Friday, April 18, 2008


Hail fellow well met

I had the pleasure, last night, to meet in person for the first time an IBM colleague who I’ve known electronically, networkly, for about three years. His name is Luis Suarez Rodriguez, his external blog is ELSUA, and he’s in town for the week for a Web 2.0 symposium hosted at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center. I actually stopped in on the symposium on Wednesday morning and caught a few of the plenary presentations, but I didn’t have a chance to seek anyone out then.

The first thing I noticed when I collected him at his hotel... well, the first thing I noticed was his ready smile and easy friendliness, but that was no surprise — it’s consistent with his online personality, and I was expecting it. But the first thing I noticed after that was his interesting accent. He’s a native Spaniard who’d been living in the Netherlands for some years before moving to the Canary Islands (and he still reports in through IBM Netherlands), and the accent to his English is more Dutch with some Spanish thrown in, rather than mostly Spanish, as I’d anticipated.

And yes, the Canary Islands — Luis has lived on Gran Canaria for the last four years, working remotely. Quite remotely. And he loves it. I think it would bother me not to have the option of being face to face with anyone I work with without getting in a plane. It doesn’t bother Luis, and he has no plans to leave las Islas Canarias any time in the foreseeable future.

We had some great conversation — about things IBM, about the Canary Islands, about politics and law, about beaches and mountains, about the relative climates of various places (who knew that a typical summer in New York is hotter and less pleasant than one in the Canaries?).

It’s always nice to meet someone in person after having known them on the Internet, and this was no exception; I had a delightful time.

Check out Luis’s blog, and see what he has to say about Web 2.0, knowledge management, online collaboration, social computing, and related topics. Check out his reports of his recent experiment: to stop using email for work, replacing it with other social networking mechanisms (starting here, with a first report here and his most recent comments here). And enjoy the great photos he posts of his cluster of volcanic rocks off the coast of Africa.

Update, 30 June: Hey, Luis is in the Times. The comments don’t agree much with him, but Luis got the last word, in the last two comments.

1 comment:

Luis Suarez said...

Hi Barry! WOW!!! What a lovely write-up, indeed! I am flattered and must say that the pleasure was ALL mine! What a wonderful time we had. I thoroughly enjoyed and glad you did, too! Really good stuff! I know that it will not be the last time we meet, so that we can carry on with those conversations we had during dinner. Very interesting since I learned a whole lot more about politics from you than in recent years of all of this reading! Fascinating!!

So you know now, whenever you would want to come over, know that you have got a good friend over here and a place called "Home"! I will keep things going over here hoping to share some of those stunning pictures you mentioned you enjoy time and time again. Thanks for that, by the way!

Oh, and you would want to know how I have been talking to Julietta over the last few hours and she is considering moving over here... I told her I would be sending out some info across as things are looking good. So you see? Now you would have two good reasons to come over some time!

Take care and thanks for being who you are! Don't change, please!! :)