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

Metablogging

Pep Talk – Who Moved My Cheese?

New York City - BroadwayOnce again, it’s been a little while now since my last blog post over here, and I am sure most of you folks may be wondering what have I been up to in the last couple of weeks, right?, specially, after returning from my last business trip to New York City on the week of February 11th. Well, if I were to tell you that loads of things have happened, that I have been embarking on a massive non-stop frenetic roller-coaster ride, some of which have had a significant direct impact on yours truly, you may not believe much of it, right? After all, it’s not the kind of thing that I usually get to talk about and share across over here. That’s about to change though. At least, this time around. I’m going to give you all a little bit of Pep Talk. And then we are going to talk about Who Moved My Cheese? Because someone just did that. 

Ok, I will leave the Pep Talk for a little bit later on … You know what happens when someone decides to move your cheese without telling you in advance, right?, that, when it hits you, it’s already probably too late. Lucky enough, I have always thought it is never too late. So when it, finally, happened to me a few weeks back, it was a good time to start that process of soulsearching that one embarks on once in a while and see where I will end up going. Judging from my close social networks somehow I sense that for everyone out there 2013 is going to be the year of Change (With a capital C). Well, for me, that soul-searching process is now over. And that week I spent in New York City surely has changed my life and in so many different ways that it’s going to be a bit too tough for me to relate it all over here. Yes, I know what you are thinking… How much more cryptic can one get when reflecting on all of this, right? I mean, can you just tell us what’s going on and why have you been absent from your external social networking activities for perhaps far too long? 

Hummm, in its due time. Not yet though. I am still not ready to share it along. Many years ago, nevertheless, I bumped into one key online principle I have lived by ever since that has been perhaps the most helpful piece of advice one can give to someone else who is just about to start participating in the digital world and the Social Web: never, ever, write anything online in a blog post, a tweet, or whatever else, when you are upset, angry, frustrated but also EXCITED or far too exhilarated about something. 

I guess that in the last month I have gone through both ends of the spectrum detailed above, which would explain why I haven’t written much online out there. Before my business trip to New York City I was on the very negative side of the spectrum and right after the NYC trip I was right at the opposite end. I guess that’s what one of the most amazing places on this planet can do to you over the course of a week, or, in my case, in 20 minutes. Yes, I know, here I am again, being rather cryptic, aren’t I? Sorry, it’s not intended, nor on purpose. I’m just trying to reflect on the fact that certain things and certain decisions usually taken within minutes can have quite a significant impact, one way or another. And probably the best option is to just take it as it is, re-think quite dearly your purpose, meaning and focus and go and start searching for that new cheese. 

Till you find it. And I did! And I am excited. Actually, I am incredibly excited, but, like I said, I am not ready to share it or talk about it out there, just yet. Still a bit too soon. Which is why I thought I would finish off this blog post letting you know that I’m back with my usual regular blogging schedule, now more intense and relevant than ever to the main themes from this blog all along, including Open Business, of course, and with a huge piece of news coming up soon that I am hoping will help explain why I have been relatively quiet out there on the Social Web. For most folks out there who know me somewhat it’s going to be a bit of a shock, for those of you, my dear friends, who know me personally, it’s going to be something I have been waiting for for the last 12 years and it’s finally here. Yes, I know, the suspense and the intrigue are killing you all right now, aren’t they?

Well, here’s the Pep Talk piece of this article then. Through one of my fellow IBM colleagues, who blogged about it internally, I bumped into this delightful short YouTube video, about Kid President sharing with us a little bit of a pep talk that I am sure we would all need to watch every now and then to remind us about what really matters. It’s one of those amazing inspirational video clips that would not leave you indifferent, to the point where it may help provoke that soul-searching activity you may have been parking on the sideway for far too long. In the context of what I have just shared above, it surely has for me, which is why I thought I would share the embedded code over here so that you folks would have an opportunity to watch and see what I mean about the video being one of the most motivational, hilarious, witty, relevant and smart discourses you will bump into out there. If not, judge for yourselves: 

Like I said, there is probably not much of a need to worry when someone decides to move your cheese without you not knowing anything about it; there is a great chance that change is good and perhaps this pep talk from Kid President will help you get back on track while you redefine your new purpose, your new focus and, specially, your potential new meaning to everything you do.

I want to be anyone that leads to … awesome”

(Yeah, me, too!)

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Blogging – Full Meals and Spanish Tapas

La Tabaiba - Estofado (Beef Stew)As I have mentioned on yesterday’s blog post, I have just started my next round of business travelling that will be keeping me busy for the next few weeks. Summer is over, indeed, and it’s time to get back to work, as if we ever left it, right? Anyway, this week I will be going to both Nice and Amsterdam to participate at a couple of IBM driven events on the topics of Social Business and Adoption of Social Technologies. I’m currently en route to Brussels though, where I will be spending a few hours hanging out at the airport. Yes, I know the joys and glamour of travelling, in general. I guess, over time, you get used to it and you move on. This time around though, I have been thinking, and for a little while now, that I’ll be making a much more conscious effort of keeping up with blogging over here, since last time around I went through a rather extensive hiatus that took me quite a bit to recover from and it didn’t feel good. At all. So here’s my attempt at keeping things up and starting off right from the first day I’m away from my home office. Let’s see how far I can take the whole concept of moblogging.

If you have been following this blog for a little while now I am sure you may have noticed how my blogging style is usually that one of writing relatively lengthy articles where I usually start off with an idea, then I dive into a whole bunch of research, start connecting with a bunch of other ideas and links to other blog entries, articles, news items, etc., see what sense I can make into it all and hopefully conclude with the same idea and what I learned from the whole process, giving an opportunity to learn as well from everyone’s thoughts about it on the comments, which is perhaps my favourite process from business blogging overall, because that’s usually when I get to learn the most out of the whole process of self-reflection and thinking out loud associated with blogging.

Basically, an introduction of the idea, development of the same idea with links and interesting references to similar ideas, and share a conclusion as a result of it that will hopefully trigger some kind of reaction out there, anywhere, any which place, at any given time. Then, as time allows and conversation(s) develop, time to dive back and respond to comments people leave adding their additional input into the conversation. I have been trying to tame that process for my blog posts all along, specially, in the area of keeping them shorter, following great examples like those of Seth Godin and Euan Semple, two of my favourite bloggers and essential reads of the day, who always hit the nail right on the head with sharp, brief, but equally thought provoking bursts of pure genius. And yet, time and time again, I keep failing. 

See? Like now, for instance. Point well made already, I guess. Either way, at some point I used to worry about it, thinking that people would not be really much interested in reading those lengthy blog articles, but, apparently, plenty of you folks out there do enjoy the reads, and keep coming back for more, leaving some absolutely delightful feedback comments. So I learned to live with it, accept it, embrace such blogging style, and do my very best in keeping up with those book-like chapters, as a bunch of you have suggested to me for a while already. Perhaps one day those blog chapters will turn themselves into full books, who knows. Well, for now, I’m willing to start a new experiment though and see how it would work.

La Tabaiba - CallosWith the excuse of being mobile with all of this business travelling coming up and therefore having less time to create proper lengthier blog posts I have decided to give it another try at putting together shorter blog entries, on the go, where I will just point to something that I may have found rather interesting, worth while referencing and instead of just linking to a bunch of other related ideas and trends of thought I will just leave it at that pointing folks to that single idea that trigger that initial reaction. Then, whenever both time and work would allow, I plan to keep up putting together those longer articles hoping to still do a bit of that deep thinking that I think we all need to go through every now and then, instead of snacking around. I guess it’s just like with food. Some times we do enjoy and treasure having some lovely tapas and some other times we just rejoice at the prospect of a rather nice full meal with friends where the conversation is just as good as the company, never mind the food! 

That’s it! That’s what I will be doing from now onwards. Worth a try, I can imagine. Perhaps this longer blog post helped me develop an idea that I have been having at the back of my mind for a while now and that I thought would be worth while sharing it across: make the connection between business blogging and food (Yes, I know, I guess that’s what #foodies do all the time, that is, associate everything with food! hehe) and consider that some blog entries would be like some of the gorgeous Spanish tapas I am sure you have had the treat of enjoying them any which place, any time and then some other blog entries as full meals where magic comes along in the shape of that absolutely brilliant conversation with friends, usually accompanied with good wine, or a after drink or two. Gran Canaria - Mojito 

I am sure that at this point in time you may be thinking that I could well be doing that through social networking sites like my two favourite ones: Google Plus and Twitter. And you may be right, but then again I also thought that perhaps it may well not be such a good idea. Initially, because while I’m on the road, participating in a good number of events, I will be doing quite a bit of extensive live tweeting at @elsuacon and, secondly, for Google Plus it may well be a bit too much, since I have just gotten started with a new initiative in there that I’ll be blogging about next and which I think would help me diversify my interactions a bit. But more on that shortly … 

I think it was my good friend, and KM mentor, Dave Snowden, the one who once commented about when talking about social computing and social networking interactions, and probably like everything else in life, one shouldn’t be putting together all of one’s eggs in a single basket, just in case, and I am guessing that’s essentially what I will be doing at this point, and, hopefully, from here onwards: blogging, Google Plus, Twitter, Flickr, etc. etc. will help me have multiple baskets where I can place those eggs without thinking I’m kind of missing out or something. Somehow, for a mobile knowledge (Web) worker I guess it could well work.

However, I think folks would also need to understand that some times nothing may just happen, too! Work can get in the way, actually, it’ll always try to do so! Real life conversations, right where my favourite social networking activities keep taking place, will still have priority and just seeing the whole bunch of colleagues, friends, and people I have treasured over the course of time whom I will be meeting up over the next few week … Like I said, there may be some times where, for a day or two, I will go quiet. Fear not, I’ll be coming back. It’s just that at this point in time I probably need to strike some more for something that I have been feeling I have lost a bit of touch with, perhaps due to the summer vacation, in the realm of the Social Web: balance.

Hope you folks would help me strike a good one keeping things going with this new experiment of combining social networking interactions with some blogging full meals & Spanish tapas, while I’m on the road for the next couple of months, so that we can keep up with those conversations, whether short or longer ones! And if there is a chance that we will be able to meet up face to face I shall be looking forward to go for a drink or two along the way! Reach out on the usual places and let’s make it happen!

Thanks ever so much, as usual, for sticking around! It’s greatly appreciated! Let’s do it! 😀

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One Moment Meditation

Tenerife - Mount Teide in the WinterHere we go again, already done with another one of those crazy, rather hectic and buzzing Mondays, and embarking on what promises to be quite an interesting and exciting week, as I am preparing for my next business trip, which, once again, is going to take me to two different cities in two different countries in the next few days. First to Antwerp, Belgium, to attend and present (On Being Social, as a panelist, and on #lawwe as a speaker) at the stunning BLUG event, where the agenda seems to be more impressive than ever; then, over the weekend, heading over to London, UK, where I will be staying till Wednesday, participating and presenting as well at Melcrum‘s fine Digital Communication Summit, as I will be talking about IBM’s journey towards becoming a social business sharing the experiences, lessons learned, hints & tips, and adoption techniques of our now 5 year old Social Software Adoption program called BlueIQ.

Phew! You can imagine it’s going to be a rather intense week (Another one of those!), where perhaps stress will make its presence more than once, and, just now, when thinking about it, I can sense it’s going to show up a few times eventually. Nothing new, really, right? I mean, in today’s current business world who doesn’t that have feeling that some times, and, hopefully, just some times, there are just so many things going on at the same time that even juggling with them to see how many balls remain on the air proves to be quite a challenge on its own.

My good friend Jacob Morgan captured, really nice, on a recent tweet, what the actual impact that stress is causing into the business world and although his tweet was just specific to the US, I can imagine how it would also be applicable in multiple other countries. If not judge for yourself:

 

Now, I can imagine that there would be plenty of various different things and activities you could do to help tame that stress and bring it back under control, since we all know that negative stress has never been rather helpful to one’s productivity and effectiveness. But yet, since we are all so busy doing multiple things and juggling with multiple projects, and whatever else, there is one key question that keeps popping up: Where do you get the time? You know, we are all so busy, we just don’t have it any more! We cannot even control it or have a little glimpse of what we are doing with it. It’s become the new economy. Along with Attention Management, of course, for that matter.

But what if we would have that opportunity to address, manage and tame that stress to reasonable levels with something so relatively simple as one minute? Yes, you are reading it right. One minute! Nothing more, nothing less! Who can’t afford a single minute going by here and there then to achieve that new goal of living a stress-free work life and get so much more done? I am sure you may be thinking that I am dreaming, once again, or that I have become a bit of a utopian. But what if it were possible? Would you do it? … I bet you would!

So allow me to introduce you to this absolutely delightful video clip of just over 5 minutes that will introduce you to the wonderful world of Meditation. In this case, One Moment Meditation by Martin Boroson. I bumped into this video late last week on my of my Google Plus circles and, of course, I just couldn’t help watching it through to see what it would be all about. And, I eventually, got to practice it!! Whoaahh. Really. And it works!!

There are lots and lots of things that I could say about the video, how incredibly inspiring it is and all, but once again, I am not going to spoil it for you folks and I am, instead, going to encourage you all to watch through the video, right as we speak, even if you are not stressed out, so that, when you are, you know exactly what you can do to avoid it and move on with your work. I tell you, I tried it out while going through it and I can certainly vouch for how effectively it works, to the point where it doesn’t feel like you are doing it, and, yet, you are and getting the best results! Just brilliant! And painless!

Again, you may not need it just now, or you may need it pretty drastically; the good thing is that after you watch it, it is just so easy to carry it on with you that no matter where you may well be, or what you will be doing, or what you will be working on, as soon as you notice that negative stress kicking in, it’s time then for that One Moment Meditation, and get back on track. Seriously, it’s that effective.

What do you think? Does One-Moment Meditation work out for you as well? Feel free to drop a quick comment or two and let us know whether it is working out for you or not, and if you have other tips and techniques to help tame that negative stress share them across as well. I bet we would all love to know about them!

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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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Why Do We Keep Insisting On Killing Productivity?

Gran Canaria - Up in the AirAs you may have noticed already, the last post that I put together over here in this blog was a bit over three weeks ago, so, once again, it looks like that quiet period is now over and it’s a good time again to resume my regular blogging activities. I know that plenty of folks out there may have thought that I have given up on blogging altogether, again!, after such a long time not writing much in it, but far from the truth! Coming back in full force and perhaps with a new direction for the blog as well, which I will explain in an upcoming new entry. However, I am sure you are all wondering what have I been up to then in the last few weeks, right?, and what prohibited me from coming back to the blog and keep up with the regular schedule. Well, how can I put it? Hummm, how about when a combination of business travelling, planned obsolescense, lack of consideration towards others’ own health, and @elsua v4.0 decided to kill my own productivity?

Indeed, in such pretty demanding times, where more and more is expected from us, knowledge workers, where we are continuously asked to produce more with less, where remaining effective, if not even more productive, has taken a new meaning for all of us, it seems like we are doing a pretty bad job at getting rid of productivity killers and help us get better at what we are already doing. And I am not just referring to the things we can do ourselves to avoid those productivity killers, since I am sure we all know how we could get rid of each and everyone of those!, but talking about those that have been inflicted upon us and for which we do have very little to do to overcome it; but perhaps now it’s a good time to get rid of the silliness of it all.

Cutting through the chase though, the main reasons why I haven’t been capable of resuming my regular blogging activities, as well as pretty much all of my external social networking interactions out there on the Social Web, and perhaps internally as well, has been due to 4 different productivity killers that apparently all decided to kick in at the same time, i.e. that period of three weeks!, and for which one has got very little to do about it all. Although, again, perhaps we need to start doing something about it. And here is why. Here are those productivity killers that I wish we would all know how to address them and get rid of them:

  • Business Travelling

After having seen, and experienced!, the future, as a result of a short visit to Helsinki, Finland, I am no longer too sure that I would be capable of putting up with being stuck at an airport, or in a hotel room, or at a conference venue, where the Internet connection is just not up to the standards of what one would expect to keep being productive. For example, on my way back home from Paris, after a wonderful Enterprise 2.0 Summit event, I was stuck for almost 5 hours in Barcelona airport, plus another 3 hours from Barcelona to Gran Canaria. And throughout all of that time I couldn’t manage to get a decent connection in order to do my job. That, right there, is already 8 hours of lost productivity! Yes, 8 hours that no-one is paying for!

Now, as most folks out there may have seen it for a long while, in a good number of European countries things are starting to become a bit dire, with regards to the financial crisis, high unemployment rates, lack of decent jobs, etc. etc. Our governments keep telling us that we need to go through these little sacrifices in order to make it. They keep telling us that we need to work more hours, increase our productivity and perhaps become more conscious of the time we spend at work. In short, they keep telling us we need to be more productive. Yet, time and time again, they keep neglecting and ignoring the fact that traditional work is no longer the vast majority of the knowledge work happening out there. It’s no longer a physical location, or a place, or having a set of tools. It’s actually a state of mind. Work happens around you, wherever you may well be, and with whatever the tools you may have at your disposal, whether it’s your laptop computer, your smartphone or your tablet.

Governments keep failing at understanding and embracing this new dynamic where for most of the road / air warriors out there work happens while we are on the move! On the train, on the plane, at a hotel room, at a conference venue, meeting up with customers, etc. etc. And when a whole bunch of us have made the transition into an always-on work environment relying on the cloud to deliver what we need, we just can’t afford failing at not having a decent connectivity. We just can’t be effective and productive enough if the external world doesn’t catch up with us! If governments would finally truly understand that. If they’d want us to be rather productive they need to help us stay connected, regardless of wherever we may well be! Now, you may be saying that I am a dreamer, asking and longing for such state of things for always-on work, the reality though is that I am not. Finland, and I would venture to state that for all of the Nordic countries, for that matter, keeps showing us, and leading!!, the way. And, let’s face it, it’s working! Look at they financial crisis in all of those nordic countries. See? Nothing. They just keep working! They may have other problems and other issues, but lack of productivity is no longer one of them. And I bet that pervasiveness of a strong broadband penetration has got a whole lot to do with it. So if they have managed to make it, why can’t we, the rest of Europe, follow suit? Couldn’t we learn something from them? Aren’t we all part of the EU after all? Shouldn’t we help each other raise our common stakes as productive European citizens? Something tells me we got a lot more to win than to lose, don’t you think?

  • Planned Obsolescence

But just as I was on my way home, when I arrived and turned my MacBook Air on, the unexpected, as usual, was about to happen. And again far too soon! Indeed, on the top left of my MBAir a funny rattling noise started to become more and more worrying and after some initial diagnostics I eventually found out the MBAir fan finally ceased to stop working. Oh, yes, MBAir machines *do* have fans as well. Oh, yes, MacBook Air machines are also very much trapped in this 20th century non-sense that we all know as Planned Obsolescence. I have been having this machine for a bit over a year now, exactly one month after the guarantee expired!, and bang! The fan is now history. After calling Apple Care, as well as the Apple Store where I bought it, it looked like it was going to take me quite some time to have it fixed and eventually returned back to me, and quite pricey, too! So, falling, once more, for that silliness of planned obsolescence, I decided to give myself a treat (Seeing a very special date coming up for yours truly, which I will mention shortly…) and purchase a new MacBook Air 13”, which is the machine I have been using in the last couple of days.

But it wasn’t the machine I originally got when I bought it. Somehow, at the shop where I bought it they mistakingly gave me the 128GB hard disk model, vs. the 256GB one, which is the one I wanted. And that basically meant that I had to go through 2 different installations over the course of one week in order to be up and running once again. And I did. I tell you, there is something out there on getting new shiny objects, but, more importantly, something that I have noticed myself over the course of the last few years as you get a new machine time and time again. Going minimalist. That’s right. Every new machine that I have been getting in the last few years I have gone one level deeper with regards to the amount of Applications, Software, Documents, Pictures, Files and what not I may have got on my machine to the point where minimalism has taken a new meaning for me. Yet, it was two different clean installs that I had to do over the course of a single week and that added, quite a lot, to the productivity drains I have been suffering from in the last few days, and those of you who may have done such recent move would probably confirm this as well.

The key question though that I keep coming up with is when is the world finally going to come to terms with waking up and making a successful transition into becoming a full, sustainable, circular economy and leave behind those economy models that not only keep getting us in trouble, as we have seen, witnessed and lived over the last 4 years, and still going strong!, but at the same time, they keep destroying the most precious gift given to us, human beings, next to our life: our planet. When are we going to get rid of that pernicious obsession with wanting to own stuff. What’s wrong with borrowing, lending, making good use of stuff you need and then letting it go, with learning to live just with what you need, not what people keep implanting in your brain that you need? When are we going to fully understand that the resources we have got around us are finite. And we, too, are finite. That one day, if we don’t change our mentality, and start living more meaningful, respectful, purposeful and sustainable lives, we would be the ones that need replacing, that our long awaited planned obsolescence is very much overdue and that Earth will dispose of us, just as much as we are doing of her at the moment. Yes, please, let’s stop, and get rid of!, the non-sense of planned obsolescence and help us keep productive with what we have for longer periods of time. Planet Earth would be a much better place to live in, for sure!

  • Lack of Consideration of Others’ Health

Ok, moving into the third productivity killer for yours truly in the last couple of weeks. This one, in particular, is the one where I am planning to become a lot more aggressive to try to address it on my own terms, since I think it can be done easily. If you have been following my internal and external social interactions, to the point where I may have shared across some of them, you may have noticed how last week, the entire week!, I have been recovering from a rather nasty flu that I got from a good friend of mine, who, apparently, was just recovering from a severe bronchitis himself and he thought things were back to normal. Well, they weren’t! Because that flu knocked me down the entire week like you wouldn’t believe it.

This winter season I have been having one cold and this one flu. So I guess it’s not too bad. The problem though is that, for me, this was the first time in my life that I had a flu, that I remember, that involved fever, muscle aches, apathy, strong headaches, and what not. And, as such, it required a whole lot more taking care of it and curing it than anything else than I can remember. And I am finding it a bit too ironic that I was in Helsinki with a whole lot harsher temperatures and extreme winter, followed by Paris cold weather as well, and eventually 3 weeks later, the lovely sunshine got me and knocked me down for the entire week!

But why am I using the heading over here as lack of consideration of others’ health? Well, mainly because if that friend of mine had decided to stay home for a few more days a bunch of his friends, me included, would have been spared from a rather miserable week. One were my own productivity suffered quite a bit, just as much as that one from other folks, too!, because of him not being considerate enough that while he may have been feeling better, he obviously was not well enough just yet, because some of us got the flu virus after being in close range with him, while celebrating a special event I will talk about shortly.

And this is what I meant that some times, specially, when you are not feeling well, but you feel you need to carry on with the world around you, it’s probably better for you to stay inside and spare that rest of the world some better times. I stayed home the entire whole week last week and will probably do so for most of this one as well. Sometimes it’s better to recover in isolation, getting well taken care of, than just being out there, trying to pretend like nothing is happening and bang! get everyone around you infected with the odd seasonal cold / flu. Believe me, the fact that we may not see you for a few days does not mean that we have forgotten you at all. Quite the opposite. The fact that you have helped us remember one of those unforgettable weeks of you dragging along all the way, surely is going to leave a mark, because I have come to the conclusion that if you can’t spare from your cold / flu, we may as well do it ourselves. So next time we meet up F2F and you tell me you are recovering from a cold, flu, or whatever else, don’t be surprised if I rather walk away from you, or ask you to stay away till you get better. No, I’m not being anti-social. I am just asking you to be aware that just because you are sick it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should be sick along with you. And since you don’t seem to be conscious / aware of it, we may as well do that for you. Not to worry, when you feel better, we will be paying for the drinks to celebrate your comeback!

Oh, and if you have got to go to the traditional office to do some work, you may want to think about it twice, as well. Last thing you would want to do is to knock down your entire business for a few days, dragging along, just because you decided not to stay home for that little longer. Some times, it’s worth it staying home. Remember, whether you are there or not, the business will continue. If you get everyone sick, that may be another matter. Spare them. Spare us, please.

  • @elsua v4.0

And, finally, the last of those productivity killers that has prohibited me from being much more active in the Social Streams out there in the last couple of weeks. But, not to worry, this is a fun one! One that although it takes a long while for me to admit, it’d only seem to be happening every 40 years! And the reason why it was a productivity drain was more than anything else because celebrating it meant being outdoors, more than indoors working along.

Yes, that’s right, as some of you have noticed in several other places, a bit over a week ago, I reached that lifetime milestone of 40 years of age. Or, as I decided to call it, I just became @elsua v4.0. As you can imagine there were lots of celebrations on the side for such achievement and, while I have got a blog post coming up on the topic, where I will reflect on a few things I have learned over the course of those 4 decades, I decided that since it’s just such a special lifetime achievement, and given the recent issues with that nasty flu, I’ll be celebrating it throughout the whole year! Here and there, and right in between! Why not, right? What are the chances of being 40 again, don’t you think?

Oh, yes, that, too! I can now then vehemently state how those younger generations making extensive use of social networking tools for both personal use as well as for business use, are actually not that young anymore. And how we may be much better off switching the discourse from that generational divide into embracing different working styles within the workplace. That’s what it is all about!

And, to conclude this rather long and extensive blog entry that will serve as me getting back to my regular blogging activities, I guess I’d summarise the main key learning from @elsua v4.0 throughout the last 40 years picking up on a superb mantra headline that my good friend Harold Jarche has been using for a long while and, which, to me, has taken a new meaning altogether just recently: Life in Perpetual Beta:

Be a Natural Enterprise (Slideshare link)

  • “Find the sweet spot: identify your gift, passion & purpose
  • Find the right partners
  • Research unmet needs
  • Imagine and innovate solutions
  • Continuously improvise
  • Act responsibly on principle”

Yes, indeed, it’s good to be back, sustainably productive and Hippie 2.0 once again! 😀

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I Think I May Have Just Experienced The Future…

Helsinki in the WinterAs I have just mentioned in my last blog entry, the last few days I have been embarked on my latest business trip, coinciding with a wonderful visit all around to Helsinki, Finland, where my good friends from IBM Finland invited me over to participate on the IBM CIO Forum event, with the rather innovative initiative of “Redefining Work 925“, and a couple of other events, and where, after being there for about three days, I think I may have just experienced the future… The future of a fully networked and interconnected world… Our world. And what it would look like altogether. And, yes, it’s much more exciting and brighter than whatever I could have ever imagined!

As a road / air warrior, I get to travel a fair bit and visit not just mainland Spain, but a bunch of other countries in Europe, and North America. I have yet to visit South America, continental Africa and Asia, although I know it will all come together eventually at some point, but if there is anything that Helsinki, Finland, has shown me in the last couple of days is that you can have more than a decent Internet connection, and for free!!, while you are carrying on with your work and personal life helping it become ever so much more engaged, participative and interconnected with the Social Web available out there!

In another blog post I will detail some of the highlights from my visit to Helsinki, what I learned and what plenty of other folks are doing out there in the area of Social Computing, but for now I just couldn’t help thinking about putting together this short blog entry to explain why my expectations on connecting to the Internet, for work, or personal stuff, will never be the same again after this business trip. And here is why…

Free Hotel Wi-Fi in Helsinki
That’s a snapshot of the free wi-fi connection at the hotel where I stayed those days in Helsinki. And this is the one from the free wi-fi connection at the Helsinki airport, which is even much more remarkable:
Free Wi-Fi at Helsinki Airport
For a good number of years I have always been complaining (Yes, I guess it’s complaining, because that’s probably what I have been doing all along…) about how poor the quality of wi-fi and Ethernet connections are in a good number of countries I have visited (US, Canada, Spain, France, UK, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Mexico, Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, etc. etc.) and on top of that how expensive it is for the quality of service that we get, even worse here in Spain, where the prices for ADSL, for instance, are some of the most expensive in Europe with the lowest bandwidth! And not just at hotels, conference venues, Internet kiosks, regular 3G connectivity, etc. etc., but also at our own homes! I was reaching the point of believing that we would have to get used to living through such poor quality standards of service with no remedy, waiting for our ISP providers to keep making big bucks while never delivering, and eventually give up on it all.
Here is another example. This week I am in Paris, to attend and moderate a couple of panels at the always enlightening and rather exciting Enterprise 2.0 Summit event and here is the current free wi-fi connection at the hotel I’m staying at, so that you folks can have a look into what it is like coming back to the harsh reality I have been exposed in the last few years:
Free Wi-Fi At Hotel In Paris
Ouch!! Well, see the difference? Maybe not! Maybe we should not get used to such poor quality standards on providing wi-fi connectivity, regardless of the venue. While In Helsinki, I certainly experienced the future. And it is just gorgeous and bright! It’s something that I never expected it would be quite shocking as it was, yet so rewarding and fulfilling. Have you ever heard about being empowered, as a human being, thanks to technology and the Internet, regardless of whatever you may be doing? Well, I experienced that! And so much more!
I met a bunch of wonderful friends over there, some of whom I have been wanting to meet up in real life for the last few years, like Esko Kilpi or Riitta Raesma; met other new friends like Saku Tuominen, Petra Sievenin, Harri Ohra-Aho, Marko Laukkanen or my fellow IBM colleague Ville Peltola, amongst several others (Too many to mention!!), who are working on some pretty amazing stuff related to the Social Enterprise field, yet for them that amazing pervasiveness of a fast and speedy Internet connection is a given. Well, perhaps it should be for us, too!
It was quite a liberating experience, to be honest, to be socialising in the true sense of the word, i.e. going to bars, restaurants, and whatever other hang-out places and find out that each and everyone of them had really good, decent, and FREE, Internet connections for their customers to enjoy while having conversations with your friends. Social, for me, while on the road, has taken a new meaning. One that I’m finding it hard to come to terms with it, because, usually, when I am travelling abroad, as soon as I leave Spain, I am in the dark, don’t have data, nor do I incur in the hugely expensive and abusive roaming charges that the European Union keeps doing nothing about to our mobile providers over the course of the years and it’s starting to become a rather frustrating experience.
Even more, when I suspect that Finland is not the only case where that pervasive Wi-Fi access and service have been phenomenal all along. Denmark would probably be also one of those exceptions at the same level as Finland in helping us all understand that things can be much different, once and for all! Like I experienced myself as well last Wednesday, while I was at the airport waiting for my connection to Helsinki and the free wi-fi was just as good!
Yes, I guess that expectations have risen to a new level for yours truly, with regards to what a Decent Internet Access would be like, specially, while on the road, since, after having experienced a new wonderful world of fast, quality connectivity, things will never be the same. In fact, I keep questioning myself with such an amazing connected experience with the Web how come there are so few Tech related conferences taking place in the Nordics? I don’t think it’s about the weather, although last week surely was quite another experience!, but I know, for sure!, that is definitely nothing to do with the availability and accessibility of Internet connection, because over there, it just rocks! And I just can’t wait to come back to experience the future once again, … And perhaps with a bit of nicer weather I may have moved over there altogether! 😉
For now though, here’s an interesting question I would want to put together out there for someone, whoever that may well be, to provide an answer to it, to close this blog post: What do we, human beings, need to do to get some Decent Internet Access over here in Western Europe? Where did we go wrong? Anyone care to venture an answer for that one? Clearly we do have leading examples like Finland or Denmark, so what’s stopping us from truly empowering us to fully live the Social Web the way it was meant to be all along for all of us: universal, pervasive, free access to information, knowledge, AND connections, i.e. the people? Is that just too scary? Anyone?
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