IAMLUG: A Killer Conference

I probably should wait until I’m not falling asleep at the keyboard, but I wanted to tell everyone about IAMLUG. For the unitiated, IAMLUG is a North American Lotus user group meeting that was just held for the last couple days in St. Louis, Missouri in the US. Quite frankly, it was one of the best events I’ve been to in a long long time.

Let me explain why.

First off, the expertise on display was amazing. Simply, these are the best speakers you can find in Lotus land. When I think of experts on particular pieces of the Lotus portfolio, I think of every one of these people. Chris Miller, Paul Mooney, Gab Davis and Kathleen McGivney on the admin side, The whole SNAPPS crew (Rob, Viktr, Julian et. al.) and Jamie Magee on the Dev side, Matt White on XPages, John Head on integration, Mary Beth Raven on 8.5.1 Design, Kevin Cavanaugh and Ed Brill on strategy. Those are names you ALL know, you ALL respect, and would ALL pay to see at Lotusphere. Those werent all the speakers either, there are too many to list, but simply go to IAMLUG.org to see them all. There was no fluff. Plus, in one session there was beer. Just sayin’

And like I said, you would have paid what? $3000 to go to Lotusphere to see these same people? Well IAMLUG was free. Yes, free thanks to the sponsors. Blackberry, Connectria, PSC Group, GSX, Mainsoft, MartinScott, TeamCentric and Ytria. Thanks to all of them them for helping make this happen.

The food was probably the best I’ve had at a conference, and the hotel was just okay. Truth be told, I spent very little time sleeping in my room, so the important things (bars, casinos, bars, cigar smoking lounge, bars, restaurants and did I mention bars?) were what really mattered to me. For $99 a night, I really cannot complain. Since this was attached to a casino all the drinks were really cheap. I bought rounds for $40 that would have cost me over $100 in Disney. This was definitely cost effective, convenient and perfect for an event like this.

Next, these people are like an extended family. One that you actually LIKE and look forward to seeing. Once a year just isn’t enough, and IAMLUG helped me re-connect with these people, add new family members, meet people in person that I’ve only known virtually, and bond in the ways you can only do in person.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the last couple of months have been very stressful for me, and this event helped me to blow off steam in the evening while learning a ton during the day. And I literally have never laughed so hard in my life. From the Booty Sweat, to the cigar lounge to the 632Crew I laughed myself sore. If laughter is the best medicine, I’ve just been innoculated for the rest of the year.

Thanks to Chris Miller for being the brain child, and to him and everyone who put this together on the the back end. I think it went off without a hitch.

I do want to say one thing though, and she’ll kill me for it, but I’m saying it anyway. I don’t believe in God or the Devil, but Francie is simply an angel in every sense of the word. Her ear was glued to a walkie for most of the conference, and simply put. Shit. Got. Done. And above and beyond that, she took care of us all. She deserves to live in paradise… with all the bananas she desires.

Do I wanna see an IAMLUG 2010? Hell and yes. Here’s hopin’