E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez

Gran Canaria

Another Special Day

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo in the Winter, Seen from ArternaraHappy Saint Patricks Day!!, for those folks who may be celebrating it anyway… Today surely is a special day for a whole bunch of people all over the world. Well, for me, too! No, it’s not because on the Internet apparently it’s my birthday today, which it isn’t (Thanks ever so much everyone for those kind and warm wishes shared across though!). Once again, and like I have been doing for a couple of years now, I *lied*. My actual birthday date is in February (Yes, I am a true Aquarian!), as I have hinted elsewhere already, but in a way it is my birthday today as well. At least, what I would consider having been reborn again into the current life I have been enjoying for the last 8 years and counting… Indeed, 8 years ago, on March 17th, 2004, on such a special occasion as St. Patrick’s Day, I moved to Gran Canaria, as my permanent home. And I haven’t gone back anywhere else ever since!

If you have been reading this blog for a long while you will notice how, despite the odd and awkward experiences here and there with my business travelling, I do enjoy traveling all over the place quite a bit. It’s probably the best option out there to get to know places, people, their languages, their customs, their traditions, their cultural traits, and whatever else. Amongst one of the best learning experiences in life. It’s also probably the best option to meet up a good bunch of close friends who no longer live near you in the same city, country or whatever, but that thanks to the wonderful world of the Social Web they are scattered all over. But, to be honest, the main reason why I love traveling, is because every time that I do it gives me an opportunity to treasure and appreciate why I work and live in Gran Canaria. My home.

You know, time and time again, when I get to present at conference events, summits, workshops, seminars and whatever else on the initiative I started over 4 years ago on living A World Without Email“, and how the world of Social is helping us transform the corporate world of the 21st century as well as our societies as a whole, it surprises plenty of people how I can still get away with having ditched corporate email, rely quite heavily on social networks for business and still live and work in Gran Canaria. Even more when my own boss is thousands of kilometers away from me… Well, that’s my story. And I am surely grateful to my current employer, IBM, as they have been employing me for the last 15 years to give me an opportunity to demonstrate there are other ways to contribute, make yourself useful, have an impact, and enjoy with a passion what you do on a daily basis. Regardless of where you are in the world. It no longer makes a difference. Remember the blog post I put together a couple of days ago on “Everything is connected to everything“?

That’s what I have been trying to prove all along. That with the emergence of much more effective and efficient collaborative, knowledge sharing and social networking tools we now have an opportunity to redesign how we do work, where we do it and with whom. And how it’s that flexibility and work life integration that would surely help knowledge workers become a lot more attached to the work they do, with a rather strong sense of belonging, ownership and co-responsibility for wanting things to work out just all right. To always want to improve the way your business does business, even if that means facing as well the ugly parts, to try to solve them in a meaningful and purposeful manner. All in all, to become more engaged, transparent, open, nimble, in short, sustainable and smart enough to carry on for a few decades more in perhaps one of the most complex, yet exciting, times in our lifetime as a species.

That’s why I am celebrating today my 8th year anniversary since I arrived in Gran Canaria. I never expected I would be staying over here that long. In fact, after my family’s home, it’s the place in the world I have lived the longest in a row. And while I don’t know how much longer I would be living over here, since that’s something that you can never plan anymore these days (Welcome to the world of uncertainty! hehe), I can certainly assure you all that, to me, it’s all about enjoying every single minute of it, yes, the good old carpe diem, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Oh, well, hang on, yes, I know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Actually, beginning of next week, when I am on the road again for a couple of business trips to Belgium and London (again!) and where you can imagine how much I would be looking forward to coming back home and be greeted with something special , something that 8 years ago welcomed me to be part of its family, its extensive community, and still accepts me to be there for who I am. Yes, that’s Gran Canaria. That’s my home. That’s my life. We may as well enjoy it, don’t you think?

Again, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, for those celebrating it, and happy 8th year anniversary, @elsua 4.0! Time to go off now and enjoy plenty of the beauty this paradise on earth island has got to offer! Ohhh, and if you ever come to pay a visit on your holidays or next business trip, get in touch! I would be delighted to show and guide you around … Or check my Foursquare’s checkins for some of the best places to hang out, as well as enjoy some of the most beautiful surroundings with incredibly friendly people and superb food. Oh, yes, I am a #foodie, too! But I am sure you have noticed that already, haven’t you?

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Back to Blogging, Again: Boira (2010 – … )

BoiraIf someone would have told me at the beginning of 2011 that the last three months of the year would have been sheer madness without me no longer of control of things and trying, barely, to keep up with it all, including a massive round of business travelling, I would have told them they would be just plain crazy. No way it was going to happen! No way I would go ahead and tolerate such run-over of one’s work and personal life without trying to do something about it. Ha! Guess life has always been having its own agenda and the only thing we can ever do is probably to try to adjust, be flexible enough, react on time, and take things as they come, hoping the damage would be somewhat limited. Well, that’s probably what I have been doing all of this time lately. And I seem to have survived. Barely. Today it’s my last working day of the year, before I embark on a massive detox, unwinding, relaxing and chilling couple of weeks of a much deserved vacation, if I may add, where I just basically don’t even know where and how to start!! Seriously. Just crazy!

Did you notice the last time I created a blog post over here was on 11/11/11 to treasure the living memory of one of those loving creatures one learns to love, appreciate and live with in unconditional terms over the course of the years? By the way, many thanks to all of those folks who have kindly shared their comments and experiences. Even today it’s still helping a lot! Thanks for that, everyone!

And did you notice the last time I put together another article before that one? Yes, it was another month in between! See what I meant when I talked about losing control of everything around you and put together the automatic pilot just to try to catch up with things hoping it won’t hurt too much?!? Gosh, exactly! I know some folks out there would relate to that feeling as well… Not enjoyable at all, for certain, but what an adrenaline rush, eh?

Anyway, I am back to my usual, regular blogging activities. You may be wondering I may be a bit too insane attempting to pick up my blogging mojo again, while on vacation, but the true thing is that I have missed it. I really have! Yes, you are probably not going to believe it, but not having blogged on a regular basis, like I usually do, over the last couple of months has certainly had an impact on something I never thought I would miss so much till I eventually bumped into it again: writing!

I have gone rusty with my own writing. I hardly recognise my blogging style anymore; putting together these few words in much longer sentences than 140 characters, or a couple of paragraphs here and there, is proving to be a challenge. A good one, for sure, but it just feels weird! That’s why I need to come back to the blog and write and pick up my blogging mojo once again, before I decide to give up on it and move on to other things. I just owe it so much to it that I feel is part of me, an integral part, actually, so you can imagine how tough it’s been in the last couple of months to be exposed to hundreds and hundreds of ideas, thoughts, experiences, very interesting readings and many other wonderful conversations and not being able to prioritise good enough to talk and blog about them.

I need to get started again. It’s probably going to be like a re-birth. A new beginning. A new start where I may also need to work a bit extra hard to recover my Google juice, as well, because it’s almost gone and I guess I just can’t neglect my business card any longer. And while I thought it was going to be a tougher challenge for me to pick up my blogging again, I must confess that it hasn’t been the case. More than anything else, because of a good number of rather inspiring blog posts that I have bumped into as of late, offering plenty of really good advice and additional reflections and helpful insights as to why blogging still is one of the most powerful personal branding tools out there. Check out, for instance, the blog entries put together by Om Malik, Brain ClarkDan Frommer, Tracy Gold, Arkarthick, Garth O’Brien, Lisa Barone, and, of course, the always inspiring Darren Rowse for some great articles that would surely help you convince anyone that blogging is here to stay as it is thriving nowadays more than ever!

So, I am back! And talking about new beginnings, somewhat new fresh starts, I thought I would get back to blogging today giving folks an opportunity to learn what happened after Fosca’s passing away. There have been many many reasons that have prevented me from blogging in the recent weeks and over the course of time I will be sharing further insights on each and everyone of those, but one that, for sure, has had an impact for yours truly during the course of November and beginning of December was that rather painful experience of seeing a tender, loving and caring pet moving on. Till something else happens…

Allow me to introduce you folks to Boira (“Fog” in catalan); the latest addition to the family! A male belgian shepherd dog (Groenendael) that has quickly captured the hearts and minds of the entire household and to no remedy. He is a bit over a year old now, so you can imagine what that entails. Indeed, lots and lots of physical activity all around! In fact, he’s been one of those other reasons why not just blogging, but also being online has had a bit of a hit in my own social presence out there. And I can imagine you know why. Having such an energetic pet in the house can be quite demanding and rather exhausting, and, even more so, lots of great fun! It’s taking me a bit over a month to eventually manage to take some good, decent pictures that I could share along over here, despite taking him out for long walks day in day out. He’s just as temperamental as Fosca was, but equally charming and amazingly smart. So much so, it’s scary some times what he gets to learn doing by just observing and performing once!

It’s been lots of good fun. You folks should see the state of our roof; I probably should take a picture or two and share it across, but right now it looks, literally, like a war zone. The plants we used to have there, the sprinkler and hose to water them, and a bunch of other things are now history. All destroyed, all bitten to no end, all gone! So imagine what he’s done inside the house!

Like I said, it’s been lots of good fun. And still having a blast with him. A few folks who cared to comment privately on the loss of Fosca mentioning how getting another pet relatively soon to heal the pain gradually were just spot on. She is still very much missed every single day that goes by, but Boira quickly comes up to remind everyone that what matters now is the present, right that moment he wants to live with each and everyone of us. To remind me, as well, in this case, that as wonderful as the Social Web is, it doesn’t help him get out for a walk, of getting fed, of getting lots of attention and playful moments. He just cares about now and if you don’t pay enough attention, he will just move on. So excuse me for a second, while I get the leash, and we go out for a lovely walk to enjoy the beginning of, I am sure, a wonderful holiday!



(Thanks much, everyone, for sticking around throughout all of this time, too, and stay tuned for more blog posts to come along in the next few hours … I am not going anywhere and I surely plan to catch up! But with a twist … or two … You will see shortly. It’s good to be back!)

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Back to Blogging: Fosca (1998 – 2011)

Fosca (1998 - 2011)It’s hard to believe the last time that I had a chance to drop by over here in this blog to create another entry was a bit over a month ago! My goodness! Where did the time really go over the last few weeks? It looks like the world just decided to spin over and over at double the speed, not allowing us to catch breath and move on nicely with the flow. I bet a bunch of you folks thought I had given up on blogging altogether (once again, after this long hiatus!) and move elsewhere. Well, not really. In fact, if you have been hanging out there on the various social networks that I use on a regular basis you would notice how during that period of time things have been relatively quiet from yours truly. Not because I may be suffering from some kind of social fatigue, but mostly because this time around real life, that parallel world we are all immersed in, decided to make a stand and have a whole lot more prevalence during these last few weeks dictating what yours truly would be doing here and there. The truth is though that things are starting to slow down a bit again, and it is therefore time for me to come back to my usual regular blogging, where I need to do some serious catch-up with what’s been happening in multiple fronts… But, hey, it’s good to come back! Always!

Anyway, I am sure at this point in time you may be wondering about what I have been up to in the last few weeks, right? So I thought I would just try to cover some of the things I have been involved with in that time, so you can have a good glimpse as to why it took me so long to come back to the blog and pick up again my blogging mojo. Well, as a starting point, work has continued to increase quite a bit, as we are approaching year end and I am sure most of you folks would understand what I mean with that. So I have been ramping up a bunch of customer meetings and workshops talking about “The Social Enterprise”, and, as usual, learning quite a bit about it from other people’s experiences. I am hoping in upcoming blog posts to talk about those experiences and also perhaps share some of the materials I have been using in those events.

Those customer meetings and workshops meant I had to do quite a bit of business travelling during that time as well, to combine it all with a good bunch of conferences that I have participated in the last 3 weeks, where I travelled to 5 different cities in 5 different countries. To name: Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Zurich and Madrid. So you can imagine how hectic things have been in that front. But this time around things have been a whole lot worse, because during those business trips I didn’t manage to stay connected for long periods of time or, at least, for as long as I would have hoped for, something that towards the end of it all really started bugging me big time, but that’s perhaps the topic of another blog post later on…

For now, suffice to say that it wasn’t a pleasant experience, quite the opposite, so, eventually, I needed to have some time off, to chill out, unwind, recharge my batteries and come back in full force. But, once again, life had a big surprise for yours truly that has surely managed to keep me quiet on the Social Web out there for a while, because I didn’t feel it was the right time, and it’s actually this blog post that I am putting together today the one that marks the time where I feel I need to talk about something that has left a big mark in my personal life and that as soon as I share what it is all about there would be a bunch of you folks who could relate to it as well pretty much.

If you have been following this blog for a good while now you would notice how early next year it will be 8 years since I moved to Gran Canaria, where I currently live and work. I cannot believe it’s been that long, to be honest, but I guess that time flies when you are having good fun! Anyway, when I came over here I ended up being part of a family: Fosca’s family.

Fosca was a black (with a white patch across her chest) flat-coated retriever that surely managed to receive me really well into her family without making much noise, without barking too much either, not even a single complain of having lost some of the attention from others, but showing, from day one that I met her, an unprecedented affection for yours truly that translated into one of those relationships that you know is going to leave a mark for good. Time and time again I used to tweet that I would be going out for a long walk, or a good run, with the dog… Well, that dog was Fosca. Numerous and countless hours were spent together. I became, indeed, part of her family. She was already 5 years old when I met her and it felt like I knew her forever. Her shiny and attentive brown eyes were something to die for! You could never say “No!” to her with those looks she knew how to use them on your to turn around whatever you were going to say…  That’s how she was! Always having plenty of time to dedicate to you, to take you for a walk or two, to make you run for a while to keep you in shape, to share plenty of that affection without even asking anything in return. Just like being part of the family from the beginning!

The thing is that in the last year and half things weren’t that well for her; she had to go through a number of operations to remove a couple of tumours and eventually on October 27th 2011, she decided that enough was enough and she needed to move on. So she left us. I would probably never forget the look in her face the day that we took her to the vet. There she was, as lively, agile, playful, charming and entertaining as ever, jumping back and forth, waving her tail without remedy, just as if nothing really happened and she was ready to go for another long walk. Except that was the last time that we would ever see her alive. A very sad day. A few very sad days eventually ever since. Last thing that we wanted for her would be that she would suffer a rather slow and painful last few weeks of her treasured life. So one of the toughest decisions I have ever come across myself in my life had to be done. There was no way back. But being the amazing creature that she is she managed to have the rest of the family sorted out on her way out.

They say that there aren’t any coincidences in life, and probably there aren’t. Things happen for a reason and all of the events from that morning certainly confirmed that she was right all along. She needed to find a way for us to move on with our lives, after the wonderful years we had together, and she managed to make it happen in one of the most natural ways you can ever imagine. Serendipity, once again, doing its magic, but with a purpose this time around. Help us move along from our pain of having lost a dear friend for good, only to realise that she will be in our hearts for the rest of our lives!

So you can imagine by now how tough it’s been for yours truly to eventually sit down and write about this stuff. It’s something that I am not used to. You probably even never will get used to it. Not that I would want to either! Days have gone by and I still can’t get used to it. I can’t help but think about all of those little precious moments we enjoyed together with the rest of family and the huge amount of joy and tender love and affection she had for everyone! Experiences like the one we have been going through in the last few days are something that I would probably not wish it to anyone who has got a dear pet sitting right next to them as they read these few words. Please allow me to ask you all to go and give them a big hug and a stroke here and there and think of Fosca. Just like we do every single day. It’s been tough, indeed, even as I write this, I just can’t help stopping every so often to clear my watery eyes. But, like she would have wanted, life goes on and as such we also need to keep moving on. Like I mentioned above, she is a part of us, she will always be in our hearts and our fondest memories; she will be pretty much irreplaceable, but she would have wanted us to carry on knowing that at some point we will probably be meeting up again. For now we know she is in a better place, perhaps playing with other dogs, and enjoying the odd bone here and there, and having a blast, enjoying a new life, whatever and wherever that may well be…

Now you know why I have been quiet on the blogging front for a while. Now you know why I found it very hard to sit down, start writing about her and share with you a glimpse of what she was like and what she meant for the rest of the family. She was rather temperamental, always difficult to catch up on a snapshot, whatever the angle, whatever the scenario, but over the course of the last 8 years we did manage to take a few pictures of her and to close off this blog entry I thought I would share some of them over here, just like I did on my Google Plus profile on the day it happened, as a way to treasure and honour her friendship and companionship, her loyalty to the whole family, the numerous precious memories that will remain for a long while with all of us and that we lived together over time. In short, here are some pictures of Fosca, our dear and beloved pet that passed away on October 27th…

Rest in peace, our dear Fosca! And thanks ever so much for changing our lives the way you did and for making us better people as a result of it! You will never be forgotten. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever!

Fosca (1998 - 2011)

Fosca (1998 - 2011)

Fosca (1998 - 2011)

Fosca (1998 - 2011)

Fosca (1998 – 2011) – R.I.P.

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