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

Gran Canaria

Social Business Accelerates Work as a State of Mind

Gran Canaria - Roque Nublo & Roque Bentayga from ArtenaraA few days back Scott Edinger put together a very insightful article on the topic of whether remote knowledge workers are more engaged, or not, than people working at the traditional office. The interesting thing though is how the whole concept of teleworking has been all along with us for several decades now, specially, since the emergence of groupware, collaboration and knowledge sharing solutions came about. And it looks like with the opportunity of embracing social networking tools for business that we are enjoying nowadays, there is a new rush in trying to figure out whether social technologies can finally free up knowledge workers from the yoke of the traditional office, resulting, if anything, on what I feel has been one of the main mantras behind both Social Business and the future of work meme: work is no longer a physical space, but a state of mind.

Work happens, indeed, wherever you are, whenever you need, with whatever the tools you have at your disposal, with whoever the connections you may collaborate with in getting the job done. Never before have we been capable of realising that dream of the fully empowered knowledge worker to work virtually in a more than ever distributed world than thanks to the emergence of all of these social networking tools. To the point where, finally, we are starting to see how it’s helping employees become more engaged, more participative, more collaborative, taking on a fair bit of co-ownership and responsibility for their work to levels we haven’t seen in the past just yet. And it makes perfect sense, specially, if you take into consideration how initiatives like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) have taken the corporate world by storm. However, there may well be perhaps a couple of other additional reasons altogether than those Scott has talked about on that article itself that should probably be added into the mix. 

But before we go into that and explore it a bit more in detail, and perhaps as good background for this topic of discussion, on teleworking, that is, we should not forget about the huge amount of literature, in the form of blog posts , articles, studies, research, infographics, white papers, etc. etc. that we have seen over the course of the last few months talking about the various different benefits, the perks, the advantages, the good practices and lessons learned of working remotely thanks to the extensive use of social networking tools. It’s definitely noteworthy to state how it’s perhaps, finally, moving forward in the right direction, raising the right questions: does remote working help you improve your productivity and effectiveness at what you already do? The answer seems to be on the positive side of things. Yes! And I would wholeheartedly have to agree with that assertion, at least, based on my own experience as a remote knowledge (Web) worker from over the last 10 years and counting…

We have seen as well though a few folks talking about some of the various disadvantages; nonetheless, if there is anything clear out of the whole discussion taking place is that working remotely, while remaining productive and effective enough at what you do, still raises questions, concerns and whatever other issues that have certainly kept challenging the relevance of the traditional office as well as the potential place for the virtual workplace of the future we are moving forward to. This time around, nothing to do with technology, apparently, as it’s just an enabler, as usual, but more from the perspective of culture and how in a good number of different environments teleworking not only doesn’t it get promoted nor encouraged, but eventually it gets turned off, to the point of not tolerating it, because both knowledge workers and managers have got that presumption that if you can’t see, or can’t be seen, you can’t be productive, you can’t measure the results. You see? Apparently, we are still very much inclined to measure our productivity by our sheer presence at the office rather than the results and deliverables you produce, in whatever the timeframe, wherever you may well be.

Well, that presumption may well have its days numbered, thanks to the emergence of these social networking tools, because if there is anything out there that they are very good at is at helping generate enough visibility, openness and transparency to continue working out loud, narrating your work. In short, becoming comfortable with observable work (a.k.a. #owork) by which we are seeing a fundamental shift from measuring individual performance by your mere presence at the office cubicle to measuring network / community / team performance based on the results you get to produce in a collaborative and open manner. And this is, indeed, when work is no longer considered a physical place, i.e. the traditional office, but more that state of mind: work happens around you and your networks (physical or virtual) who collaboratively share your knowledge to achieve a common goal. That is, getting the job done. 

However, with all of that said, I still think Scott missed a couple of interesting insights that I have seen over the last few years in that transition towards adopting and embracing teleworking. The vast majority of knowledge workers who are still skeptic about it are mainly so, because they haven’t experienced it themselves. They keep saying that they wouldn’t be able to do it;  that they need to be in contact with other people face to face, that they lack the discipline to stick to work related stuff, they would instead do the shopping, or the laundry or just keep the kids buzzing around. They just can’t possibly see themselves working remotely, never mind their managers, specially, those who are still living that illusion of command and control or those other managers who thrive on micro-managing their employees. Yet, they keep feeling that way, because, in reality, they haven’t tried it out themselves for a good number of weeks, months. Versus just perhaps a couple of days. 

Yes, indeed, you would need plenty of discipline, motivation, encouragement and commitment to make it work. There is no denying that. It’s not easy. Just like commuting to the physical office, one has got to set one’s mind up towards understanding that work is work and the rest is … life. And this is exactly what I think Scott is missing from his article. Two of the main key motivators for which remote workers excel at engagement, participation and collaboration with their fellow colleagues, customers and business partners: flexibility and work / life integration. 

Flexibility from the prospective that the traditional 9-5 work schedule is a thing of the past. Long gone are the traditional 8-ish working hours per day (Although we know that every knowledge worker works, sadly, more than 8 hours per day, contrary to what studies have shown as the perfect work week schedule) and instead knowledge workers, through the use of these social networking tools have become more flexible, understanding that depending on the kind of work at hand there would be times when they would be chipping in 14, 15 or 16 hours of work, but then there would be other times when things may be slowing down a bit, and they may just work 2 to 3 hours. And it would be totally fine, because thanks to that flexibility they just focus on the task at hand, versus having to keep working even if the task is completed already. That flexibility is a huge motivator and incentive for remote knowledge workers, because right there they are starting to grasp the notion of how they are in much better control of their workflows, according to their needs & wants and those of their networks. Eventually, working together to finish the job even faster and with perhaps much more quality, thanks to that network effort. 

With regards to Work Life Integration, there is very little that I can add, since I have blogged about it recently as well. But I can certainly add one other key aspect related to such integration. Notice how I am no longer talking about work life balance, since I think it’s a myth. It’s always been a myth. It’s never worked. Despite corporations trying really hard for knowledge workers to embrace such balance, in almost all cases there isn’t such a thing: work always wins. Regardless. However, with integration it is different, very different. Because what you introduce into the equation is a new key concept that’s finally making its way into the business world: choice

In particular, your choice to become a remote worker. In the vast majority of cases, it’s the knowledge workers themselves the ones who request from their managers and their day to day work to become remote workers. They are the ones who have got that initial urge to become remote employees. Some times it doesn’t get granted easily, depending on the nature of your job, whether you have got direct customer exposure, or not, whether your team is all collocated, etc. etc. Whatever the reason. But the vast majority of times it is granted. That’s when flexibility kicks in. That’s when the motivation is huge! That’s when micro-managers become servant leaders helping facilitate interactions and connections, even remotely, in order to facilitate more openness, transparency, trustworthier exchanges, etc. etc. to get work done even more effectively.

And it just works! Why? For something that most people don’t seem to realise just yet. And that’s the fact that those remote knowledge workers are the very first ones who are truly interested in being allowed to continue working remotely in the first place. So they are the first interested party in keeping up that status. For their own good, never mind that one of their teams, networks or communities. They are the first ones who will work really hard on it, because they realise that thanks to that very same flexibility and work life integration they are much more effective and engaged employees than as if they would be working from the physical office.

That’s why whenever someone asks me how I can keep up working throughout my work week from Gran Canaria, you know, paradise island, they are still surprised they can reach me any which way thanks to those various different social networking tools, instead of, say, just being on the beach. Yes, I know, I could well do that, but then again, for how long? How long would you think I would be allowed to keep such status if I weren’t the first interested party in remaining a fully empowered, networked, engaged, motivated knowledge worker?

Even more, do you think I would be allowed to work remotely, where I live, by just making use of corporate email, instead of Living “A World Without eMail“, by making an even heavier use of social networking tools? I probably wouldn’t. And understandably given that lack of openness, visibility and transparency that email provides. That, on its own, is the main reason why I keep walking the talk on becoming an engaged remote knowledge (Web) worker, because thanks to that very same flexibility and work life integration I get to enjoy, every so often, things in life like this … 

Gran Canaria - Maspalomas Dunes' Sunset

And that’s not too bad for a professional, remote, networked knowledge worker, don’t you think?

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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!

Boira

Boira

(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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A Special Day

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las NievesOver the course of the last couple of days my social periscope, both inside and outside of the firewall, has been down for most of the time, as I have been fully immersed on the IBM Simplify Jam, jamming away, with still nearly 7 hours to go!, on trying to figure out ways to help untangle IBM’s complexity. So far it’s been quite an amazing experience that I am hoping to have an opportunity to blog more about it in its due course. However, for now, I thought I would go ahead and drop by over here and share this blog entry, seeing how the Social Web out there had other plans for me for today: “Happy Birthday, on St. Patrick’s Day!, they have all been, rather kindly and warmly, wishing yours truly over the course of the last few hours. Well, yes! it’s St. Patrick’s Day, although it is *not* my birthday. I lied!

I lied, because Facebook taught me how to and why I needed to; I lied on my date of birth, because apparently it’s one of the two pieces of data that folks out there would need to know in order to be capable of stealing my identity and pretend to be who they are not. And Facebook has done a wonderful job in reminding me time and time again why I need to lie about my birthday date. Even though I no longer have got an active account in FB. So that’s why, out there on the Web, today is a special day for me. It’s not my birthday, but it still is a very special day!

That’s right! March 17th, 2004, was a rather cherished day for me. Still is today, 7 years later! On that date I decided to be re-born and come back to life once again. It was very much needed and I still haven’t figured it out why it took me so long to realise about it. Over the last couple of months, during that year, yours truly went through one of those lifetime changing experiences, while he was still working and living in The Netherlands, that surely makes you think about things in general. You know, that kind of experience you all know you need to go through once in your lifetime. That kind of experience that helps you switch your priorities to what really matters. I am sure most of you folks can relate to that, as I bet that most of you may have gone through something similar in the recent past. Or it will come up eventually.

Well, to me, it was March 17th, 2004, when I decided to come back home and live in Gran Canaria, Spain. Actually, it’s not really my hometown. That’s up in the northern part of Spain (León), but for a good number of years it’s felt like it was, as I kept coming back, year after year, on vacation, for a good number of reasons. And 7 years later, I still feel like the first day. That’s why to me, today is a rather special day, one where I plan to celebrate it big time, not only because it’s St. Patrick’s Day itself, but also because thanks to that decision back in 2004 I managed to get things straightened up a bit, helping me land in my dream job, amongst several other things, including in my own personal life, that most of you out there who know me in real life already know about to some extent; specially, if you have come along to pay me a visit and see various of those reasons that helped me, back in the day, land in such a place as this tiny, precious, mini-continent, island.

That’s why today, in such a special day, I wanted to recover back a blog post I shared over here as well over a year ago and which clearly comes to detail some of the various different reasons why I decided to come and move to Gran Canaria, and why, after 7 years of living over here, I am still enjoying it, just as much as I was from day one! And here is why:

Nearly 7 minutes of pure gold! Nearly 7 minutes that can pretty well translate to what my life experiences have been like over here in those last 7 years. It’s funny, isn’t it? They keep saying that 7 is a magical number, or so they tell me, so I guess today will even mark for a much more special celebration. Yes, the video clip is in Spanish, with Spanish subtitles, but there are plenty of versions of it in other languages. Here is the one in English “Choose a grand destination, Gran Canaria“, in case you would want to watch it in that language.

And if you would ever want to come along and pay a visit, know that I will be more than happy to host you and show you around what plenty of folks know as the wonder mini-continent: Gran Canaria. I bet you will be enjoying just as much as I do myself, every day. Yes, indeed, happy belated birthday to yours truly!

Thanks ever so much, everyone, for those wonderful birthday wishes! They mean a lot to me, specially, when this one is the last one of those “3s” I have been enjoying, over the last decade, quite a bit! Thanks everyone as well for being part of it!

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Imagine an Island and Then … Come Along! Welcome Back!

Gran Canaria - Maspalomas DunesI am sure that at this point in time regular readers of this blog may have been wondering where I have been all of this time, or whether I may have abandoned my blog altogether, since the last time I created a blog post over here was over a month and a half ago and by this time plenty of people may be thinking it’s just too late to come to the blog back again, right? Well, you know, after all, blogs are dying, aren’t they? So it may have looked like this one was heading in that very same direction after such a long time without an entry being published. Well, nothing further than the truth. Yes, I have just gone through, perhaps, one of the longest blogging hiatus I can remember in my whole 7 years of blogging. But the reality is that I am now, finally, back to my usual regular blogging activities after such extended break. Thus I guess I could also say to all of you as well … Welcome back! Thanks for sticking around and for dropping by once again! I surely have missed you all, too!

I bet by now you may be wondering where have I been all of this time then, right? What has kept me away from the blog throughout all of these weeks and why I am coming back to it, once again. I am sure you may be pondering what has happened to Luis Suarez, yours truly, over the last few weeks. Or, maybe not. Maybe, you didn’t even notice I have been away all along and you just saw this blog post for the first time. Either way, I think I could summarise it all with a rather short sentence: things have been incredibly hectic as of late!

And like I have been mentioning in my twitterings over at @elsua, it looks like things are not going to change and become a bit quieter anymore, so I might as well take this opportunity to pick up my usual regular blogging and start writing again. Why? Gosh, I am sure there are plenty of various different reasons, but I will just start with the one that has helped me come back: lots of really good stuff out there to share along! I’m sorry, but I just can’t keep them all for myself any longer! That would be too selfish from my side, don’t you think? 😉

Over the last few weeks, I haven’t been blogging much, although I have been microblogging / microsharing quite extensively throughout all of that time. But at the same time I have been working on a good number of blogging drafts and at this point in time I think I may have gotten about 100 blog posts (Yes, you are reading it right! 100 blog entries!!) piled up just waiting to be finalised and published! Like I said, so many things going on that I just couldn’t help it anymore staying away from the blog for that long. So I am officially back after that long break, wanting to keep up with my usual regular blogging, hoping that we may be able to continue the conversations right where we left them and add a few more!

Thus what are some of the things that I plan to talk about over the course of the next few blog entries in the next couple of months? Well, a whole bunch of stuff for sure! To give you folks a little bit of an idea on what kind of topics I will be covering, here are some of the items I will be sharing my ¢2 about in no particular order, combining them all with some of the rather interesting and relevant stuff I keep bumping into on a regular basis. So, without much further ado, here is what’s coming up in elsua any time soon!:

  • Reports on my recent business trips: Yes, that’s right! Over the last few weeks I have been on the road for a few times, talking to customers about Social Computing within the Enterprise, Social Software Adoption, KM, Collaboration and a bunch of other subjects. So I will be talking about what I learned from those meetings as well as share a bunch of the slides that I have been using all along, now that IBM has got a new wonderful Slideshare channel waiting to be populated with some really cool stuff! hehe
  • Highlights from different conference events I have participated in: Yes, that’s right! I have been doing a bit of travelling as well presenting and attending various different conference events; so, as usual, I am planning on sharing some insights about each and everyone of those events I have participated in, hoping to share some of the major key learnings I have gone through so far. Thus I will be blogging about the recent IBM Software 2010 Congress, about the absolutely wonderful Enterprise 2.0 Summit that took place in Frankfurt in October as well; the IBM World Usability Day Webcast on the topic of The Social Workplace and the amazing Evento Blog 2010 that took place this past weekend in Seville. Lots of highlights to share from each and everyone of them altogether!
  • Highlights from different conference events I didn’t make eventually, but still rather interested in: Another round of blog posts will surely be dedicated to a good number of conference events that although I didn’t make it to any of them, because of other commitments, I was still rather interested in following up with them through the live tweets and extensive blogging coming along. So I will be sharing some further thoughts around the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara (Where some major news and announcements were shared altogether!); also about Defrag, the one event that I keep missing time and time again and that I shouldn’t! I know for sure I’ll eventually be making it! But it looked like not this time around …; as well as another event that I keep missing and probably shouldn’t either, specially this year with such an amazingly talented pool of rather insightful and thought-provoking speakers. Just as much as Defrag’s. Of course, I am talking about KMWorld 2010. Can you imagine Enterprise 2.0 and KM coming closer together and become one again?!?! Yes, that’s what I will be talking about, amongst several other interesting happenings in all of those events …

  • Holidays!:  Yay!! Of course, it’s that time of the year for me that I treasure quite a bit as it marks the beginning of my holiday season. So in October I took a couple of days off to visit mainland Spain and do a bit of a tour around to some amazing places like Toledo, Segovia or Aranjuez and in November I took a few days off to enjoy one of those breaks where one tries to unwind and disconnect from everything, which, I think, I succeeded big time! So for all of those various different blog posts that I will be sharing along I will be adding some of the pictures I took, I am still processing most of them, and which will become available shortly in my Flickr stream. Stay tuned for them, because some of them are breath-taking, really making me wish I was a better photographer to do all of those gorgeous places enough justice!

  • #elsuapps: Now that I am back to normal again I will be picking up this hash tag I have been using in Twitter, as well as in this blog, to share my favourite iPad apps that I have been using extensively all along and which I couldn’t live without, specially, now that iOS 4.2 is out! And at the same time I will be sharing a couple of blog posts on how the iPad itself and those apps have changed completely the way I use and interact with the Social Web, while I am on the road! I know a couple of you folks have been asking about it, so I am planning to share some more on that topic, so that you can see where I am coming from …

    At the same time, though, I will be picking up a new theme in this regard; as you may well know, just recently, I acquired an iPhone v4 and have consistently re-introduced myself to the wonderful world of the iPhone Apps that I used to have and which have tremendously improved the way I interact with my iPhone, making it all a whole new experience! So instead of just having iPad Apps, I will also be sharing iPhone Apps; all of them under the same hash tag: #elsuapps. So I am hoping other folks may be able to benefit from that activity as well as perhaps share their favourite picks for both of them! It should be quite good fun!

  • Podcasts: Indeed! Over the last few weeks I have been invited to participate in a good number of podcasting episodes, all of them to talk about Enterprise 2.0, Social Computing, Social Software Adoption, KM, Communities and Learning, so over the next few blog posts I will also be pointing folks to those various different episodes in case you may find them interesting / relevant. 
  • A World Without Email: Of course, I couldn’t forget about this one! How could I? Over the last couple of months I have been having plenty of folks asking me whether I have given up altogether on the whole experiment of living “A World Without Email” coming back from giving up on corporate email for good! The short answer is that I haven’t! I won’t! Ever. It’s here to stay with me for a long while. So I guess we are due, very much, one of those updates where I can share with you folks how things have been going so far and where I am heading with it, since we are approaching, fast and furious, my third year anniversary of having ditched work related email! Quick teasing note for those who may be wondering though … Yes, still going strong with a total reduction to 17 emails received per week, which is great news, specially, when coming back from vacation!

Plus a whole bunch of other stuff, too …! Yes, that’s right! All what I have shared above is just a small fraction of all of the subjects I would want to share in upcoming blog posts. I do realise it is going to keep me busy for a while now, but I think it would be worth it. I need it. I need to get out of my head all of the really cool and insightful stuff I have been exposed to all along and which I think is worth while sharing out there! However, I am going to try something new. You may remember how a while ago I opened up an account at Posterous (You can find it over here); well, I haven’t been doing a really good job at keeping up with it, mainly, because I started to grew the idea that I probably didn’t need it to share lots of other different things eventually… Well, a couple of months later, I think I’m ready to take it for a spin, for the third time, and see if it would work this time around!

Like I said, there are lots of stuff that I would want to share and get out of my text files in my local hard drive, as well as my brain, so that others may potentially benefit from it, so I am planning to make use of Posterous once again to share shorter blog posts, more on target, sharing the odd thought / idea on whatever the topic I am covering within the main themes that are also present in this blog. And at the same time that would also trigger me to write shorter, much more straight to the point blog entries over here, so that I can keep up with the pace of perhaps having multiple articles per day. Some of them will be short, some of them will be slightly longer and, not to worry, there would also be the odd rather lengthy one, like this one, for instance! 😀

Either way, the whole purpose is to try to catch up with that one month and a half of not seeing any posts coming through on to this blog. Yes, indeed, blogs are not dead! For certain! Not yet. At least, not this one! I am very much back and in full force, so it’s time to ramp up some more activity and get back on track catching up with all sorts of happenings! Which brings me on to the next topic … Why have I given the title “Imagine an Island and Then … Come Along! Welcome Back!“? to this article then, right?

Well, very easy, as you may have noticed, over the last few weeks I have been travelling quite a bit, both for work, as well as for some of my holidays, and all along when coming back home, I couldn’t think of anything better than a recent YouTube video clip of a rather popular TV programme, here in Spain, that kind of depicts quite nicely, the kind of place where I live: the Island of Gran Canaria. My home. And, in a way, my coming back to blogging, to this blog, is like coming back to the island, to my island, time and time again. So to give you folks an idea of what it feels like I thought I would close this Welcome Back! entry with the link to the video clip itself, so you can see what I mean. When I first watched through it, I got goose bumps. Big time! The second time that happens to me, actually, after the post I put together back in January this year on a rather similar clip… I am fortunatey, very fortunate…

Watch through the video and you will see what I mean:

Like I said, it’s good to be back! Thanks ever so much for sticking around and let’s do it! Let’s keep up with the conversations! Welcome! 🙂

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