About seventy people attended yesterday's ESLUGSPHERE event at the IBM Forum in Madrid. Like other user groups around the world, the Spanish team and I have been able to build a good relationship over the last few years, thus when they asked if I would join the agenda, I was happy to do so.

The weather in Madrid is glorious this autumn, and on Sunday night, several of us dined al fresco at a small Andalucian restaurant on a residential street. I was happy to be off the tourist trail (though a return visit to the Museo Reina Sofia was a wonderful experience earlier in the day) and dining with locals. What I wasn't yet prepared for was that as I was clearly outnumbered, almost all conversation proceeded in Spanish -- I guess this is why they say the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it. I had no choice but to try to keep up...well, I suppose I could have concentrated on the delicious jamón, lomo, mejillones, huevos, and other assorted plates. This was after flying in that morning, and it was 10:30 PM - "early" by Spanish standards!

Anyway, the user group event went very well. I found the ESLUG audience more relaxed and interactive than my prior attempts to present en español during my 2010 Lotusphere Comes to You tour. By about halfway through, I was giving my prepared remarks in Spanish, but then adding more texture to them in English. Albert Buendía had translated the slides themselves into Spanish, which was much appreciated and probably made things easier for everyone in the room. Gracias, Albert.

The ESLUG audience begged me to tell them the name of Notes "foo", but I simply can't, yet. I did let them know that today (18th) we would make available the IBM Connections extension part number, for Notes customers to buy the remainder of the IBM Connections product beyond the entitled Files | Profiles in Notes/Domino 8.5.3. We also talked IBM XWork Server, and I have another lead on a great partner ready to use it. Otherwise, my presentation was nearly identical to AusLUG in August.

I had not slept much over the prior two nights, so I knew I could not make it through the full ESLUG event. I was able to stay for the presentation after mine, where Anabel Bielsa presented on DAOS. Her presentation was excellent, with a lot of details and specifics about how to implement DAOS, manage it, and the benefits.

Image:Yesterday’s Spanish Lotus Users Group - muy bien!

Her presentation exposed one of the weaknesses of the Lotus community to me in plain sight - if Anabel felt more comfortable using her English, she would be a star speaker on the worldwide user group circuit, perhaps even Lotusphere. I suppose this has always been true at DNUG, DominoPoint, SNoUG, BLUG, and many other user groups where the predominant language is something other than English. Great speakers are not always exposed to outside observers, because usually we simply can't understand them.

I am sure the other presentations were very good as well. Miguel Angel Calvo presented on the XPages Extension Library while Alejandro Ahumada talked about XPages and some partner solutions. Over dinner I learned about some clever XPages+HTML5 solutions being built; I will wait a week or two before we go into blog detail on them but very creative and good stuff.

Today I am en route to the IBM Business Partner summit for central/eastern Europe in Wroclaw, Poland. I am expecting a similar spirited interaction and learning, though maybe the food won't be quite as much to write home about. Later this week, I will end up in Wales before heading home for my younger daughter's 2nd birthday. I'll provide more updates along the way.

Thank you again to the ESLUG team - Martin, Albert, Juan Carlos, Miguel, etc. -- you all are truly mis amigos, and I only wish I could spend more time on one of these visits. Saludos y hasta pronto.

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