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There were good things in the opening general session at Lotusphere 2006 this year. The Sametime 7.5 announcement and features for example were well handled and well demonstrated. Jason Alexander, the guest speaker, was excellent as you would expect, and the demonstration of Hanover (Lotus Notes next major release) was fairly good once they finally got to it. There were big problems, however, with the session overall.
To begin with, Mike Rhodin did not speak well at all. I know he can speak, as I’ve seen him do it much better. The difficulty of an extremely overproduced and scripted delivery however should be left to professional actors. Reading from a teleprompter and attempting to appear spontaneous is a hard won skill, and it is not one we should expect of our executives. I have to say, he almost pulled it off. Dr. Goyal was someone who had a terribly difficult time speaking, but overcame it with a charming personality and staggering intelligence. I’m not saying Mr. Rhodin isn’t a nice guy or that he not bright – he’s both – but he’s not Goyal.
The middle part of the presentation was a lot like King King, the recent abomination of a remake. You could have taken a full hour out of it and never missed it. I’m starting to believe that some ghostly remnant of Janet Horan remains in the conference center and at the slightest opportunity stifles all the possible excitement in a room leaving no energy whatever.
By two full hours of conference, there’d been almost no mention of Notes. It’s great that they left the exciting Notes stuff till the end, but then at the last minute they didn’t have time to do it justice. They also gave no hint during the session that it would be coming. By 10:30, even I was worried that the Notes Client was going to be declared dead, and I KNOW better. A business partner turned to me and said “I have two customers here who think Notes is dead. They damn well better start talking about it right now!”
So many people who work for and with Craig have spoken and writen to me on this, that I wanted to post a link "In-line" here to my follow-up post expressing support for his other work.
See This Link
|Next, out came Craig Hayman with the most skillfully crafted and delivered yet totally misguided and revoltingly off target presentation I have ever seen. The presentation was supposed to show off the work that’s been done on the “Activity Explorer” – and that work is fantastic. Of course, you wouldn’t know it from the presentation, and unfortunately I’m barred by NDA from actually saying much about it. No, Craig’s presentation was REALLY about “Craig Hayman, Master Presenter” and not about any particular content at all.|
Craig delivered a fast paced, snappy, witty, and very animated presentation which involved carefully timed banter with a lightning fast series of animated slides which were designed to punctuate his comments. It was a masterful use of technology – and did nothing whatsoever to convey a message or show of the product. Gabriella Davis later told me “I understand Activity Explorer and I’m excited by it. By the time he was done I was both depressed and confused.” From this presentation alone, anyone who wasn’t already familiar with it would be lost. That’s sad, because I can tell you it is an amazing tool – I just can’t tell you why. I can sum up my impression of Craig Hayman’s presentation by saying “The Craig Hayman show sucked despite his obvious mastery of slideware and clear idol worship of Steve Colbert (Comedy Central’s Daily Show and Colbert Report).” Jason Hook, a professional developer and friend called it “The substance that style killed.”
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