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Lotusphere 2012 – Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

By Andrew Pollack on 01/19/2012 at 11:08 PM EST

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.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Lotusphere 2012 u2013 Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.By Dwight Wilbanks on 01/20/2012 at 12:02 AM EST
I missed the details about the closing session. Is that figuratively or
literally killing live animals?
re: Lotusphere 2012 u2013 Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.By Richard Schwartz on 01/20/2012 at 12:51 AM EST
Literally. He had two giant geoduck clams, and proceeded to prepare one by
immersion in hot water, and another by blowtorching it. What wasn't initially
clear, though, was that he was merely loosening the outer membrane from the
neck, and the killing was then accomplished piece-by-piece by slicing and
eating it.

Now, I have cooked live clams and lobsters and I don't object to it in
principle at all. But it's not something to make public display out of,
especially in front of a paying audience that was completely unaware of what
was about to happen.
re: Lotusphere 2012 u2013 Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.By Sean Harris on 01/20/2012 at 01:19 AM EST
Richard hit the nail on the head.
re: Lotusphere 2012 u2013 Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.By Mark Hughes on 01/20/2012 at 09:39 AM EST
Richard is right, from the tweets though i thought they lit a baby duck on fire
or something.
re: Lotusphere 2012 u2013 Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.By Bart Severein on 01/22/2012 at 01:07 PM EST
As a vegetarian, I was deeply offended by the 'show' at the closing session and
the only thing kept me from walking away during the horrible events (at one
point a live animal was burned to death with a flame burner...) was the
courtesy towards all the people who worked hard to make LS a great event.
re: Lotusphere 2012 u2013 Far better than I expected. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.By Dusan Mataruga on 01/22/2012 at 07:05 PM EST
This was my 12th Lotusphere, and I thought this would be my last one
considering the direction that IBM goes with Domino. But I will try to be back
next year. A crucially better conference then last year. I felt much more
positive energy. Much more core Lotus Notes people who do not care too much
about Connections, WAS, etc.

A couple things that bothered me:
- Yellow color missing on the backpacks. Even my kids noticed that right away
(BTW, after 15 years me working with Lotus Notes, they still do not know what I
do for livingu2026 blame to IBM). I hope yellow will be back next year.
- The TD bank lady kept mentioning Sharepoint on Tuesday morning keynote
- The gift for evaluation form, I mean, a grocery bag!!! They could not come
with anything more original and creative!!!

Everything else was just right and great. Balance of Websphere and Domino,
people, food, parties, weatheru2026

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