When Lotusphere began, we knew that we had a new General Manager of Lotus Software. His name was Bob Picciano, but we didn’t know much about him. Would he be a good leader? Would be be as aloof as some previous GM’s or as nice as others? Would he “get” our community? Would he even really get our software? Well after this week, I think we can answer some of those questions.
I first met Mr. Picciano Sunday evening. Turtle’s JumpStart on what to expect at Lotusphere had finished, and I has stood around talking with Devin Olson, Andrew Pollack and my co-worker Mike McGarel. We stayed long enough that they were starting to move walls to get ready for the next morning. So we left and headed for the escalators. At that point, Bob and Alistaire Rennie walked by. Bob called both Andrew and Devin by name and spoke with both for awhile. He also introduced himself to Mike and myself. He spoke with both of us for a little bit and then headed on.
Now I felt like an idiot, because I was unshavin, wearing shorts and an “I’m blogging this” t-shirt, not exactly the garb one wants to be wearing while meeting the head of the software company. Despite my blogger look (all I was missing was cheetos dust) he was very nice and personable and wished us a good show.
The next day, on stage, Bob did a great job. And in addition to all of the announcements and customer references, we found out that Mrs. Picciano is a Notes developer. Wow. His wife lives Notes on a daily basis, so you KNOW he knows the software. Very cool.
On Monday, the bloggers had a special Q&A session with the Executives, and in it, all of the Execs were pretty loose and gave some really nice answers and insights. Bob had to arrive late and leave early, but he still made the effort to get there. He also answered some pretty pointed questions rather well. No hesitation, just straight shooting. It was nice to see.
Next on Tuesday evening, I had just closed down Kimono’s and walked back to the Dolphin. A bunch of us were standing next to the bar when Bob came up the escalator by himself. He was just dressed normally, no suit, and he saw me and came over to say hi. He had just helped close down JellyRolls. He asked how my show was going, and I complimented him on the pacing of the OGS and how it didn’t feel bogged down in like years past. Then he spent a good amount of time apologizing about the connectivity issues we had during the OGS.
You see, at the OGS, the lotusphere cloud wasn’t working well, if at all. Made it hard for us bloggers to well, blog. I had my own Sprint Card for connectivity, so I was fine, but it was hard for the rest. Anyway, here I am, at about 2AM at the Dolphin bar, and the General Manager of Lotus is apologizing to ME about the connectivity problems. Then he thanked me for being there and being a blogger. I was flabbergasted. I told him it was US that should be thanking HIM, and I appreciated the treatment we were getting. We had a little more small talk, and then he took off for his room.
I wondered if I my experience with Bob was unique, so I asked around. Nearly everyone I asked had a similar story. They all had some small story about talking with him at the conference, and how he talked with us rather than down to us. He remembered people’s names, he looked you in eyes, sang at Kimono’s, and seemed sincere. Then, without prompting, he joined us onstage for the annual blogger picture that was taken by Vowe.
So for now, I’m very hopeful. I hope that he is as good as we all hope, and I hope that if he IS that good, IBM doesn’t shuffle him somewhere else quickly. I’d love for Bob to be with us for several years of killer growth and expansion. Let’s see what happens…