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


Planeta Canarias – Following the Sad News

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If you would want to follow some more of the tragedy we are going through at the moment, check out the following resources live:

La Provincia

And, specially Planeta Canarias, where a whole bunch of us bloggers are sharing our first impressions of this unforgetable dramatic event!

PS. And, of course, I will be twittering some of my experiences about the whole, unprecedented, event. Stay tuned for more updates…

Oh, and for those folks who have shown their interest and further support a quick word to just simply say “Thanks!” for the concerns and for the support. It is greatly appreciated. I am doing fine for the time being, although it is incredibly impressive to see the fire in the horizon from the several mountains that surround the place I live in, down South of the island!

Update – 3:00 am 31st of July: Here are some more links covering the news on how the fires spread around the South-West of the island into what has been flagged already as the worst catastrophe in history (Of the island, that is):

Wildfires in Gran Canaria
Spain arrests forest ranger who confessed to setting blaze in Canary Islands
Algo se quema
Incendios en Canarias via satélite
Arde Gran Canaria
El fuego arrasa Palmitos Park y el hotel aledaño
Hace fuego
En llamas
Palabra del lector
Have fuego
Vecinos de Fataga y Tunte se niegan a evacuar sus casas, mientras que el próximo núcleo podría ser El Salobre (El Salobre being the village next to the one where I currently live in, El Tablero)

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Dramatic Weekend in Gran Canaria

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I know that this weblog post is very much off topic, and you would have to excuse me for it, but if there are ever pictures out there that would be worth while 1,000 words, the following set would be those that would provide you with a intensive sense of drama, if not tragedy. For all of us:

My dearest paradise is burning and it hurts. It truly hurts…

(Pictures courtesy from JrGMontero, rvr, elesar1)

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Knowledge Management – Where Are the Bees?

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As I have just mentioned in a previous weblog post, this article is a follow up from the one I have shared earlier on, detailing some of the highlights from the trip to Somers, NY, to attend IBM‘s Collaboration 2.0 conference event that took place last week. It is another story. And probably a little bit longer than expected, this time around from something that happened on my way to JFK from Madrid and which I will remember for years to come! That is how inspirational it was, indeed. Read on…

To begin with, things got off to a lovely start when I was seated by the emergency exit. Lots of room and space to open up my notebook and do some serious catchup on stuff I have meant to read for quite some time now. Nice! Next to me, a gentleman in the mid-50s, perhaps, very quiet and very familiar with being on a plane. Very good!

We took off and, like it usually happens, specially in those long flights where you are going to be stuck for several endless hours, my next-seat neighbour and myself started up some casual conversation, probably, as a result of both of us wanting to be polite to one another. Remember, being stuck on a seat for 7 hours and 45 minutes is not that very pleasant, is it? Even more if you are travelling on economy.

Anyway. "What do you do for a living?" – He asked. "Me? Well, I work with computers" (Yes, I know, I always start with that one liner. I guess I don’t want to put people off right away saying that I do Knowledge Management. In the past, more than once, I got weird looks from people when I used to say that, so initially I tend to leave it as vague as I can). "How about you?" -I continued. "I am a beekeeper" -he replied.

WOW! "That surely is interesting! So, you really are a beekeeper, eh?" -I commented back, to which he replied he surely was. All of his life, after having learned the job from his father and his grand-father. Goodness! How cool is that? I got to sit next to someone who has been doing something that I have found truly fascinating for a number of years, but that I never got around finding out some more about it, specially given the recent news about those lovely creatures disappearing in the millions out of the blue in several countries. And growing…

Of course, he right away got my full attention and I think he enjoyed it as well getting all of my attention, while we embarked in one of the most incredible conversations I can remember about one subject that surely I didn’t know anything about, but he had enough patience to explain to me all of the inside-outs of how it actually works. Yes, indeed, fascinating is the word that would certainly describe most of what I have learned during that conversation. Too much to describe it over here, I am sure. Perhaps at some other time. Here is though a link to an article (Spanish-only, unfortunately) that would provide you some more background on the nature of some of the conversations we had.

So after a couple of hours of conversations I asked him why he was always travelling so much to various different countries all over the world and he basically mentioned that he is the president of a local cooperative of beekeepers in Extremadura, who tries to keep things organised and under control, so he gets to travel quite a bit to learn from what other beekeepers in other countries are doing and then share that information with other members of his cooperative. And I went and thought … WHAT?!?!?! Why is it that you do it again?

Well, according to him (Paraphrasing his words, of course), he is part of a community of folks, i.e. the cooperative, with a common and shared mission and a set of goals (i.e. Earn their living as beekeepers), who work collaboratively in getting the job done while contributing to the well being of the environment and he gets to travel to all of those different countries to meet up with other beekeepers -from other communities- so that he can learn, exchange knowledge and collaborate with them into fixing some of the different key issues they face (i.e. Disappearance of the bees, for instance, amongst others), so that when he comes back he gets together with his community and transfers all of that knowledge to his colleagues so that they also acquire that same knowledge and therefore are able to do their jobs better, while contributing to fixing a global problem, locally.

And I went … Whoooaahhhh!!! My goodness! He basically just described my daily job as a Knowledge Manager supporting global communities to empower them to share their knowledge and collaborate with others in order to fix whatever issues they may be facing. Pure KM in very very simple terms. How incredible is that? While we are all focused on trying to find out the killer definition for KM, here we go with this travel-mate of mine describing exactly what it is all about in very simple, yet very effective, terms and without causing a single doubt about it.

When I told him that was exactly the same kind of thing I tend to do on a daily basis but in the IT industry (In computers, that is), he right away got it and we came into the equally rewarding second part of our conversations: the impact of technology in our day to day life, and how excited he was about having access to something so vast, so resourceful and so insightful as the Internet, where he could share information with others while reading through those resources that mattered to him the most and, as a result, become a much better informed individual trying to get the job done while collaboratively working with other members of his community. There I was, sitting next to someone who loved being on the Internet, reading stuff about beekeeping, exchanging e-mails with useful and relevant information, listening to his iPod, travelling with his notebook all over the place, in short, making the best out of what IT had to offer him. And that in his mid-50s! Just brilliant!!!

In the end, and for the first time in years, we actually spent the entire 7 hours and 45 minutes talking about a huge amount of topics that made the trip not only quite enjoyable, but one of those life-enriching experiences that would remain with me for years to come! Remember when I blogged about my meetup with Denham Grey (One of the most relevant KM thought leaders) in Cincinnati last year? This one highlight was just as good, if not even more! So much so that we actually forgot to exchange business cards, or e-mail addresses or simply our names!

Yes, I know it happens. But thank goodness for Google, because thanks to some of the conversations we had I found out that the cooperative’s name is Apihurdes and the name of the gentleman I had some really great conversations with was someone called Anastasio Marcos. And look what he is up to now (Link in Spanish, but basically a consortium).

(What a great pleasure, Anastasio! And I do hope to see you soon at some point! Best of luck in your new adventure!)

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There Is Still Hope Out There …

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I meant to write this particular weblog post last Monday as part of some of the different highlights from having attended IBM‘s Academy of Technology Collaboration 2.0 conference event in Somers, NY, the week before. But given the recent problems I have been having with my Internet connection I haven’t been able to do so till now. Thank goodness it is still very much fresh in my memories, because it certainly was an incredible experience. And the funny part is that it doesn’t have anything to do with the event itself, but with the experience of getting to Somers itself. The conference itself was just awesome, but what I am about to share with you folks is even better than that.

It is a little bit of a story. Actually two of them, thus I am going to split up this weblog entry in two parts. You may want to go and grab a cup of coffee (Or tea) and make yourself comfortable, because I am sure you are going to like both of them just as much as I enjoyed it while going through them. It all starts with the two flights I had to take to get to New York. The first one from Las Palmas airport to Madrid was just … charming. The second flight story I will leave it for a follow up weblog entry for later on …

There I was, sitting on the chair waiting for the flight to take off when a lovely and cute girl of, say, 10 to 12 years old, perhaps with some hearing problems, I noticed, sits on the same row as myself, by the window. I am on the aisle. We are both travelling alone. We chatted for a little bit, while the plane was ready to take off, and we both got down to our little things. I kept reading a book (More on that one later), and she just took out her small pink diary and started writing stuff on it.

I am thinking, hey, she is writing in her diary about … stuff. Cool! I do that myself, too, but online, in my Internet blog(s) heh. I tell you, that scene was just adorable. There I was, sitting next to a young girl who was very concentrated on putting together her thoughts in her diary about her experiences, whatever those may have been at the time. She looked very keen on the whole effort, and I just thought it would have been incredibly delightful to have taken a picture of her in such stage of concentration to remind me / us al of how it all started, blogging, that is, when we may lose our inspiration to keep writing about the stuff we are passionate about.

The whole experience was just fantastic! We kept talking every now and then till the plane got to Madrid. And every so often she would go ahead, open up her diary and write a few notes. I tell you, if I would have had my digital camera I would have asked her if I could take a picture of her while she was writing. Alas, it was packed away in the suitcase, so I couldn’t. Pity. But one thing for sure is that, as I get to write these different weblog entries, I keep getting back to those precious moments and how a young girl of 10 – 12 years kept her diary alive when she could have been doing something less profound, while the flight was on its way to Madrid. You know what I mean. Still, there she was. Concentrated, writing away her own thoughts on her own experiences and looking forward to meet her parents once again.

Just awesome! That is just one of the main reasons why I still enjoy travelling quite a bit. Don’t you think? What a brilliant way to get things going with a trip to one of those conference events that I was looking forward to all along for the last couple of years. It all felt incredibly re-energising and I do hope that at some point in time she would have not only her own private (offline) diary, but a lovely open weblog that she keeps updating every now and then. Next time I bump into her, I will ask her…

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Back from Paris after Attending IBM’s 2007 Technical Leadeship Exchange – What an Experience!

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Oh dear, where did that week go again? Goodness, I cannot believe that today is my first day back at work after having spent a fantastic week attending IBM‘s Technical Leadership Exchange conference event in Euro Disney, Paris, and then enjoying four wonderful days in lovely Paris doing a bit of sightseeing here and there! I know that I mentioned back then, before starting my trip, that I would be doing some more weblogging about the APQC KM & Innovation event and also about some of the stuff I have been exposed to during the course of the IBM event last week. But alas my network connectivity had other plans for me, errr, I mean, for us.

Euro Disney is probably not the best place to try to get 2,200 IBM folks connecting to the Internet through free wireless at the same time with their Thinkpads while getting started with the event itself. Of course, it crashed the network. And for four days! Ouch! That hurt! And quite a lot! So what I was planning on doing , i.e. weblogging a few times during the course of that week, actually never happened. It just wasn’t doable.

And, what is worse, the paid wireless fees were not the cheapest I have seen in a long while! So I didn’t get connected at all. I have been happily making use of my N95 for the very basic Internet stuff (a.k.a. twittering away all along!), but for weblogging further thoughts and insights on what was going on in my mind back then it was not what I expected / wanted. Thus my regular weblogging activities went dead for a few days to the point where I didn’t even get a chance to reply to most of the comments that folks have been sharing all along with some very interesting thoughts altogether! Yes, that is right! Very disappointed!

And then Thursday afternoon, I went downtown to Paris (Close to Rue de Rivoli) to enjoy a lovely long weekend till Monday evening when I got back. And that time around the everlasting battle between the work – life balance was actually won by life, of course! It is Paris, after all, don’t you think? I just couldn’t get down to weblogging when there were so many cool things to check out since last time I was there about five years ago!

That is why I didn’t get a chance to weblog much while I was enjoying that long weekend break in Paris. There is always something to do, something to check, something to see, someone to meet up with, lots and lots of interesting food to try out (I went out every single day for lunch and dinner and throughout all those times I only had French food once! The rest was Thai, Indian -twice-, Chinese -DIM SUM-, Tibetan, and so on. Loved it!) and the list goes on and on and on! Phew! I met a whole bunch of people with whom I have been connecting already on the Web through our social networks, so it was really nice to be able to put a face to a name, a voice, a blog post, you name it. As the time goes by, I will certainly share some further thoughts about this, because, as usual, it was one of the major highlights from the entire week!

Yes, that is right. I am now back, for the first time in years my mail inbox is now empty! Yeah, sorry, had to say it … EMPTY! and I am now on a massive catch up mode with the several thousand RSS feeds waiting for me to scan through and check out what most of you have been doing while I have been away. The fun continues, indeed, but I think I am going to cut this weblog entry short right here and just point out to you some of the different Flickr pictures I have already started uploading into my Flickr account. Some of which you can already see through this post to give you a sense of what I went through in that lovely long holiday break !

Oh, and if you are looking for pictures of the IBM TLE event I must say that I didn’t take any since I thought that plenty of other folks would. And, indeed, Roo Reynolds, who I finally got to talk to after hanging out together in Web 2.0 for probably too long!, Michael Coleman, another fellow IBMer who is all into KM, collaboration, community building, innovation and social computing, and Andrew Webb, who I have been in contact with quite a lot as well as we also seem to be sharing a bunch of common interests around the world of social computing, have been sharing a whole bunch of them to get you going.

For the rest, let me finish off this post sharing with you folks that my regular weblogging activities will resume shortly… It is good to be back!

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Happy Earth Day y Las Cosas Pequeñas

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Si el viernes pasado había comentado como lo que realmente importa son las cosas pequeñas, aquí os dejo un par de vídeos para celebrar el Día de la Madre Tierra (Happy Earth Day!) y demostrar cómo tampoco hay que hacer grandes alardes de nada para mantener el respeto con aquella madre que nos mantiene y que nos hace seguir adelante día a día sin pedir mucho a cambio. Quizá un poco de respeto y afecto para con ella. Tampoco es tanto, ¿verdad?

Pues aquí os dejo unos vídeos que, como veréis, tienen mucho que ver con las celebraciones de hoy sobre el Día de la Tierra. Los tres basados en una misma canción de Macaco que, seguro, a estas alturas, habréis escuchado en varias ocasiones y que se titula Mama Tierra. La canción no está nada pero que nada mal, bastante pegadiza, pero el mensaje que trata de dar no tiene ningún desperdicio tampoco y ¡ojalá! que cada uno de nosotros nos diéramos cuenta realmente de que tratarla bien es algo que está a nuestro propio alcance y si no escuchad la canción, disfrutad de los vídeos y ya me contaréis:

Versión corta de Cuatro:

Versión original en acústico:

Y, por último, ¿quién dijo que los jóvenes de hoy en día no están utilizando las nuevas tecnologías para compartir sus vídeos con mensajes tan claros, sencillos y a la vez tan contundentes como éste:

En fin, lo dicho, Feliz Día de la Tierra, Mama Tierra!

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