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October 17 2008

I realize it's been mostly radio silence here during my travels this week.  It can be summed up in a short comment I made to Maja Kumme, Director for Lotus here in Germany, last night.  She asked me if I get any opportunities during my travel to enjoy, or at least experience, the places I'm visiting.  As those of you who have followed me here for years know, I will do anything to add some local texture when I travel, even if it means no sleep or strange logistics.  

This week's trip is like that, but with the added magnitude of it being week two of the new job.  The 90 minutes I spent with seven long-time IBM business partners in conference yesterday in Frankfurt could no longer simply be "those are good ideas... I'll see if someone can act on them."  Not all of the topics were mine, but many were, and I'm learning very quickly how the new job (combined with prior track record) confers new expectations.  I'm very open to those ideas coming my way -- and you should keep them coming -- but "Rome wasn't built in a day", and it will take time to make things happen.  I can't -- and don't want to -- change everything.

Meanwhile, I had a few opportunities to enhance my travel with local experience these three days in Europe.  Last night, several business partners and IBMers had an amazing dinner at "M" restaurant in Wiesbaden.  The private dining room there felt like we were in someone's home -- and with as long as I have known people like Felix, Otto, Henry, and Marco, it was very apropos.  Today was literally in someone's home -- I had dinner with Volker and Ute, and three hours simply flew by quickly as we caught up face to face.  I am sure we could have talked much longer...but having driven today to Luxembourg and back (with a top speed of 212 km/h, or about 130 MPH....not sustained, but consistently I was enjoying speeds of 160-170 km/h on the sections of the Autobahn without speed limits), it is time to rest before the flight home to Chicago in the morning.

One thing I absolutely do not plan to give up in the new job is living life to its fullest.  Yesterday, I accepted the invitation to return to Germany for my (lucky) 21st visit in Februrary, for the edcom nachlese (Lotusphere Comes to You) in Munich and the Lotusphere Comes to You in Dusseldorf.  I'm not sure it can beat the last time...but then again, I did get to one click faster on the speedometer today than that trip.  Who knows what will happen next time.....

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