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

Conference Events

Back from IBM Lotusphere and Celebrating 11 Years at IBM!

After 27 hours in transit, I am, finally, home! Yes, that is right, after over a day of travelling I am now back, coming from one of the best conference events I have ever been to in my short career in the IT world: Lotusphere 2008!!! What a blast, indeed, folks! I mean, I had very very high expectations and everything about the whole event, after having talked to different people about it for quite a while, but this past week has been just incredible! So much so that on the way back I just couldn’t help thinking about the great time I had, the awesomeness from all of the folks I met while in there and the incredible amount of stuff I learnt all along. And all that probably helped me enjoy those 27 hours of travelling back since it didn’t feel like I would be too tired. Yes, I am sure, it was the excitement kicking in!

Anyway, you would remember how last blog post I put together over here was detailing a little bit on the highlights from the first day of Lotusphere, Sunday 19th. From there onwards things just went incredibly busy and massively hectic and just didn’t have much time to update the blog. Instead, as you would all imagine, I decided to dedicate my time to one of the activities I like the most about conferences: networking. And that’s what I did! And big time! Oh and plenty of twittering as well! Yes, I realise that I didn’t have a chance to say "Hi!" to a whole bunch of folks I would have wanted it to, but it surely was a good start to put together a face and a voice to those folks I have been reading or connecting virtually with for quite some time now! Priceless!! Hanging out with various different folks till the early hours of the morning, closing the bar brings back lots of good memories from previous conference events I may have attended.

Anyway, I am now back home already for a few hours and while I am trying to keep myself awake, since I don’t want to just get to bed too soon, I am starting to wade through various different blog posts I’ll be putting together about the Lotusphere event itself. Pretty much along the very same lines as the highlights entry I mentioned earlier on, so you can expect over the next day or so about four long blog posts on the subject. Then from there onwards, there is just so much I would want to talk about and mention over here from what I saw / talked about while in there, that I am probably going to spend a few days sharing further insights with regards to some of the incredibly exciting announcements that went live while in there! I am hoping that would be all right with you folks, if you see that over the next few days I may be talking a bit far too much on such IBM event, but I think it’s worth it.

Oh, and talking about announcements, I just realised that, while I was at Lotusphere 2008 in Orlando, I made one of those huge achievements that I never thought would have been possible. Yes, that is right. For someone who studied to become an English teacher it’s funny to think that earlier on this week, on the 20th of January 2008, I actually made 11 years working for IBM!! Wooohooo!! That is just huge!

That’s right! I started working for IBM in a contractor company back in 1997 and supporting the mainframe for the UK. Then from there onwards I managed to get into the training department from the overall project, and from there moving forward into Knowledge Management and Social Computing spaces. Till now. Quite an experience, I tell you! And fast forward to today, 11 years and still going strong!

With all of the stuff that was going on during the event I even forgot about my own IBM anniversary and didn’t blog about it. So, now that I have got a few minutes and in order to help me stay awake, here I am putting together these lines to wish me another 11 years of good and exciting work doing the stuff I have been enjoying for the last few years! KM, Collaboration, Communities, Learning and Social Computing!!

Of course, regular blogging activities will resume for this particular blog shortly, once I am done with my mail backlog, or, and stay tuned, because I’m also preparing an entry on how I am going to get rid of e-mail in 2008 to share my knowledge and collaborate with other folks using social software tools… But that’s a story for another blog post…

(It’s good to be back again!)

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IBM Lotusphere 2008 – Orlando, FL. – 20th to 24th January – I’ll Be There! And You?

As you may have well already read over at Dennis Howlett‘s Irregular Enterprise blog, or through my various twitterings, this coming Saturday I will be travelling again to the US to attend my first conference of the year and must say that I will be starting with an awesome event that I have been looking forward to for the last couple of years. Yes, indeed, this coming Saturday, and till Friday afternoon next week, I shall be in Orlando, Florida, attending IBM‘s Lotusphere 2008!!!

To say that I am incredibly excited about the whole thing is probably an understatement, because I know I am off to a wild ride (Never better said!)!! This time is going to be a special occasion as well, since I will not be presenting at the event itself. I will just be splitting my time in attending as many of the sessions as I possibly can and hanging out at the "Social Software @ IBM" booth where I will be talking to a whole bunch of customers on the topic of social software, social computing and how IBM is making use of such tools to improve the knowledge sharing and collaboration across the enterprise.

At the same time I will be spending quite a bit of time demoing, while talking, of course, some of the most interesting IBM social software tools that have been coming along over the last few months, as well as giving folks a teaser about a couple of them that haven’t seen the light publicly just yet, but of which you will find out some more about very very soon! One of them, specially, is the one holding me from sharing the slide deck and pitch I did at the recent IBM iForum event in Zurich that I have been talking about quite a bit. Stay tuned because that one is coming up shortly as well! Thus if you are around and are willing to spend some time seeing what’s going on in that space come over to the "Social Software @ IBM" booth and say "Hi!" 🙂

As I get myself more and more exposed to various different details, I shall be sharing them over here. However, there are already tons of materials available all over the place that you can check out to see what the event is going to be like.  As a starter check out the Technorati tag for the event: Lotusphere2008. Then you can head over to Planet Lotus, which I am sure is going to be raving with commentary throughout the event (Already got started!). There is also a Ning space built up for the occasion as well as a Twitter channel. And the list goes on and on and on…

Also, and while you are busy trying to figure it all out, you may want to check out the link to the Tracks and Sessions to see some of the outstanding materials that will be presented throughout the few days the conference lasts. I would be, of course, very interested in following up with all of the different sessions related to social software and social computing (InsideLotus – Lotus, Portal and Collaboration Software has actually put together a very nice summary in this case, if you would want to read further on it right away).

Oh, you may be thinking that checking out all of the different sessions and tracks through the Web site is not really that friendly, right? Well, here is Genii Software coming to our rescue and putting together a superb Lotus Notes database with which you can navigate through the entire event and find the sessions you would be interested in! Here is another link to one of the most recent blog posts on the topic where you would be able to read some more about it. This would certainly become really handy, while I am stranded in airplanes for over 20 hours this coming Saturday, don’t you think?

Finally, there is one other thing that I would want to share further with you. Stay tuned for the various multiple updates that would be coming from various prolific Lotus bloggers, because I am sure they are not going to stop a single minute before, during and after the event. Special attention to Ed Brill‘s blog, Alan Lepofsky‘s, Chris Reckling & Ted Stanton’s InsideLotus, Mary Beth Raven‘s blog, Rocky Oliver’s Lotus Geek and The Taking Notes Podcast blogs, amongst many many others, because I am sure they will all keep you busy for quite a bit. Oh, and I, too, would be looking forward to Blogging community birds-of-a-feather, of which you can read plenty more over at Ed’s blog.

In short, it looks like it is going to be one of those events difficult to forget! Plenty of good fun all around! And since it is my first Lotusphere I bet I am going to enjoy it even more! More than anything else because I am seriously looking forward to meet up with a bunch of folks I work with in this distributed world day in day out, also meet up with some of the folks I have been reading of their blogs for so many years (It surely is going to be nice to put a face behind the quality writings); and finally get together on to some really good discussions with various different people on social software and social computing! What else can I ask for?

Oh, yes, I got myself an extra battery for the MacBook Pro I’ll be bringing in with me, so it looks like I am all set! Let’s hope that the network connection would work as you would expect (So that I can blog about some of the stuff that would be going on during the event); that I get the chance to show the demos the way I intend to (Yes, indeed, I will be using the Mac for those, too!! 😉 ) and that I am able to find the folks I want to meet up amongst the several thousand people attending!! So if you are around in Orlando during that time (Starting this coming Saturday and till Friday morning) and want to say "Hi!" or go together for a drink or two while doing some massive social networking … stay in touch! You can comment on this blog post, contact me through Twitter, or Facebook, or the Ning Lotusphere space, or e-mail, or … well, you know where to find me 😉

See you there!

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What’s in a Name? – Knowledge Management 0.0 2008 Conference Event

Over the last couple of days my head has been buzzing around with what promises to be quite an adventure, for sure. Yes, indeed, I am talking about the "Next Generation Knowledge Sharing & Learning Online Conference Event – In Spring 2008?", which I blogged about a couple of days ago. Since that blog post, and after various conversations in Twitter, a number of different ideas and conversations have started to come together and by the looks of it, it sounds like the thought of a face to face event here in Gran Canaria is gaining more and more momentum by the minute. I am in the process now of checking a number of different things and how they could work together, which, for those of you familiar with hosting these kind of events I am sure you can relate to a great extent.

At this point in time, I cannot confirm anything at the moment, since I am just getting started with various different conversations trying to find out how we could make it happen, but the fact that we have got about 40 people interested thus far (And more coming up, I am sure) is a good enough start for us, I would think. I have been thinking that having an event with about 200 for the first edition may well be an interesting beginning and already having 20% of that target audience is a good enough motivation to keep moving things further. Or, at least, try to.

I am sure that, when the time comes, I will be probably asking for some additional help and advice on a number of different topics, but for the time being I thought I would bring up to you folks what I have been thinking as far as the title of the conference is concerned, so that you would have the opportunity to chime in and share your thoughts on it. I know that quite a few of you have already engaged on a superb conversation on a previous blog post I put together (Which I will be chiming in sharing some more thoughts on the topics discussed thus far) and somehow I have the feeling that you will like the title of the conference I’ve been thinking about: "Knowledge Management 0.0 2008 – Bridging the Gap" (Or "Back to Basics"). In short, "KM 0.0 Bridging the Gap".

How did I come up with such title? Well, like it happens in most cases. Through a serendipitous knowledge discovery. I was going through the superb Knowledge (News)Letter that David Gurteen gets to send around every now and then on some really hot topics related to Knowledge Management. In it I found a short reference to one of my favourite KM bloggers from quite some time now: Dave Pollard, where David pointed to, what to me, is one of the best definitions on what Knowledge Management is all about. And you all know how I feel on trying to define KM. Never have done it, and not sure I am going to start now!

But one thing for sure is that if you are into Knowledge Management, whether it is traditional KM or KM 2.0 (More on this later, by the way), I strongly suggest you have a look into one of the most impressive blog posts that Dave Pollard has put together on the subject for a little while now: KM 0.0 – Simply Enabling Trusted Context-rich Conversations among Communities that Care. I read the blog post a couple of weeks ago and had it in my drafts for a potential upcoming blog entry on the subject, but all of a sudden I had one of these ah-ha! moments when re-reading it that I just couldn’t help bringing it forward…

Dave just put together the very exact purpose of the conference I would love to make happen in 2008 in Gran Canaria. And all of that because of this particular definition on Knowledge Management:

"KM is simply the art enabling trusted, context-rich conversations among the appropriate members of communities about things these communities are passionate about"

Whoooaaahhh! Never thought I would feel so identified with a KM definition like that one. And one that clearly represents the spirit of the conference event I would love to host, if everything works out all right.

I know I still haven’t written down the blurb for what the main description of the conference event would look like, but after reading that quote and after reading Dave’s post, you know where I will be heading. Pay particular attention to the table he has put together on that entry on KM 1.0: All about Content & Collection and KM 0.0: (PKM): all about context and connection.

This is exactly why I am more than happy to call it KM 0.0 2008; back to the roots of how Knowledge Management was first envisioned a few years ago, as Dave has nicely indicated in this particular paragraph:

"At the request of several readers, I’ve pulled this all together in the table above into a framework for what some have called KM 2.0, but which I prefer to call KM 0.0, because it’s getting back to the roots of why and how people share what they know. It could also be called PKM — Personal Knowledge Management — because it’s about self-managed content and peer-to-peer connectivity."

I tell you, that blog post is just so spot on with the spirit of what I have envisioned for the conference event, based on the various different conversations taking all over the place and my own thoughts as well. So much so that I have contacted Dave on the subject and he is game for us to make use of Knowledge Management 0.0, a.k.a. KM 0.0, which is something that I am hoping to be re-using more and more over here, as, like I said, I am feeling incredibly identified with it.

Thus what do you think? Nothing concrete, of course. I know how touchy the selection of a title for a conference event is going to be like, but this is what is in my mind at the moment. And would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, ideas, suggestions, etc. etc. on the topic. Would KM 0.0 2008 work for you? Go ahead and share your thoughts over here, or contact me offline or carry on further the conversations with me in Twitter. After all, this is not just my conference, but our conference. And now it is your turn to weigh in your two cents 🙂

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Next Generation Knowledge Sharing & Learning Online Conference Event – In Spring 2008?

While I am just about to finish editing the audio recording (And fine tune the slide deck that will go with it) from my pitch on Social Computing @ IBM at the recent IBM iForum event in Zürich, and while trying to wrap up everything at work since tomorrow is my last working day for the remaining of the year, earlier on today in Twitter a crazy thought came up from James Dellow after I mentioned in one of my twitterings how one of my abstracts for a conference event, taking place next year, on the state of social computing, was rejected. From there onwards, Dennis McDonald also jumped in, along with Steve Collins, Kelly Drahzal (a.k.a. Kellypuffs), Mark Masterson, Nancy White, LittleLaura, Ryan Boyles, Thomas van der Wal, Ryan Lanham and Jasmin Tragas so far. And before we knew it we had a whole bunch of folks in Twitter interested in the overall event (Plus those who contacted me already offline!).

Look at that!?!?! Who would have thought that Twitter would have such a huge and immediate impact where a bunch of folks passionate on a particular topic, i.e. social computing, will be gathering together into participating on an online conference event around the subject of Knowledge Sharing and Learning and the impact social software is having in both of them? Pretty amazing, don’t you think?

From there onwards, we were all thinking about a potential title and theme for the conference. Nancy White came up with some really good comments on a potential direction: "I have been struggling with "what it is" And it is not just personal. It is organizational. KS, knowledge creation and application. And yes, some management" and so did LittleLaura: "like the idea of KM and IM and info architecture, importance often gets forgotten with all the hype of modern media these days!", along with Kapil Gupta with some really good suggestions: "I only saw part of your conversation about nextgen KM conf, but sounds like you need is something like a barcamp for KM -in SL maybe?"

And in just a matter of minutes things are starting to pave out quite nicely. No, we haven’t finalised a title yet, nor a theme for the overall conference event. So far we have agreed it would be best to host an online event, pretty much like the rather impressive and superb eLearning Technology – Corporate Learning: Trends and Innovations that Tony Karrer, and a few other folks, helped put together not long ago and which I will also blog about in the near future (Catching up with the recordings and blog posts at this moment in time).

But before we move forward on to figuring out the next thing (Establish the final title of the conference, overall logistics, online venue, themes and speaker sessions, etc. etc.) and seeing how not many of the folks who get to read this blog or James Dellow’s ChiefTech are actually hanging out in Twitter, I thought I would poll you folks over here on whether there would be any people out there interested in having such event taking place, some time during the course of 2008, perhaps in the spring. Still to be decided, indeed.

What do you think? We haven’t figured out just yet either how long it would be taking, but I am sure that we could come up with some suggestions in here on the overall length of the conference, and the final format. For now, just querying the folks who get to read blogs on social computing, knowledge sharing and learning topics, plus anyone else interested in the subject. What do you think? Feel you would be able to find some time during spring next year to participate in such an event? Rather as a speaker in whatever the three fields (Or, whatever other you would feel would be relevant for the current trend of discussions held thus far), or as an active participant? Either way would work for us.

Well, here is your chance to weigh in. Share with us below, as a comment, or contact me offline, whether you would want that event to take place or not, whether you would want to participate as an speaker or not, whether you may be able to help volunteer some time to help out with the logistics and whatever else. Like I said, this initial blog post is a little bit to touch base on exploring the potential of hosting such online event to help shape how social computing is impacting Knowledge Sharing / Knowledge Management and Learning in the corporate world.

Thus go ahead and share those comments with us! A simple Yes / No would do as well. No need to elaborate much more right now, if you wish to. Just getting a sense on whether it would be worth while pursuing or not… What do you feel? Fancy joining us altogether to shape the way we are embracing social software within the corporate world to dramatically change the way we share our knowledge, learn and collaborate with other knowledge workers?

Then let’s do it! Let’s make it happen!

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