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

From the blog

Trip to Zürich – Final Highlights

The last couple of blog posts that I have put together were actually detailing various different highlights from the trip to Switzerland I have been doing this week presenting at Lotusphere Comes To You, both in Zürich and Geneva, respectively. Well, this third entry will be the final post from the series where I will be sharing over here some of the highlights from the remaining of the week, Wednesday, Thursday and today Friday.

As you may well know, the original plan was to actually meet with a bunch of customers and conduct a number of different meetings and workshops around the subject of social computing and the kind of impact it is having within the corporate world. Not sure why, or what the reasons were, but all of those meetings have been postponed for later in the year and since I have got a non-refundable flight ticket I actually decided to stay over here in IBM Zürich, Vulkanstr., and enjoy some office time.

Mind you, I know that for a whole bunch of you, this may sound like something very common and not unusual, but believe me, for me it surely was. I have been working remotely from home for the last four years and my closest office location is over 1,000kms. So coming back to an office space after that long surely was going to be quite an interesting experience, to say the least.

What I enjoyed the most? I never thought I would be saying this, but the canteen! And big time! The choice of dishes and various different options is incredible compared to others I have been to in the past. What I enjoyed the most? Hummm, not sure I thought I would be saying this either, but actually being surrounded by a whole bunch of strangers who are my colleagues (Didn’t know any of them personally, by the way), yet didn’t know much more about them. I guess I have been spoiled by Twitter and its lovely ambient intimacy for just too long! Ha! There I said it! Oh, oh, by the way, have you checked out the awesome 2,5 minutes video put together by the Common Craft folks under Twitter? (Show it to your colleagues, friends & family, because I am sure they are going to love it and learn quite a bit where you have been hanging out all this time! And if you want to get them on board, make them watch it!! Yes, I know, it is that good!!)

Right, so after that little discrepancy of being more connected to my social networks online than to those folks who were sitting next to my desk (What a weird feeling! I need to fix that for the next time, specially if my hosts are not there 😉 Yes, I know, busy people with customer commitments, too!) I actually enjoyed the stay quite a bit.

I had the opportunity to witness how social computing is slowly, but steadily, taking over the day to day interactions over here. In fact, one of the coolest things I have been doing over here was to recruit social computing evangelists for one of the communities I am co-leading and which is part of my day job! I went from zero members from Switzerland to over half a dozen in a couple of hours! heh Yes, there is nothing like recruiting face to face over a cup of coffee and some great conversations! heh

It was so cool to be able to reconnect as well with some of the folks I used to work with remotely many many years ago and see how we have all moved through different paths to then reconnect again. And we used Beehive for getting together over lunch and get some conversations going. No e-mail, no IM, just purely Beehive! (Goodness, I love that social software tool! And hope to be able to blog about it very shortly as well, too!!)

The interesting part from this particular gathering was to actually get to hear first hand from a bunch of folks sharing with everyone what their experiences have been with social computing over here; the struggle, the challenge, the excitement of getting things done, the adoption rates going up, etc. etc. Till one of the folks being with us shared a hard copy of a newspaper article that I just found too funny! So much so that I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it with my N95: e-mail coming to an end (Article in German, by the way). I bet you guessed what we talked for the next few minutes, right? Yes, indeed, about fighting and challenging e-mail on the workplace! *So* re-energising, to say the least!

For the rest, and after having spent well over two hours of lunch (Yes, I heart those kind of lunches!! heh) we all went back to our desks and mentioned we would meet again when I get back, some time in April or June this year, we shall see. But one thing for sure is that I can’t wait.

From there onwards back to the desk in an open office with plenty of buzz and having to mute my phone while in conference calls because my team thought I was in some kind of party with all the noise in the background! (I wish! ;-)). Overall, I had an incredible week meeting some really smart and passionate folks who live social computing, so much so, that before I came over here I thought it would be rather dead, and on the contrary, it is alive and kicking and very much so!! Just brilliant!

Finally, from here a special word of gratitude to the wonderful hosts I have been having throughout the week. They have made my stay incredibly pleasant and very indulging, so much so, that they all know I will be back!! And I can’t wait for it, to be honest! Zürich still is one of my favourite cities in Europe and when you have got special places in dodgy areas like Lily’s, event better!!

Till next time!!

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  1. BTW: I was attending your LCTY session in Zurich and I found it very interesting.

    I’m glad you had a good time in Switzerland. You were lucky that the weather was so good.

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