I’m not going to do a blow-by-blow account of every session I’ve been to. But…
Let’s start with the Opening General Session. This is the once-a-year-only opportunity for IBM to excite its most loyal customers and partners, who have invested a LOT of time and money to come to this event, to get them excited about the future, and to inspire them to achieve great things over the next 12 months.
This year IBM also had the opportunity to reach out to 500 college students and show them what it means to be involved with IBM software.
So why for ****’s sake did they decide to do what they did? What was shown to us was not an inspiring, exciting, invigorating, thrilling festival of the greatness of IBM-Lotus software. Instead, we had interminable panel discussions with people with the stage presence of a dead gnat (they didn’t get to where they are by having stage presence, to be fair). The poor students probably went away with any prejudices they may have had about IBM being all about white middle-aged men in suits comprehensively reinforced. What a missed opportunity there!
Dear IBM: there are, say, 6000 people in that room, plus another 1200 or so watching the online stream, and 90% of them (actually probably more) want to SEE STUFF, to be ENERGISED, to get SPECIFIC information they can USE over the next 12 months. So why did you aim the entire session at the other 10%? And, by the way, whoever decided that there should be not one but TWO customer panel discussions before anything interesting was shown should lose their job. Seriously. They are Not Competent. You read the Twitter stream. You know how bad it was. Please do it better – incomparably better – next year.
Moving on … by and large for the rest of the time session-wise I’ve been concentrating on xpages learning. I went to Matt White and Tim Clark’s jumpstart session “xpages 101″. Mostly it was the similar content to last year – which was great – and what was clear is how much the xpages platform and tools have progressed in the last 12 months: not just feature-wise, but more importantly in terms of all-round quality. Fantastic session. Sessions by David Leedy, Paul Withers, Steve Castledine, Niklas Heidloff et al were all excellent and informative. Another session which was not xpages, but then again was, was the “apps, apps, apps” OpenNTF session hosted by Bruce Elgort. OpenNTF has definitely moved on a lot since its re-visioning a couple of years back, and if you’re a Lotus developer you owe it to yourself to go there, download things, and seriously think about how you can contribute your knowledge and experience back to the community. And if you think I’m preaching to myself there… well, yes, I am.
Talking of “Lotus”. Precious little of that word being spoken by IBM speakers this year, and even less in print. It will be a sad loss if that brand goes, but perhaps IBM has realised how much (largely undeserved) negative energy there is around that word outside our cosy ‘yellow bubble’, and is thinking the unthinkable. Watch this space, I suppose.
Of course, there has also been the social (small s) side of Lotusphere. UK Night on Monday was extremely popular, and the raffle for artwork raised about $3500 for children’s cancer charity – a great response, and thank you to everybody who bought tickets for that. Our London Developer Coop t-shirts have been very popular, so watch out for them next year (we don’t do many so you have to ask nicely or come to an LDC speaker session to get one). Mai Tai cocktails courtesy of Joe Litton, with Bill Malchisky’s bar-tending, were splendid. Kimono’s was, well, Kimono’s. And that was just Monday Tuesday saw the Penumbra Group “Ice Cream Tuesdae Social” which was bigger and better than last year. The strawberry marguerita milkshake is a wonderful invention. And then the Great Geek Challenge was great fun and full of laughs. And another drink discovery: Sake Sangria – oh boy. And the evening rounded off with Devine Olson’s fabulous beers, and an early (well, 1am or so) night.
So now Wednesday beckons, and I turn my attention to the “Future of Social Business” keynote…