog post that I am hoping you would bear with me just a couple of minutes more I just wanted to let you know that if you ever get a chance to go to Cincinnati do not leave that city without tasting Black Raspberry Chip ice cream or, even better, my new old time favourite, Double Chocolate Chip, which I had the immense pleasure of tasting over at Melody’s home. They are just unbeatable ! I mean, the double chocolate chip ice cream is one of those delicious deserts that you know you would enjoy big time with folks like Nancy White having a lovely conversation on KM at the same time. That is how good it is ! Perhaps next time we would be able to make it, who knows.
Yes, I will be back!
(From here onwards I just couldn’t finish off this post without taking the opportunity to thank Denham for wanting to meet up with me that Sunday when I know he has got an incredibly busy schedule; Patrick, for meeting up as well on Sunday and for helping make my stay as pleasant as it can probably get; and finally, to Melody for being what she is: wonderfully amazing! Not to mention as well both of my managers, Alice and Doug, who made my trip to the US possible in the first place!)