Earlier today I posted a list of things I think should be closely considered in the planning for Lotusphere 2009....
In among that list, I was pretty strong in my caution against over-pushing WAS and Portal in the way it was done for 2004. Ed came in to the defense of the Portal team, reminding me of the current date and of how there are several hundred people who came to Portal conventions earlier in the year. A couple of others have decried the value of that platform, which I still contend is a niche with little or no hope of ever achieving the deployment scale of Domino or having the kind of industry impact that Domino and its add-on products have had.
Let me be clear in saying that if there is actual demand for those sessions, I have no problem with them being there. What I have a huge problem with is the potential for massive artificial over-statement of demand for those sessions based on nothing more than the wishful thinking of IBM Global Services and the Portal product management team. That's what happened in 2004 with Workplace.
Why should I care -- Isn't it "IBM's Conference"?
No. It isn't IBM's Conference. If they weren't charging nearly $2,000 Dollars admission it would be. If someone pays that kind of money, they are a CUSTOMER and should be getting what they paid for, not just what IBM wants to give them. This is why I get so angry about the crappy Partnerworld download process. Because if you're charging me for the thing, than I am a customer and I have purchased the right to expect a high level of quality and availability.
I have no insight into the current plan. I have no way to know if it is happening again. I do know that NOW is the time to make my statement of warning to those who are in a position to figure it out. The proof of how this has gone down will come not a moment before the conference starts. IBM will have their RFID tagged conference badges to track session attendance, and those of us who care will have our own way to take a similar pulse -- the digital camera. I'm bringing mine with me, and if it looks as bad as it did in 2004 its going to be really obvious and really public.
Will IBM allow the actual demand of attendees to dictate the schedule or will then repeat the mistake of 2004 by attempting to drive that demand based on wishful thinking? We'll know at the end of January. Its going to look really bad if they have a bunch of pictures of giant empty rooms doing Portal demos to deal with.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
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