E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

IBM Lotusphere Comes To You Highlights – Geneva March 2008

(Picture of Lake Geneva by Mclaire2)

Continuing further with describing some of the highlights of the superb week I am having over here, in Zürich, Switzerland, I thought I would put together some further thoughts from the second day I participated in the round of Lotusphere Comes To You events. This time around in Geneva. Same agenda, same schedule, same presentation, different audience. Equally engaging, if not more!

All three of us, Ron Sebastian, Jutta Kreyss along with myself and one other colleague got started with an early morning on the train from Zürich to Geneva. It took us a bit over three hours to get to Geneva and over the course of those three hours we got to witness some of the most astonishing landscapes I have seen in a while! I definitely need to come back and check it out more in detail and not just passing by!! Lake Geneva is just spectacular and on a clear blue sky day it must be breathtaking! Alas, we had plenty of snow and cold along the way, so just the kind of perfect weather to have a lovely, cosy and warm atmosphere for some great conversations with my fellow travellers while we were heading towards our next show.

At the beginning I was wondering whether the train would be offering free WiFi, as I thought it would be really nice to catch up with everything while trying to get there. Perhaps I would even have a chance to blog some of the highlights of what I have been experiencing so far. Alas, it is not going to happen. Perhaps on my next trip to Switzerland, after I got the confirmation they would be offering it as of the 1st of April. We shall see.

Either way, it was much much better that way. Like I said, there is nothing like face to face (social) networking, perhaps the purest form of it all! Specially when you are really into some very interesting conversations over the course of three hours non-stop! And so we arrived in Geneva.

Like I mentioned above already, we had the exact same agenda and schedule ahead of us as in Zürich, but with a different audience. Slightly smaller number of customers, but equally engaging, if not so much more! So I decided to do a little bit of an experiment. I was actually using the same presentation as the previous day, but this time around instead of giving a little bit of a short description of some of IBM’s more popular social software tools, both inside and outside of the corporation, I actually described with plenty of detail how I was eventually making use of some of those different social tools to keep up with my fight against e-mail. Yes, that is right! Real, concrete and straight to the point examples of how I was using each of them to keep me away from e-mail and demonstrate as well how each and everyone of them has been disrupting IBM for a while now empowering knowledge workers to share their knowledge and collaborate so much easier than ever before.

And it looks like things worked out all right, since I had one very interactive session with plenty of people commenting on the flow, the usage of those tools, the interactions with customers outside of the firewall, social tools outside of the corporate firewall, etc. etc. Very refreshing and rewarding to see how my pitch on social computing was getting out a bunch of commentary that I truly found fascinating! Way better than my own presentation! For sure!

And it lasted for a while as well, since after all of the sessions were done, we enjoyed a bit of time having a drink and a snack and had a couple of folks coming over to comment further on what my experience was like so far. Wonderful stuff!

From there onwards and after we finish the event, and without very little time to do anything else, we decided to head back to Zürich and off we went for another three hours by train, this time though we decided to have dinner along the way in the restaurant, while having a beer or two and plenty more dialogue on the overall outcome from both days, along with some other interesting discussions from which I learned a whole bunch of stuff from what IBM used to be, what it went through way before I joined and where it is heading! Goodness! What a trip down the memory lane and into the future!! And all of that thanks to Ron Sebastian!!

I tell you, if you ever have a chance to bump into him, stop him, and get busy talking to him! The amount of information & knowledge he has got is just remarkable!! And plenty of good fun, too! Yes, it was a long day, but I can certainly let you know that Ron made it ever so much more entertaining than whatever we could have thought and the three hours went up very quickly!

The end result though was when we got off the train and the really long day hit on us so badly that, before we all realised about it, we were already in our hotel rooms, ready to hit the sack! At least, I was heh

And that was it! Another interesting, refreshing and at the same time rewarding day in Geneva this time talking about social computing and doing some serious face to face social networking! It cannot get better than this, I tell you! Well, it did, but those are the highlights from yesterday and today, which I will talk about briefly shortly…

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