This year was one of the better Lotusphere events in recent memory. The OGS started with OKGo rocking though three songs and then Michael J Fox was our guest speaker. The OGS continued on a fast pace with lots of demos and nothing lagging. It was a huge departure from last year for sure, and very welcome.
The news was all mostly good. IBM is making everything incrementally better and more connected to each other. It’s obvious that the Lotus brand is getting sunset (even though next year it’s supposed to still be called Lotusphere) but I think that’s okay in the grand scheme. IBM has better brand awareness now and Lotus is considered legacy by too many.
For me, the biggest things concerning the whole “social” theme were support for OpenSocial, Embedded Experiences and the Activity Stream. I’m so used to activity streams in Twitter and Facebook and the like that I’m actually excited by the prospect of this in the business world. I’m a fairly brutal when it comes to filtering things in real life, and for me I think it will translate well to the business world. Also, being able to tie into other systems with OAuth and such will be very beneficial.
There were no huge announcements this year, and that’s okay. The incremental pieces are making everything more usable which is really cool. The only thing really “out there” was a plug in for Internet Explorer that allows your browser to natively run Lotus Notes apps. This is fairly amazing. Too bad it’s windows only, but I still like it.
This year was new for me in a different way. Since IBM eliminated the blogger program ( how social of them 🙂 ), this was the first time I wasn’t attending Lotusphere as Press or as a blogger in something like six or seven years. That means I didn’t have a full schedule of interviews and press conferences to attend. It was actually really nice as I got to see more of Lotusphere proper than I had in years past. That said, I did something I had never done at Lotusphere before, and that was speak.
I was on two customer panels. One was the Customer Evangelist panel and another one was about using Social in the SMB space. So I didn’t have to prepare like a normal speaker. In the Evangelist panel I had five slides and five minutes to speak and on the Social panel I just had to answer questions from our panel moderator (Ed Brill) and questions from reporters in the room.
I really enjoyed both, and might actually try my hand at speaking in the future if they’ll have me. I’ve always loved speaking at events like these, so now I just need to find something compelling enough to talk about.
The essential human element
Some of you will remember the “essential human element” as a past Lotusphere theme. For me, that’s the theme that has always stuck, because no matter what we are doing in life, it’s our interactions with each other that matter most. This Lotusphere was no different. At the end of every day, I gathered with co-workers and friends to relax, talk, smoke cigars and have a few libations.
Kimonos was rather crowded this year, so we didn’t spend as much time there as in previous years, but it was still a good time when we did. The weather was very cooperative, and sitting outdoors at tables by the Swan and Dolphin pools made for wonderful evenings.
These folks are like family to me, and I know I say that every year, but I really cherish the time I get to spend them. This is what truly what makes Lotusphere special. Social? It’s nothing new. We’ve been Social for twenty years, I’m just glad IBM finally caught up.