Sunday, January 28, 2007

Lotusphere 2007 Wrapup

From the Lotus side of things this year was very different than last for a number of reasons. First, the message from Lotus was from Lotus. I read on another blog that there was not a single IBM logo present on the opening or closing sessions. Second, they focused on what is important: their products and their customers. There were a couple of shots taken at the competition, but the overall message was about Lotus' own offerings and how they extend business value. I already bought the Lotus collaboration vision, I don't need to be sold it again. And if I do, there were sessions that would help me, but it wasn't pervasive.

This latter point hints at a larger change in mindset at Lotus. Until now it seemed like Lotus had a hard time accepting the fact that they are a market leader, and as a result they were constantly attacking. Overall they are leading the pack, their customers believe in their vision (hence the 8 quarters of sustained growth), and it finally seems like Lotus got it. There is no need to apologize or compare, all you need to do is deliver what you promise and the rest will follow. As Mike Rhodin said in his opening keynote: "When people deliver what you need when you need it, big things happen."

With regards to sessions there were some deep dives, but in general there was much more focus on end user usability and usefulness. This mirrors Lotus' own new focus on those two factors. I think the productivity editors and composite applications are going to drive a whole new class of applications that are going to empower users to be productive in ways they never imagined.

The only disappointing part was I still don't think Lotus gets what a SMB is. Much of the upcoming architecture is going to require skillsets that SMB's are going to have a hard time affording. Installation of products other than Domino still isn't as easy as it needs to be. Websphere Portal Express shows it is possible, but even it is at a price point where no one with less than 1000 users is going to be able to seriously consider it.

If you don't like sappy stuff, skip the following. :-)

For me, personally, this week has been one of the most uplifting experiences in my life, and it is directly attributable to my own participation in the community. Last year Lotusphere was all technical for me, and I came back with some great information. This year was still primarily about the content, but there was an air of camaraderie that was only possible because of the blogging community. I don't consider myself to be on the same level as many of you technically, and I was truly humbled to be accepted into the group so readily. Many of you are luminaries in our community and to have you genuinely interested in meeting me and talking to me -- me! -- was a little overwhelming. Thank you all for being genuine, warm, and friendly people.


  1. It was good to meet you. You know yourself - treat others as you'd like to be treated yourself, and it all falls into place.

    I guess the Lotus Domino market is a wee bit older and perhaps (though not me) a wee bit more mature than others. A wee bit more laid back perhaps.

    In terms of technical knowledge and blogging - just put up good clear content. The market will tell you if your doing anything wrong.

    Relax. Enjoy it. Its a way of life..


    ---* Bill

  2. We are excited that people like you still want to hang around people like us, even after finding out we're as weird in person as we are in our blogs ;)

    Seriously, we are a community - a family - and everyone is welcome, as long as you have the same willingness to participate and appreciation of everyone and what they have to offer. I mean, seriously - isn't that what collaboration is all about?

    Can't wait to see you again next year - and I will look into that NotesDocumentCollection problem ;)


  3. well, Rocky is as weird as he is on his blog at any rate. :-P

    I'm now approaching 13 straight years at Lotus...longer than anything else I've ever done in my life. As I said Thursday night much of what does it for me is the community. In fact, the community aspect of working with y'all is how I realized I needed to make some dramatic changes in my life three years ago. I used to think that I just played someone different professionally, then I 'jumped the track' and became that person. I've been immesurably happier ever since.

    Enough about me -- as for you, you discovered the key to success in the Lotus community -- be part of the community. Participate, interact, question, challenge, chat, e-mail... and it all comes together. Humans are humans, and while our common bond may be a software program, it allows us to then explore the other commonalities -- or differences -- and share them in a unique way. I'm glad you joined in, and I hope still more will, too.

  4. I very much know how you feel Charles. All these people at 'sphere that I've known for as long as 14 years online, and this is the first time I've ever been in the same room with most of them!

    It's just incredible how welcoming so many of them can be. But it also goes to show just how real a "virtual" relationship can be.

    It was great to meet you. And Charleston to Atlanta really isn't that far. Let's find excuses to get together.

  5. Glad you enjoyed - last year was a great Sphere for me because I hung out with the bloggers. It's a great community!

    I agree with you about the SMB deal. Looking at the announcements from my cubicle, I don't really see how a lot of SMB companies are going to benefit from some of the things. But if I step back a little, I can see how some of the products may be really good. I'm just now 100% sure about it all - this coming from my being a Sys Admin at an SMB. I really haven't wrapped my thoughts around it all yet...

  6. was great to meet you! I echo your sentiments and those of the others here...Lotusphere was 100x better for me than in the past just because of the community aspect...about being among like-minded, incredibly intelligent people. Here's looking forward to seeing you at Lotusphere 2008! :-)

    P.S. Thanks for the really nice comments on the BP101 session!!!

  7. It was nice to meet you Charles ... and Ed got it right .. being part of the community means you participate. That is all. We don't turn anyone away ...

    I will say, I think people really need to stand back and look at SMB and IBM in a new way. I know people say IBM doesnt get it, but I have a customer that is the definition of VSB. 15 users, spread across the world. They have invested a huge amount of dollars in IBM technology and PSC's services ... so that they could change their business model. They went from being a content production shop to basically a company that runs events ... all over the world. And they use Portal.

    Portal Express 6 should help fix some of the issues people have. I fully agree, installing a product should not take 1000 pages and days ... no reason it can not be a 'black box' install. From what I heard and saw, PE6 might be that. I will let you know next week.

    But if the install and admin is easy, who cares if it is DB2, WAS, Domino, or some J2EE thing ... its just technology.

    Maybe I need to start writing more blogs about this ...

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone. :)

    John, the problem I have is the cost: $115 per user for WPE, plus a Notes license. I would definitely be interested in seeing more information about how Portal can be used complementary to Domino. :)

  9. Pleasure to meet you there! We all all humbled by anyone that wants to hang with us in the firs tplace, but we are all just as goofy. I get to see some of these others in person maybe once to 3 times a year, so it is somethign we also look forward too. So come forward and be yourself, the rest is easy.

  10. Lotusphere 2007 was very uplifting (as Neil Armstrong might say) and it was very interesting to meet again all these people from the entire world.

  11. Hey Charles, It was really nice to meet you as well. I agree with Bill, as long as you treat others like you like to be treated, everything falls into place.

    Maybe it's because we've lived and breathed collaboration with Notes for so many years that the community comes easy to us. I'd like to think that contributes :-)


  12. I thought that I should drop a line or to and say that I to took pleasure in meeting you face to only delay in commenting is that when I read your wrap up I didn't even think to mention it because I think I know you so well from your blog and your comments on mine.