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Every year there are good things and bad things at the Lotusphere conference. If you've got anything in mind for what they should really be aware of, lets post it here. I'll start...
Food & Food Tent --
Having just the one was really great last year in that you could meet anyone you wanted to have lunch with. The downside was that it was very far away from the Swan, where all the "Best Practices" sessions take place. That's where I spend most of my conference time.
Late Busses --
Many people have mentioned this -- there should be at least one or two busses running very late and very early. People like to stay and socialize.
Probably the most important thing at Lotusphere are the sessions. Some years they're well allocated and other years they're not.
First -- Allocate sessions based on what attendees really want, and size rooms accordingly. In 2004 Lotus made a massive mistake in pushing Websphere and Workplace very hard by holding a ton of sessions on those topics. Lots of people were really upset because that meant less Notes & Domino sessions. Nearly all the big rooms at the Dolphin were set aside for these sessions and they were nearly empty -- while the best practices track and the Domino focused sessions in other tracks were absolutely packed to overflowing for primary and repeat sessions. In my mind, that was the second biggest failure of planning ever at Lotusphere. Almost nobody goes to Lotusphere to learn about Websphere, Workplace, and Portal. Some may care about Sametime Untie, and a few may be interested in Bluehouse -- but the overwhelming majority of people are paying nearly two thousand dollars to IBM to focus on Notes & Domino. If this were a free conference, I'd have less problem with IBM pushing what they want. Its not free. Its a very expensive conference and attendees are customers. Give them what they want.
Second -- Pick speakers who can speak. Lotusphere is NOT the place to "try your hand" at giving a presentation. Unlike smaller conferences where there are only one or two concurrent sessions, at Lotusphere you have 10 to 20 or more to pick from at each slot. There is nothing more frustrating than to pick one of several good sounding ones and then end up with a barely coherent speaker delivering something that doesn't match the description or is so disorganized as to be useless. Its great to have IBM developers doing sessions -- they get a lot of slack on presenting skills because they're so much "in the know", but if they're not good at speaking, pair them with someone who is.
Third -- session changes and repeats. I noticed last year for the first time that I ended up at sessions that were cancelled without knowing in advance, and that I didn't seem to know when repeats were available. This needs to be more widely and obviously posted somewhere.
That's my top list -- comments from anyone else?
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just a Notes/Domino conference. We have a decent set of attendees at sessions
on Portal, Sametime, Quickr, Connections. We have consciously excluded content
from the agenda on some of the more niche products and refrained from loading
down with other IBM brand presence.
Room assignments are always a balancing act but we do overflows and repeats for
that reason. Haven't heard many issues at the last two or three LSs around