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

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria – Melonera’s Sunset

Today has been one of those days that, although there haven’t been too many meetings or conference calls, has been packed solid all along and without taking even a breath throughout! Phew! Yes, I know, one of those days. In particular there have been a couple of instances from different interactions, specially with tools!, that have been everything, but enjoyable (Including the fact that http://elsua.net has been down for some time earlier on today, still is a bit shaky, while I am checking things out with my Web hosting provider 🙁 ). So I am really glad that is now all over and here I am, once again, sharing that weekly blog post giving you a glimpse of what it is like living in this gorgeous island of Gran Canaria.

But this time around I am going to be mentioning something else that I thought was really really cool and that I was rather excited about. As you well know, on this weekly series of blog posts about Gran Canaria I have developed the tendency to share both some pictures and short video clips of various places that have impressed me all along from this island and way at the beginning I was actually making use of DailyMotion to store those videos, well, it looks like things are going to change from here onwards.

No, I am not talking about stopping with the sharing of those videos. On the contrary, I am going to keep it going stronger than ever. For sure. What I am really going to start doing is making good use of the wonderful new feature that the fine folks of Flickr have put together. Yes, video!!!  How awesome is that? Right next to the good bunch of pictures I have been sharing all along I will now be able to add Flickr videos as well and share them as part of the same flow. Love it!

Yes, yes, I know that most people have been indicating how sharing videos in Flickr is a little bit limiting, since you can only upload videos which are 90 seconds long, but I tell you what, that’s just more than enough for me! In fact, most of the video clips I am planning on sharing will be that length anyway, so it makes perfect sense to place them together next to the pictures, don’t you think? And for those video clips longer that 90 seconds? -You may be asking, right? Well, I will continue to make use of DailyMotion, of course!

So let’s get the ball rolling then! Earlier on today I went ahead and shared a couple of short video clips in Flickr in almost no time, with a very user friendly interface and along the same lines of flow you get with sharing pictures and they are both part from a single series I created from one special place in my heart that gives me shivers every time I get to go there.

The name of the place is called Meloneras and is just on the very south of the island of Gran Canaria. It is one of those emergent touristy spots in the area where you will be able to find some of the finest hotels from the south of the island. Definitely, a good place to stay. For sure. However, what it also has is one of those stunning everlasting boulevards that would allow you to take long long walks along the coast enjoying quite some marvelous sunsets, both in winter and summer time! The most spectacular ones are the ones happening during the winter time when the sun sets across the Atlantic ocean. Just brilliant!

The funny thing is that I happen to live about 7 to 10 minute drive from there, so I get to go every now and then with the dog and spend one hour or one hour an a half unwinding from everything else and enjoying just one of those special places that only when you get there you realise the kind of beauty you are contemplating. I tell you, very few things can get better than that! And if not judge for yourself with these two videos I shared earlier on:

What did I say? It kind of makes you think you would want to be there, right? Well, that is just how I felt myself earlier on today a couple of times while I was struggling with a couple of tools. Perhaps next time I should just leave it and enjoy another one of those unforgettable sunsets @ Meloneras!

Want to join me?

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Gran Canaria – Caldera de Bandama (The Dormant Volcano)

Continuing further with the series of blog posts I have started putting together a couple of weeks back on video clips and pictures I have been taking here in Gran Canaria, here I am again at it, this time around sharing a couple of short video clips I took with my Nokia N95, once again, from one of those places that, if anything, is just breathtaking. And I am probably too short with that description. Yes, I am talking about La Caldera de Bandama, up in the north of the island.

Here is a quick description of what you will find there:

"[…] a volcanic crater – 1000 m (3300 ft) in diameter and 200 m (660 ft) deep – with a 569 m (1,867 ft) high peak, the Pico de Bandama, to which you can drive up. This peak has an observation platform, from where – despite its relatively low height – you can enjoy breathtaking views of the entire north and east coast and towards the mountainous centre in the west. With a clear sky you might even get to see the neighbouring island Fuerteventura in the northeast."

If you would want to read some more about it, you can certainly go ahead and check out Centre Tour – Caldera de Bandama, which provides a quick, short description of what makes that place special. And once you are done with it, here are the couple of videos I have shared earlier on today where you can see how every now and then I get to go there, just to chill out and admire the work of nature. Like I said, stunning!!

Gran Canaria – Caldera de Bandama – Part I:

Gran Canaria – Caldera de Bandama – Part II:

(And worth while a visit if you are around… No doubt!)

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Gran Canaria – Roque Bentaiga (Up in the Mountains) – Part II

Today has been one of those days where I should have probably taken the day off, seeing how busy things have been going from one meeting to the other and from one conference call to the next. Yuk!! Not the best way to spend what was starting, early in the morning, as a very productive day. And all of that because of me being a bit lenient with how I process meetings and conference calls for the last few months. That would teach me for the next time!! Perhaps now that I have been reporting on a weekly basis how I am processing work related e-mail I should go ahead as well and share with you folks how I eventually get to work with my weekly meetings. Quite an interesting approach, I can tell you, but that would be the subject for another upcoming blog post.

As you can imagine, my brain has got very few brain cells working properly after such an intensive day of meetings and the usual catchup afterwards (Thank goodness for e-mails not being one of the things to catch up with! heh), so I decided to create this entry with some light blogging to pick up the subject I initiated nearly a week ago, and which I mentioned I would eventually get to share with you every now and then. Yes, I am talking about the weekly blog post on Gran Canaria, the place where I have lived for the last four years, the place that keeps captivating me day in day out. No exceptions!

If last week I created a blog post where I shared some footage from a couple of recent video clips I recorded with my super fine Nokia N95 (Glad to know as well I am not the only one who thinks it is a really good experience!), here I am at it again, sharing the third video I recorded while nearly the very top of Roque Bentaiga, but this time around from the other side of the enclave. With quite a view, I can assure you!

If there would be one single word that I could make use of to describe such amazingly beautiful spot it would be humbling. And very much so! It’s just like time disappears, it is just you, up there, in the mountains, with hardly anybody around, facing the rock, your inner thoughts, your fears, your hopes, yourself and nature. Yes, I know, it probably cannot get better than that!

It is in days like today that I wish I had taken the day off and head over there to spend the day and disconnect from everything! It would have helped quite a bit get a new perspective on most things and I know that when coming back that sensation of peace and quiet is something that would make you feel fully re-energised and ready to go back at it! That kind of experience is Roque Bentaiga, folks. One of my favourite places in Gran Canaria to meditate, to forget about the world, to stop, breathe, relax, breathe again, and go back at it!

And you know, the best part of it all is that it is incredibly easy to reach out and access with very good roads all the way before you reach the bottom and start climbing up to the top. Yes, one of those special landmarks that even the lazy ones in all of us with our sedentary lives cannot deny going for …

So, yes, light blogging today, folks, but after watching the video (Yes, I still need to get the hangout of operating with the video camera! Not to worry, it will get better overtime!), you would understand why I put together this entry to help me escape the day that is just about to finish …

And with that, and without much further ado, here is the weekly video:

Roque Bentaiga – Part III

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Gran Canaria – Roque Bentaiga (Up in the Mountains)

After being rather hectic the last couple of days, working on a couple of presentations for more upcoming conference events, plus my regular work duties, including meetings galore all over the place, here I am back again at the blog. This time around with something that I had the intention of blogging already beginning of the week but that Jerry BowlesSMT Blogger of the Week – Luis Suarez, the Blogger from Paradise displaced till I could find a better time for it. And that time is today!

As you may well remember, this past Monday, 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day, I was actually celebrating the fact that I have now been living and working remotely from one of the places I fell in love many many years ago and which I knew at some point I would be coming back. Yes, last Monday was my fourth anniversary of having moved to Gran Canaria! I guess that time flies when you are having fun, right?

Anyway, plenty of folks who have gotten to know me over the years, both in real life and virtually through the various social networks we share in common, have been wondering why I am just so crazy about this island. After all it is just plenty of sunshine and beaches all over the place, eh? Well, not exactly, there is just so much more!, that people don’t know about that, after being four years over here, I thought it would be a good time to change that perception a bit.

Yes, I know, what I am just about to announce over here in this blog may not have much to do, probably nothing, with the regular blogging activities I have been carrying out over here on topics like Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Communities, Social Computing or Enterprise 2.0 over the last few months. But I thought that after four years of having contemplated the idea, I guess it is just about time to announce that from now onwards, and, on a more or less regular basis, I am planning to share over here the odd blog post with various different references to some of the most emblematic natural spots that Gran Canaria has got to offer.

That way, you would have the opportunity to find out for yourselves why I have fallen in love with this island for its variety, amongst many many other things; after all, you don’t name such a tiny island a mini-continent for nothing, right? If you would remember, that is, if you have been a long time reader from this blog you would know how for a good number of weeks this new initiative I am trying to re-introduce again was an integral part of this blog and after a little while I stopped it for a few months. Well, now it is the time to bring it back. As a way to celebrate the four years I have been living over here and also as a way to show you what keeps me going and enjoying every minute of it.

So whenever the odd blog post on this subject would come up, I will be sharing rather a bunch of photos, probably from my Flickr stream, and / or some video footage with short clips of no longer than 2 minutes, 3 tops!, that I would be recording with my Nokia N95 and uploading it into my DailyMotion account from various different places that have captivated my heart all along and which over the course of the last few years have made me understand and comprehend some of the most impressive beauty of this island of Gran Canaria. Yes, I know, so much more than just sun & beaches!

And to get things started, here are a couple of short video clips I shoot a couple of months back, on a splendid sunny and warm day, where I decided to go to the countryside and up into the mountains to check out some of the stunning scenery you can ever imagine. The name of this place from the video clips is Roque Bentaiga, one of the most emblematic, beautiful and stunning natural spots from the entire island and one that as you come closer to it you can sense how magical the place is on its own! Just as I get to write this down I get goose bumps all over the place from thinking that a few weeks back I was nearly at the very top! And here is why:

Thus I hope you enjoy this new section, here in my blog, I am planning on updating every now and then sharing with you all some of the reasons why I may have been living over here for over four years, but I still love every minute of it and as time goes by, and I get a chance to share some more pictures and video clips, I am hoping to be sharing some of the charms that this island of Gran Canaria has got to offer!

Are you ready? 😉

(No, not to worry, I am not abandoning the creation of blog posts on the major themes from this blog that you folks have been familiar with all along. I am just sharing with you all some of the reasons of why I am where I am and enjoying it a great deal!, so that, hey, you never know, whenever you may be coming this way you know some of the cool places you could check out! Consider me as your virtual touring guide from this precious mini-continent island!)

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SMT Blogger of the Week – Luis Suarez, The Blogger from Paradise

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!, to all of those folks who may be celebrating it today! I know that for plenty of the people who get to read this blog, today is a special day with plenty of things to celebrate and enjoy throughout. Well, you are not alone. I am, too! A day like today, 17th of March, back in 2004, my life, both on a work and personal levels, changed drastically! I came to live and work remotely to Gran Canaria, the place I once fell in love with about 12 years ago! Yes, that is right! Today is my fourth anniversary enjoying quite a unique situation: The Blogger from Paradise.

It is funny! Earlier on this morning, I had the intention of sharing with you folks something new I was going to re-introduce into this blog, as a way to celebrate these four years I have been living over here fully engaging with social software both inside and outside of the corporate firewall, and lo and behold, there I was having to postpone it for a few more hours, as I got alerted about something that I thought would be worth while sharing as well as part of such important celebration as today’s.

Yesterday late afternoon, I got contacted, through Skype, by Jerry Bowles, Co-founder and CEO from the Social Media Today collective, and he kindly asked me whether I would want to do an IM interview with him detailing some more about my role within IBM as a social computing evangelist as well as sharing some further thoughts on the impact that social software is having not only within IBM, but also with its various employees, like myself. Of course, I just couldn’t resist such an interesting offer and the result of it is SMT Blogger of the Week – Luis Suarez, The Blogger in Paradise.

In that particular article you would be able to read our Skype IM conversation on what kind of impact social networking has been having with myself and my various interactions with other knowledge workers, including my own boss, Gina Poole, who still keeps actively engaged with the internal blogosphere. Quite an interesting read, which clearly indicates how things are shifting within the corporate world, where employees may not longer be stranded in a fixed office in a traditional work location. On the contrary, with today’s pervasiveness of social computing along with the high penetration levels of broadband Internet connectivity, knowledge workers may be having the unique opportunity to decide where they would like to be working as their most motivating space to deliver on the job day in day out for an extended period of time!

Now, I am sure that everyone would understand that there are various different circumstances on how various knowledge workers get to interact with other colleagues, customers or business partners, but it is also very accurate to think that the traditional restrictions we once had about having to work from a fixed office work location may no longer be relevant in today’s distributed world. Such is the impact that social software is having amongst our current workforce where over 42% of the total population is now mobile; and I am surely glad to be one of those very very lucky guys who has got his dream job within such a large enterprise. And in Paradise.

Many people keep asking me what is the main business value from social software, and all along I have been saying something that certainly resonates with plenty of other folks out there as well. I am sure. In my own case, the main business value I am getting through social computing is the fact that the last three jobs I have had, have actually been given to me because of my corporate blogging activities, amongst several other tasks related to social networking. So, for those folks out there who may be thinking that that there isn’t value in social software, they ma need to think about it, because throughout my own experiences you can see that the impact can be tremendous, to say the least!!

What a great way to celebrate four years of coming to the place where I feel like home. Always have. Always will. And get to work on what I am really passionate about at the same time: Social Computing, Community Building and Knowledge Sharing! The picture shared below is just one of the thousands and thousands of reasons why I fell in love with the island four years ago and still am, just like in the first day …

Roque Bentaiga

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BlueFunk – Extreme Skydiving – Flying Down Swiss “Virgin”

First day at work today, after having enjoyed a wonderful week, last week, in Zürich, presenting at a couple of events and with various different meetings talking about social computing and social software, and one of the things that I keep thinking about, and reflecting some more, is the beauty of face to face social networking activities I experienced. Nothing like the human touch to nurture and work through your relationships to help improve your social capital!

As you can imagine, I had a fantastic week over there and I am surely looking forward to coming back, specially to meet up again some of the great folks I got introduced to during the course of the week. Even though they may all well be a little bit crazy! Yes, you are reading it right. Crazy!!! And if not judge for yourself…

Folks, meet Daniel Saeuberli, Collaboration, Messaging & Portals at IBM Switzerland, and Urs Schollenberger, Manager of Lotus Sales & PLM Switzerland! Two of the hosts I had while I was there for the entire week and who went further and beyond their call of duty to make my stay incredibly comfortable having every single thing sorted out for me and nothing to worry about! Just two wonderful people, to be honest! If you ever get a chance to bump into either of them, go and stop them and talk with them. You will learn a thing or two, I am sure! I did!

One of the many things I learnt was how Daniel is, like someone I know would say, a little bit crazy! Yes, folks, meet Daniel in his spare time. Here is his Facebook profile to give you a hint on what he enjoys the most. It is not playing cards, believe me! Yes, that is right, Daniel is into skydiving, but not the usual skydiving that we are all used to and everything with people jumping off with their parachutes.

Daniel takes it to the extreme and, my goodness, does that word get a new meaning when he is around!! Check this out. Have a look into this video clip placed in YouTube of just a little bit under 7 minutes, where you can see him in action:

WOW! You may be thinking, right? Well, yes, so was I!! Daniel is the one doing all the shooting with the video camera while heading down at an incredible speed, in the middle of the mountains, with plenty of snow and rather cold, I can imagine, and still having a superb time! I still remember the conversation we had last week where he explained how it all got started for him. Purely fascinating!! (And I would fall short in describing how it felt back then!)

Not to worry, I am not going to jumping any time soon, although he tried to convinced me over a drink or two, but just watching over the video you can see what kind of passion drives Daniel and his team to do what he gets to do on a rather regular basis. I think it is just remarkable that out of his already pretty busy and tight schedule he still gets to do stuff like that!!

And they are looking for sponsors for their extreme skydives!! Can you imagine? Having your product or logo flying around in such a stunning scenery going at an incredible speed and recording it all while going down? Ha! Talking about viral marketing, folks!! Nothing compared to that, I am sure.

I tell you, it was a real pleasure meeting both Daniel and Urs, and a whole bunch of other folks while in there. But it was some serious fun as well get to know what these folks get to do, and I mean not just the business person, but the complete person. With their craziness and fascination for skydiving, errr, I mean extreme skydiving!!

Oh, and guess what? Some of his good friends, who are also doing lots of skydiving, actually hang around in a place, which is just about 10 minutes from where I live! In fact, I actually get to see them every single Sunday whenever I go to the beach! Small world, eh? heh Amazing!!

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