My first trip to Asia in five years was basically a return to the last place I had spent any time - Bali. Bali served as a convenient side trip weekend between the intensity of the Australian Lotus User Group and a few days of business meetings in Jakarta. Nonstop flights to/from made it a no-brainer choice, though with all the excitement of the democratic movement in Myanmar/Burma last week, I still regret that I couldn't find my way there. Another time.
My wife and I honeymooned in Bali five years ago, so going back without her was disappointing. I resolved that I was there more on a photography mission than anything else, and on that front I was successful. My Bali 2012 photos are posted here, though the pictures don't quite tell the whole story of course.
I used to think "an island is an island is an island", but Bali changed all that for me on our first visit. Yes, you can scuba/snorkel/sun bathe, but the Hindu Balinese themselves don't pay the water much attention. There are luxury, best-in-class hotels, but there are small bungalows as well. There are tourists drinking to excess and counterfeit goods to purchase, but thankfully these are mostly in highly concentrated areas.
For this trip I stayed at the Bali Hyatt in Sanur. TripAdvisor reviews said the place was starting to get a bit run down, but it was a great location for me and amazing service. The club level "lounge" was an outdoor thatched hut with free wifi, so I was able to Facetime my kids while chowing down on my favorite Indonesian food, mie goreng. I would stay there again.
I hired a driver through the hotel for two days. I didn't want to do an organized tour, but rather had picked out a few places on my own to visit. On my first day out, I went to the village of Tenganan, home of the Bali Aga people. Some of the tour books described this place as "disney-fied", and it kind of was. But the photos weren't too bad. From there, I went to the water palace of Tirta Gangga. This was really awesome, a collection of sculpture, water features, and vegetation laid out harmoniously. One could even go for a swim there for about US$2, but I passed on that. My third stop that day was also a water palace, the very recently-restored Taman Ujung (mentioned in same wikipedia entry). This was a wonderful surprise, a lush home laid out right near the sea. There was a couple shooting their wedding photos on the grounds, and a few dozen other people, but it was very very quiet.
In stark contrast, the next morning I set out for Tanah Lot, a temple built on a rock formation along the coast. Tanah Lot is relatively close to the main tourist cities of Kuta and Seminyak, so tourist come to Tanah Lot by the busload. It was ridiculous. I felt nothing special about the visit, and you can't even view the temple itself except from afar. It amazed me how busy Tanah Lot was -- set among row after row of crap touristy merchandise -- and how empty Taman Ujung was, all on the same island.
So while Bali, like other Asian cities, has too much traffic and too little infrastructure, it offers the possibility of making it your own experience. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a few more wonderful hours exploring it.
Trip report: TED@IBM
Wed, Sep 24th 2014 2:56p Ed Brill Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the first-ever TED@IBM event at the San Francisco SF JAZZ center. I've watched a few TED talks, but it's far different being there in person with those big red TED letters sitting on the stage. About 500 people attended, a mix of IBM clients, partners, industry figures, visionaries, and IBMers. We heard about a dozen different talks - half from IBMers and half from industry voices. There was some entertainment, some intrigue, and some Twitter trending [read] Keywords: ibm
ICON UK 2014: IBM’s Social Business Transformation
Tue, Sep 16th 2014 7:13a Ed Brill It has been a busy three months since my new position as Vice President, IBM Social Business Transformation was announced. Immediately after starting my new role, I left for Taiwan for a three-week assignment on an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge project team. The philanthropic experience was everything I expected and then some. I returned to the US at a new address - my family had moved to a new home across town, just before my flight to Taipei. The next few weeks were an adjustment - new home, ne [read] Keywords: collaboration
Time running out to enter the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge
Tue, Apr 1st 2014 9:00a Ed Brill In my last blog entry, I covered the announcement of the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge. The Watson Mobile Developer Challenge is designed to catalyze mobile developers to explore the opportunity around mobile cognitive computing - bringing the power of Watson to a smartphone or other mobile device. Entrants submit proposals for mobile apps, and the finalists - to be announced at IBM Impact 2014 - will receive access to IBM Interactive Studios experts and Watson APIs in order to bring the [read] Keywords: ibm
The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge
Mon, Mar 3rd 2014 8:30a Ed Brill IBM CEO Ginni Rometty delivered the Wednesday keynote last week at Mobile World Congress. The speech was wide-ranging and covered a number of key thoughts around data, cloud, and engagement as the three major trends in enterprise technology that will change the way we work. At the conclusion of her speech, Rometty announced the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, and nominations are now open. What is the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge?The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge will e [read] Keywords: ibm
IBM Connect 2014: IBM MobileFirst report
Thu, Jan 30th 2014 2:20p Ed Brill I'm on my way home from my 18th trip to Orlando in January, leaving behind friends and memories from IBM Connect 2014. This was my first time at the event outside of the brand/division running it, and it definitely felt a little bit different. I didn't know what was being announced or previewed in the general sessions, had no dog of my own in the hunt. Of course, I continue to be enthusiastic about IBM's Collaboration Solutions, but I watched from the perspective more of an alumnus with far l [read] Keywords: collaboration
IBM Connect 2014, PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, Mobile World Congress
Wed, Jan 15th 2014 10:50p Ed Brill What a difference a year makes. It's just over a week away from the start of IBM Connect 2014. Though this will be my 18th time in Orlando in January, my agenda is a bit different this time. My friend David Marshak and I are presenting SB303: The Mobile Enterprise: Business In Motion with IBM MobileFirst on Wednesday, January 29, at 3 PM in Dolphin S. Hemisphere III. It'll be a great session; our goal is to give an overview of all the mobile enterprise tools and capabilities available in th [read] Keywords: ibm
Forbes: IBM’s New ’Presence Zones’ Help Retailers Transform In-Store Experience
Mon, Jan 13th 2014 11:30a Ed Brill At this week's National Retail Federation, IBM is showcasing Presence Zones, a new solution for bringing together in-store and mobile marketing. Combined with our recent acquisition of Xtify, IBM now is offering an extensive set of capabilities for integrated, immersive retail shopping expereinces -- benefitting both consumer and retailer. Mobile and retail has some pretty compelling use cases, basically the mass customization that Lotus CTO John Landry talked about two decades ago is really co [read] Keywords: ibm