Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SOCCNX 8 Invades Boston And I will be Speaking on Single Malt Vs. Blended

I expect a few vendors to order Magic 8-Balls (US people know what is, for everyone else see this page)

Logo Social Connections
For those who do not know, Social Connections (SOCCNX) has been running across Europe for the last few years and providing a different type of event. Not as much of a user group as an affinity group for people that want to be social and collaborative. The dates are April 16-17, 2015 in Boston. Register to attend if you have not already.

Ideally it represents IBM Connections and some derivative topics but also hits on user adoption, employee engagement and in my case, Single Malt vs. Blended.

Yes, I, along with a few other IBM Champions, IBMers and friends, will be presenting on a slightly different topic from last time, the official title is:
 "Single Malt vs. Blended - The Email vs. Status Update Game"

Based on the description someone submitted, I will be discussing the following:
In a perfect world, we would not be using email. Everyone would just leave status updates around like cigarette butts. Sorry, bad image? Now imagine that the 182.9 BILLION emails sent a day are in your social media status update “drawer”. Ick is right. So if Email is so bad for us, why do we use it? Shouldn’t we be doing something better with our lives? Listen not to just facts and numbers, but ways in which you can limit the abuse of email and free up more time in your day to get work done. Do not try this game at a bar, it will be very expensive.

LOCATION: Auditorium 1DATE: April 16, 2015TIME: 2:05 pm - 2:35 pm
Whether or not you think email, or status updates should win, the point was that we have a problem and we need to manage this now before it is too late.
This session has not yet been sponsored by a specific Scotch or Whisky, so if you work at a spirits company, or know someone that does, and wish to help brand this session, please let me know.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

6 Months? Has it Been that Long?

guinness the dogNot since I blogged, but since we left the US.

August 12th we picked up the family and the labrador and moved to Israel. And it has been the best thing we have done in years.

Many of my friends at the IBM event formerly known as Lotusphere in Orlando remarked how much happier I seemed, that I must be enjoying myself. The truth, of course, is not as rosy as Facebook posts, but there is much truth to it nonetheless.

keith brooks Jaffa
Life is different. You get used to creature comforts in the US that just do not exist in Israel. No Amazon Prime, Target, Walmart or similar customer service. And yes I did shop a bit to bring things back for everyone, but in general, I don’t expect to do it this way. Like adoption of a new product, you can’t just go cold turkey.

We gained nearly unlimited places to eat at, finally, and a bakery on every corner that makes our little city just smell awesome, even on rainy days. Fresh Danish or bread can’t be beat.

Admittedly my Hebrew is still not where I would like it to be, it is coming back to me. The kids are getting more integrated and surviving their trial by fire of classes in Hebrew. The dog, well, she just doesn't speak whatever language the local dogs speak. But there are cats and she is happy chasing them.

The pinball machine survived and is getting operated on to be converted to 240 from 110.

Our cost of living is about half of what it was in Boca. While my salary fluctuates based on the projects I work on, and please feel free to let me know if you need any help, we have been getting out to see things more over here. There is no shortage of sights, museums, caves, parks to see and experience. There are also distilleries, breweries and wineries waiting for us.

Our friends in Rehovot have been great and welcoming and we look forward to do the same for the next people to arrive in our neck of the woods.

beet picking leketstalactite cavebeit guvrin
Yes, we did go beet picking, on archaeological digs, spelunking through a stalactite cave, hang out by the ocean in Jaffa, go up to the North and look out on the Mediterranean and of course to Jerusalem and all that it offers.

chanuka at Tel Aviv Pier
More places to go and see and learn about, the list is very long. But there is also business. I have been going to various meetups, events, seminars from Google, IBM, RackSpace, SalesForce and others related to startups, founders, marketing and the travel industry. While I would like to do more work in Israel, IBM Verse will not do BiDi (BI-Directional languages) until 3 months after GA, this part of being here is the slowest. It takes time to get to know, and be known, by the people you are seeking to work with or consult.

And today I am at the FIRST Robotics competition in Ra'anana, will post more on that in a day or two. Third time as a Robot Inspector, first time doing it in Israel. Can't wait to see what the kids come up with for this year's event. (Panorama shot, click on the picture to see it in full)

After the show in Orlando I went to visit my family in Boca and saw some friends. Those I missed, sorry I could not be everywhere, but for those I did see, I’m not the Aliyah cheerleader. The same percentage of people that love Manhattan, or prefer the frozen tundra of upstate New York, are the same people that just feel more comfortable when in Israel. It is cult like, for sure, but then so is any religion, be it spiritual or based around a business solution.

If you have a chance to come over and visit Israel let me know. It is not all sand and desert. It is oranges and rosemary, industry and business, the cross roads between the new and the old world.


And we have Kosher Tim Tams. 
kosher timtams