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This will ramble a bit, but after a lead in I’ll try to point out some highlights, a few low lights, and an overall feeling moving forward.
It turns out our friend Lotusphere was only MOSTLY DEAD. There is a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. With mostly dead, there’s still partly alive. With all dead, there’s nothing left to do but go through the pockets and look for loose change.
The week turned out to be very good for me, even if at the same time it presented the most challenges I’ve had presenting in many years. My highest and lowest points this week came without minutes of each other. It’s been that kind of week.
To begin with, not doing C.U.L.T. shirts this year meant I could come on Friday instead of Thursday, and didn’t have the enormous stress of renting a truck, picking up thousands of shirts and getting them distributed to sponsors. It let me focus on other things. We have a fantastic and productive Penumbra meeting on Saturday morning followed by a very nice dinner at Fulton’s Crab House with the IBM executives, product managers, and key development managers.
Good friend Susan Bulloch won the Penumbra Prism Award, which we give each year to an IBM employee who goes above and beyond their normal role to help the partner community get its work done. Susan is very deserving of this award, and it was great to recognize her effort in front of so many senior people. For those who don’t know, Susan also runs the BP track at Lotusphere – hands down the most content and speaker rich track of the show.
Some highlights of the show:
The Opening General Session was terrific. While nothing earth shaking was announced, the session pacing was better than any of the previous 14 Lotusphere shows I’ve attended. The demos were fairly smooth, the content well mixed, and best of all, the core Notes and Domino product were shown some love right there in the OGS.
The highlight of my week came when I saw the outpouring of support from my friends in our community just when Gab and I needed it most. I don’t think we could have pulled off our security session with any kind of grace without that support. It meant a great deal. #OccupyPelican indeed!
Kimonos, The Blogger Open, and friends in general were all fantastic this year. I didn’t see any political infighting or bitterness at all. I saw new faces getting tips from old hands, and above all a very welcoming community. I had a great time with
friends this week personally, and even partook of some adult beverages. That’s something I usually don’t do, but the company was good and I had no worries about driving or fire calls.
Seeing that IBM has backed off the name change for the conference was interesting and nice as well. I suspect it has to do with some information a little bird shared with me involving the number of tickets sold for the purely “Connect” side of the show and what IBM had to do to have enough people in that to avoid embarrassment. In any case, it’s good to see the show coming back with its name intact.
A few low points this year:
Strangely enough, although this was one of the most enjoyable Lotusphere years I can remember, it was also by far the most challenging and stressful for me in terms of delivering my sessions. You already know the story about the security session on Sunday afternoon with Gab. Of course that was a lot of stress, and the low point of nearly cancelling a session for the first time in 15 years was just ugly. It was followed by the highest point of the week which was your support, but I’ve talked about that enough. Well my second presentation was also very stressful. Last minute changes to the demos took up several hours of Wednesday morning, and then thanks to a mistake I made in my timing I ran long (something I almost never do) and didn’t get to do all the demos I’d planned. Although I was just a few minutes long, the room monitor was quite rude in a way I’ve never seen before and demanded that we finish immediately. I was worried about the resulting impact on the session, but your reviews have been incredibly good so I guess you got what you wanted out of the session. I put the demos up online.
The closing session this year was a pretty sad story. The speaker was probably the most aggressively self promoting, smug, annoying personality I can imagine and the whole nasty food thing was off putting. Killing a live animal on stage in a room with a significant number of people who practice a vegan diet out of moral concern was just insulting on top of being disgusting even if the animal was little more than a few brain cells and a basic set of nerves. It was just bad. It may have been a worse choice than Bob Costas a few years back or the Irish Tenor.
How does this year’s Lotusphere leave me?
Usually, Lotusphere leaves me charged up and looking to really jump into some new thing or other. This year is different. I’m not terribly excited by some new product but I am encouraged by the direction and impressed with the incremental improvements across the board. I come away knowing that I’ve got plenty of work to do because I’m behind with some important technologies that are finally starting to mature.
Overall the show was a success, a great time, and a valuable experience.
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