London is the only place to be on 21st March

In case you’d not picked up on it, the good folks at Turtle, and we of London Developer Co-op, are running a new type of event in central London next Friday 21st March.

Its called the Collaboration Stack Community Event. We have a wide range of speakers, many of international standing, who will be giving short insights into a given topic. However, this is not an event that’s about being lectured to from the front of the room. Instead it’s designed to be much more interactive. All sessions will have time set aside for discussion. Some sessions will be entirely about discussion (albeit with some moderation and leading). And there will be plenty of opportunities to talk with the speakers and each other informally outside the session times.

For both practical reasons (size of venue, new format) and financial reasons (we are footing the bill ourselves – no registration fees, sponsors, product pitches or exhibition space) we’re limiting the numbers on this occasion. And the good news is that it’s filling up fast – we’re over 80% booked up.

Some links for you, if you want to register or find out more:
CSCEvent site
Agenda page
Registration link

Did I mention that this is a free event? :-)

Hope to see you there.

PS If you’ve registered but you’re not going to be able to make it, please let us know so that
[a] we can free up your space for somebody else and
[b] we don’t hate you ;-)

 

Dear IBM, it’s not a zero-sum game (my Connect conference round-up)

On my way to Orlando, I drafted a blog post about what my expectations were for the conference. And then never posted it. So here, instead, is my post-conference round-up in all its glory.

The Good

      The Opening General Session was the slickest I have ever known. Having it hosted by Jay Baer gave it a flow that it had been lacking for a good few years, and he was a massive improvement over the disembodied voice of god we’ve previously had linking the different segments of the sessions. The guest speaker, despite being not known outside the US, was very good.
      Personally, this event was more serious and business-like than the last few. Less late-night revelling than previous years, and more conversations and meetings. Which is good in pretty much every way.
      Seeing friends. More than anything else, even more than the business side, this conference for me is about reconnecting with friends, and making new ones. You know who you are, but shouts out to a few people without whom IBM Connect wouldn’t be Lotusphere: Gab and Tim Davis, Devin Olson, John Roling, Mat Newman, Colleen Burns, Julian Robichaux, Jon and Justin and Catherine from Prominic, Carl Tyler, Andrew Pollack, Sandra Bühler and many, many more.
      I didn’t go to as many sessions as I sometimes have in previous years. But what I did go to was excellent: Mark Roden on ExtJS, Paul Mooney on Ethical Hacking, and Mark Myers and Julian Robichaux on Practical Java being three that especially stood out for me.
      SpankyBeers. One of the funniest evenings I’ve had for a very long time. Devin you are a legend.
      The surprise appearance of Warren Elsmore and Kitty in their capacity as Lego wizards.
      The Penumbra Group activities. Not least the Ice Cream social, where the Mexican Ambassador was to be found, although on the night the best milkshake of all was the one based on JD and coke. Just wow. But beyond that, the Penumbra Dinner on the Saturday was great, and Niklas Heidloff was a truly deserving winner of the Prism Award. And seeing and talking with my colleagues in the group is always more valuable to me than I can describe: they are outstanding people.
      Craig Hayman did a great job in his first public appearance as new “Lotus” head honcho. He has yellow credentials, and his choice of yellow shoes in the OGS was a miniature master stroke.

The Bad

      The OGS content. I realise they’re preaching to the pointy-haired bosses and the press, but IBM need also to take note of the fact that half of the audience (probably a lot more than half) are detail-orientated, and without at least some details the OGS comes across as being content-free.
      Notes/Domino content in the OGS: there really wasn’t any. Or, rather, what there was is mainly either a long way off or they forgot to mention the technology.
      Some of my friends who were missing: Bruce and Gayle, Tom Duff, and Rob McDonagh, and others. And of course fellow London Developer Co-op colleague Ben Poole.
      The session scheduling was dreadful. Far too many clashing sessions splitting the audience. They would be better to outsource this to people in the community who actually have a feel for – and care for – the content. As a result of this poor planning a lot of sessions were more sparsely attended than they could/should have been.

In

      They left the Dolphin rotunda piano unlocked for the first time ever. Somewhere on YouTube the is evidence, captured by Volker, of my late night musical improvised wibblings. For me it’s basically therapy, but nobody slammed the lid on my fingers so I guess I did okay. And thanks to Rob Novak for repeatedly intervening at the bottom end of the keyboard and dragging me back into G when I was trying to escape into another key. That’s probably a metaphor for something: you decide. ;-)
      Sleep: I had some.
      Staying off site for the first time since 1999. This may have influenced the sleep thing.

Out

      Kimonos: it wasn’t the hub of all social activity the way it has been the previous few years. Things change.
      I finished my term as president of the Penumbra Group. Lisa, Theo and Nigel will, I am sure, do a great job.
      Late night spirits-consumption in the Dolphin Rotunda. Not even once, this year. That’s probably for the best. Very few good things start with “which neat room-temperature drink would you like: vodka or bourbon?”

The Future

      IBM announced that the conference will be same time, same place, next year. The question on everybody’s mind, at least everybody coming from the Lotus products background, is how much the content of the conference will change. Will I be there? If it’s recognisably “Lotusphere” then yes. We will see.
      Connections. The future is IBM Connections.
      2014, and IBM Connect 2015, should be more interesting for us die-hard Notes&Domino lovers than this year was. Project Hawthorne and Mail Next will be a lot closer to reality by then. Even if the OGS skimps on them, expect a lot of news and far more product feature/release/beta announcements than we got this year. Also by then the Softlayer hosting stuff should be out the and real. The clincher for IBM is going to be what they can achieve with licensing to better support a payforwhatyouuse model e.g. per-user-per-month costs. In the meantime, if that’s your need you should speak to Prominic who already have a good story to tell in this area.

So, all in all, a good Lotusphere. For too long IBM has been ignoring Notes&Domino in favour of inserthotnewtechnologyhere. I rather hope that with Craig Hayman‘s arrival we might see more focus on the core products, and an awareness that this is not a zero-sum game. Watch this space.

20130607-184146.jpg

Left, right, left, ouch, left, ouch, ouch, ouch,…

Forgive me, blogosphere, I have sinned. It’s been bloody ages since my last effusion.

Anyway, apologies* out of the way, I have something to say. And it is this: THANK YOU.

Rewinding slightly. A few weeks ago I found myself walking the Great Glen Way, as part of the “Domino Dander for Dosh 2013” team. Prior to this, I’d really never walked more than a handful of miles in a day, or at last not more than half a dozen times. Never 20+ miles in a day. And certainly not 80 miles in 4 days. It was what they like to call in daft business terms a “stretch target”. And I wasn’t alone: 5 of the 9 walkers were similarly inexperienced.

And we made it. But that isn’t the important bit: the really important bit is that, in doing so, our friends, family and colleagues sponsored us to the grand tune of well over £11,000. Every penny of which went to charity, almost all of it to the Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland. So if that was you… again, thank you. You made a difficult task infinitely more bearable and rewarding.

In advance of the walk I really wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to do it. But at no point was my belief more shaky than at the end of the second day. Less than half-way into the walk, my legs were like jelly, and my feet were covered in blisters. I was in proper pain. As I was the following morning when we set off. And for the next 40something miles, frankly.

Which is where we come to my fellow walkers. They are an amazing bunch: Tony, Coatsie, Dawn, Eileen, Bill, Steve McD, Maureen and Steve L. It was a joy and a privilege to spend the week with you all. But I do particularly want to thank the people that got me through the walk: Tony for the latter part of day 2, which was an horrifically dispiriting and punishing walk along the Caledonian Canal; Steve McD for the last few miles of the exhausting 12-hour-long day 3 (I have never been so glad of a hip flask as I was then); and Eileen for sticking with me, and putting up with my daft blistery banter, for the whole of the 4th day.

It sounds corny to say so, but it was a life-changing experience. Not in a finding-out-I’m-the-second-Jesus way (it turns out I’m not – who knew?), but in a never-being-quite-the-same-again way.

And I’ll do it again. But perhaps not in the same boots.

* Yes, I KNOW you’re not supposed to apologise for failing to blog. Call me a rebel.

That C.U.L(DC).T. shirt

So, I have now run out of my sort of #ls12 C.U.L.T. shirts. They’re all gone. You missed your chance. Lotusphere was a complete waste of time for you, because you didn’t manage to get hold of one of these. Seriously, they’re a rare as rocking horse shit, and as precious as a unicorn’s foreskin. Chinese “doctors” would grind them up and use them for medicine if they could get hold of them. You get the picture.

Whatever.

So, here’s the image. That’s right: it’s a truly terrible pun. What did you expect?!

C.U.L(DC).T. shirt for Lotusphere 2012

C.U.L(DC).T. shirt for Lotusphere 2012

(Click for a larger version)

If you don’t get the pun … (a) what is Spock? (b) what are we about to do to him? (c) reverse those two words. Still not? Ask an LDCer.

Anyway … Matt White, Mark Myers and I still have some of the ‘official’ LDC shirts to give away, so hunt us down and demand one. Of course, we may demand in return that you actually wear it for at least half a day while you’re at Lotusphere, but that’s fair enough isn’t it?

Penumbra Groupie!

I was ambushed :-) at the Penumbra meeting this morning, and now find myself elected to the Penumbra board for the next couple of years.

Having been a member for the last 3 years, it will be interesting, and I suspect challenging in all sorts of fun ways, to fulfil this role along with my board colleagues Lisa Duke and Jamie Magee.

In the meantime, so far as this week goes, I’m looking forward to the Penumbra dinner tonight, and the (relatively recent tradition) ice-cream Tuesdae (sic) social event. And a very big thank you to Jamie, and to outgoing board members Carl Tyler and Wouter Aukema, for herding the Penumbra cats and organising these events.