(Lotus Knows. Remix, by DJ Steve Porter)
Lotusphere 2010 was my second Lotusphere conference, and the first I’ve spoken at. I previously attended in 2008 as staff. My memories of 2008 revolved around trying to understand the deep connection between the Lotus brand and it’s clients and partners, as well as having the first chance to meet many of the people I’d been working with since joining Lotus in Dublin in June 2007. My time in the Meet The Developers lab that year was mainly spent talking to people who knew little or nothing about social software and Lotus Connections in particular.
The one thing I did take away from 2008 was an understanding of how long and hard the week was. As such I wasn’t too worried about not attending in 2009. This year however my hunger to be involved was well and truly back.
As I’ve previously mentioned, this year I was presenting with Mitch Cohen from Colgate Palmolive. He never misses an opportunity to promote their products 🙂
Our session was a Show ‘n Tell, which basically means we don’t just talk about a subject, but actually do it onstage. Think of a daytime TV cookery show and you get the idea! For those who may not have presented at Lotusphere, presentations have to be finished by mid-December. Given ours needed to be step-by-step slides that people could take away and follow this led to lots and lots of prep-work of both the slide-ware and demo environment. Early January saw us have numerous teleconferences to do run-throughs, but it wasn’t until the first Sunday of the conference that we had the opportunity to go through it in full, in person. Thankfully the timing was spot on, and the live demonstrations solid enough. On the day the session was well attended (I was secretly dreading we would get one man and his dog given we didn’t have the best time slot and that we were up against some other popular and even related sessions.) What’s more our material seemed to go down well and was delivered without hiccup. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that Show ‘n Tell sessions are a huge amount of work to prepare. Much work, but worth it in the end. Many thanks go to Mitch for being a great co-presenter and a pleasure to work with.
Away from the session, most of my time was spent in the Meet The Developers lab on the Lotus Connections stands. I think the one solid thing to say this year is that Connections has firmly established itself in the marketplace and the Lotus portfolio. Nearly every person we spoke to had questions about deployment, adoption or even issues they had. In previous years, both from my own and other’s feedback it has been much more about “what is Connections?” which we had very little of this year. In general the Connections sessions I went to seemed to be very well attended and full of people with hands in the air when the “Have you deployed?” and “Are you in production?” questions were asked by the speakers.
It was also nice to meet in person various clients and business partners I’ve dealt with over the past two years, either for the first time, or to re-aquaint. It was also nice to meet various people I’ve connected with on Twitter, as well as even more of the folks in IBM US who I speak to nearly every day but had never met face to face. Of course, there were also people that were there but whom I never got the opportunity to catch up with, so if you fall into that category then please accept my apologies but you know how it is!
Outside of the actual conference, I found I was a bit more relaxed about things this year, with it not being my first time to either the conference or Orlando. I didn’t feel the need to make the most of every minute and had a few more early nights than previously (ok, early means no earlier than midnight anyway!) Regardless I still found myself absolutely knackered by the Thursday and have spent the majority of the weekend catching up on sleep.
One downside of spending the week at Lotusphere is that, despite best intentions, it always puts me behind in terms of the day job. Not just because of the five days spent in Orlando, but the effort in preparing the session as well. That’s the other thing I’ve been trying to catch up on this weekend, and I suspect I’m in for a few late nights over the next week as well. However, from going with the attitude that I’d be quite happy only attending every other year I am now chomping at the bit to get my place lined up for Lotusphere 2011. Hope to see you there!