Back From Russia — With Love, Of Course

Yes, I like Ian Fleming as much as I like Dante Alighieri 😉

“…altre rivolgon sé onde son mosse,
altre roteando fan soggiorno;…”

“Some come back to where they started from,
Others, wheeling round, still keep at home;…”

(The Divine Comedy, Paradiso XXI: 38-39)

A week of fighting jet lag, struggling with overflown inboxes and general catch-up with CMS news (what, OTEX bought VIGN ?), and I am back to blogging.

Some culturally-agnostic anecdotes from the trip are below. Once you land in Russia, every little bit of life is anecdotic and very much “the Russian soul“-like with all its complexity and philosophical depths, so I will stop here. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, so check out my Flickr sets here: one for Moscow and one for Siberia.

Flight of Delta Quality

Irina (staring at my Delta “special meal” lunch): What are you?
Special meal: Who cares? You’re hungry, I know that for sure.
Irina: Ummm…
Special meal: Oh shut up, did you forget you’re not flying Air France?

Word of Mouth Marketing

Lunch time, the choice is… yes, you guessed it… pasta or chicken.
Fellow traveler from one row up: what would you recommend (to attendant)?
(I whisper to him: “Take the chicken.”)
Delta’s attendant: Oh, I don’t know. I never eat this food. But I hear passengers like chicken better.
He takes the chicken, thanks me and we don’t talk for the rest of the 10-hour flight.

In-flight IM-ing, Sans Wi-Fi

Four hours into the flight, I just finished writing my Ingeniux story for CMSWire and my only thought is “It’s a long flight.” As I walk towards my seat, I notice that a guy who sits right behind me is writing some code. I am clearly bored. I write on a paper napkin: “What are you coding?” and pass it to the dude behind me.

He promptly responds to me on a notepad with his company’s logo. (a horrid logo, btw.) We are talking technology, web design, Java, writing. His company makes a “glorified FrontPage” and he is sorta in “my field.”


Then he proceeds to tell me his love story. He is going to see a Russian gal in St. Petersburg he hardly knows.

And… then he flirts with me.


I  say “LOL, yes” to “doomed.”

An hour or so of passing the notepad back and forth later, and after he says he likes my biz class Delta, bright red socks (see above, that flight attendant who gave them to me was really nice) and asks for my phone number, I decide to close that “chat window.” Snuggle across my two seats of a “bed” and fall asleep.

Gimme Some Ham

An old couple pulls out a Ziploc full of grocery store-cut ham.
He (to wife, as he devours the ham): Stay with me.
She: I need room to breathe (moves 10 rows away, after taking some ham.)

Revenue is of No Importance

Late evening 5-hour flight from Moscow to Siberia, dinner time (meat, fish or chicken). I am already culturally shocked after a “nice” gentleman dropped his suitcase on my foot and yelled at me, and everyone seems to have a different (from mine) view on personal space.
Attendant: What would you like to drink?
Irina: I’ll have a glass of red wine, please.
Attendant: We don’t serve wine in coach.
Irina: Can I buy it from business class? (As I sit in the first row after the completely empty 2 business class rows, their flight attendant is sitting there, enjoying a book)
Attendant: No, you can’t. You only have a choice of tea or coffee.

More than an hour before landing, she came back to collect my blanket. I didn’t have a choice to stay semi-cozy until the very end of flight. Company policy, she says. The blankets must be interfering with plane’s communication devices.


Gone ‘Til November, or Why I Like Dante

OK, more like ’till the last week of May. Destination: Russia. Couple of days in Moscow and then into the land of no Internets — Siberia (see #1 in 10 Things About Me). I’ll be lucky if I find a dial-up connection (so I was told).

I am convinced Dante, in his verse about the pain of exile, is actually referring to the lack of connectivity:

«. . . Tu lascerai ogne cosa diletta
più caramente; e questo è quello strale
che l’arco de lo essilio pria saetta.
Tu proverai sì come sa di sale
lo pane altrui, e come è duro calle
lo scendere e ‘l salir per l’altrui scale . . .»

(The Divine Comedy, Paradiso XVII: 55-60)

Things I will not be talking about:

  • What I do for living (no one will understand anyway)
  • CMS, ECM, DAM, WCM, CMIS and other acronyms I use frequently
  • Templates and code
  • Business requirements and design documents

Instead, my lexicon and activities will revolve primarily around (in alphabetical order):

  • Asking a lot of “How do you say it in Russian?” questions
  • Borsht
  • Enjoying quality time with family and friends
  • Figuring out how things work (or not) in Russia nowadays
  • Painting with my niece
  • Trying not to subdue to the cultural shock 😉

See ya later. Read the archives, browse the tag cloud for now 😉


10 Things About Me

Just when I thought I have successfully avoided the meme plague on Facebook and other channels, here comes the Easter bunny surprise from Kas Thomas, who started the personal meme. Jon Marks was the first one to play (and to nudge me 🙂 ). Here it goes.

  1. I didn’t actually celebrate Easter this past weekend, as 1 – I am not religious and 2  – my Easter (Christian Orthodox) is in about 2 weeks. I am Russian, born and raised in the middle of nowhere in Siberia. I moved to  U.S. (Atlanta, GA) in 2001 and miss the snow a lot.
  2. Since I cannot draw or paint for the life of me, I take photographs (poorly). My photog training began when I was 5 years old, and my grand uncle locked me in his dark room so I could learn all about the (stinky) chemicals and equipment.
  3. I have three degrees:
    • BA in Linguistics (Germanic Languages) and Literatures
    • MA in Linguistics (Germanic Languages) and Literatures
    • MA in Journalism
  4. The unquenchable thirst for knowledge, what can I say…

  5. If you want to bore me to death, talk to me about sports. BTW, I do get bored quite easily.
  6. Is the numbering off in this list? Why I am only on item #5? 😉 (Not cheating, #4 counts for 2.)
  7. I wanted to become a diplomat when I was little (that was a phase after the professor and flight attendant periods). I am grateful that didn’t happen, as I would’ve failed miserably with my tendency to be no-BS-direct and straightforward. I fail miserably every now and then doing other things anyway.
  8. Circus is the last place I would ever want to go to. But I did some flying trapeze (recreationally).



  9. Good portion of my career includes radio and TV work. I had a blast working as a morning show radio host, but I hated waking up at 4 AM and getting ready to be on both TV and radio air.

    On air

    On the air

  10. I really am not a morning person (people, please stop scheduling those conf calls for 7 am). It takes at least two cups of coffee for my brain to start semi-functioning.
  11. Love for art and music (professional hazard, see #8) is located right next to my love for the sound of revving engines.

Now, let’s tag some folks 🙂 @IanTruscott, @adriaanbloem, @trieloff, @OlegR, @bdelacretaz


On Personal vs. Professional Blogging and Twittering

I came across an interesting reaction to blogging by Lars Trieloff, Day’s product manager for DAM and SoCo, and couldn’t help but think (out loud) and document my stream of consciousness (also known as blogging)  😉

After all, he mentioned my name a few times, and I parse that as an invitation to engage in a dialogue. Something is telling me I’ve (unintentionally) crushed one of the processes running on Trieloff’s processor(s).

Prologue, or How It All Started

Earlier this week, Day Software released CQ 5.2 with new DAM and SoCo features. One of the statements that caught my attention during a briefing I had with Day was Trieloff’s “personal blogging is dead.”

So, I kindly disagreed with that statement in my CQ 5.2 coverage for On my own blog, I also posted a different (and much truncated) version of Day’s announcement.

The posts go live, and then something unimaginable (to Trieloff) happens. My own blog generated a larger response wave than my post on CMSWire. Granted, it was due to one mighty curious reader (and many, many more observers) who was probably just bored at a corporate meeting.

A comment/question was posted, and (being the Twitter user I am) I chose to use Twitter as a faster vehicle to get the questions answered (I do care about my readers — all 1.5 of them). And it worked like magic.

Although I could’ve addressed the questions myself without “desperately looking for outside inspiration, for ‘brains’,” I chose to ping @daysoftware and offer ya’ll to chime in. And so Day — represented by @trieloff and @kevinc2003 — did. Everyone wins, no?

No, the next thing I hear is that personal blogging is in fact in a transitional Zombie state, but (most likely) is dead. One would imagine that after spending 1.5 years of one’s life on a product release that is generating some buzz that specific *one* would be jumping from joy? Or is this just a way of rationalizing and dealing with a blown circuit?

Dialogue: Personal or Professional?

Is personal blogging really a Zombie, as Trieloff (quite vividly so) illustrates with pictures? BTW, that’s some *bad* hair day (pun intended).

Depends on how you define personal blogging and/or Twittering and where you draw the line.

If I am speaking from my personal (and not a corporate or a news organization’s) point of view on professional topics, is this personal or professional blogging?

If I am talking about CMS and post it on CMSWire it is professional, but if I ponder CMS topics on my own blog it is less professional? If I am using WP and not CQ5 to blog, does that mean I have a very unprofessional aka personal blog?

If I were to blog/Twitter (personally) about the daily grind and nothing beyond that — a pair of stilettos I just bought, the great risotto I had for dinner, the color of underwear I am (not) wearing, sales at Target, the French manicure I just got done or the hot date I went on the other night — I doubt that this type of information would generate the same amount of attention as my CQ5 SoCo post.

That type of information above is not really useful to anyone but the sex offenders on my block, weirdos lurking on the Internet and the coupon-collecting soccer moms. None of whom I would consider to be my primary audience (if I even have one).

Professional blogging, on the other hand, is based on the notion of relevance and usefulness. The same idea, I think, applies to professional Twittering (with slightly laxer constraints). Content is still king, but a 140 characters of it may not necessarily encompass everything I am “dying” to share with my professional network. And that’s when folks blog — from a personal or organizational standpoint.

Epilogue (of Sorts)

As far as Twitter goes and “the ‘brains’ that undead personal blogs are looking for can be found at Twitter.” It would be nice if Twitter was the answer to all questions. But Twitter is merely one of the tools out there and is hardly the Holy Grail solution for “fueling discussions and driving blog traffic.” The funny thing is that this whole exchange of comments about Day’s SoCo didn’t even start on Twitter.

CMS Vendor meme did receive a lot of Twitter action — *after* it was posted on the CMS Watch blog and, subsequently, on Day’s blog. Cannot imagine we would’ve had that many delicious dialogues, if Twitter was the only tool at hand.

No content – no traffic, regardless of which blogging platform or microsharing app you’re using.

What I find contradictory is the fact that those chastising “personal” blogging resort to posting on instead of sticking to “corporate” blogging on, say, “Personal” blogging ain’t dead after all, eh?

Coincidentally, I am not the only one challenging Trieloff’s verdict. Others have disagreed with Lars as well (on a different occasion, though). That was when personal blogging was announced obsolete. I don’t think that the ultimate goal of blogging is to make it the Technorati 100 blog list.

Twitter, or any other microsharing app may, of course, be faster and “more connected” — by its nature. However, it is not a substitute for blogging.

Microblogging and blogging in my mind are as different as Kindle 2 and holding an old book with that library smell to it in my hands. Somehow, seems to ooze more substance albeit less convenient.

P.S.: I am gonna categorize this post as “personal.” Just because 😛

Oh, and I do love gadgets, and it’s been ages since I held a Rarität circa 17th century in my hands.

Enterprise Content Management, personal, Web Content Management

Twitter Profiling: You Know You’re a #CMS Exec If…

  1. Your tweets are flooded with airport codes, #boarding, #delayed and upgrades updates
  2. When no upgrade, you make it a point to express coach dissatisfaction by tweeting @ stinky, snoring, farting, barking, screaming (_insert your adjective of choice_) neighbors
  3. Often, you can decently converse in at least two languages. #Natuurlijk!
  4. That is because, chances are, you’ve “done time” at a boarding school somewhere in the UK, or an ivy establishment somewhere in Stanford
  5. You refer to your children in version numbers and “private beta” is used to indicate the soon-to-come version number(s)
  6. You’re obsessed with expensive watches
  7. You often find yourself on (often boring) conf calls at 3:30 AM (local time)
  8. When not on conf or Skype calls, you’re charming away #analysts and the media (using Skype, phone, lunch invitations, IM, Twitter, etc.)
  9. You thought about hiring a ghost twitterer for those cool “#worth reading” and “#note to self” entries from news feeds
  10. Your entire PR agency is following you *and* all your followers
  11. You’ve had at least one “waking up in… New York/Rome/London/ _insert_” tweet, just so you can un-disorient yourself and figure out where the heck you’re that day
  12. Your #waking up tweet is often posted at some ungodly hour
  13. When not @work, your tweets often mention inches of #snow, pies, hardware tools, Shakespeare, foie gras, various gadgets, historic monuments and *beer*
  14. On the health side, you’re most prone to dental work (#crown sans anesthesia), broken bones, exhaustion and insomnia
  15. Your most commonly used acronyms include HST, CEO, RTM, AIIM (seasonally), RC, GSA, POC, VC, API, SCRUM, CMIS, GA and — LOL, of course, #CMS