Thursday, January 10, 2008

if you wanted to go to a hands on lab at Lotusphere, forget it

The e-mail for hands-on labs went out at 3:45 PM ET on January 9th (yesterday). Today, January 10th, every single lab is full, except for one about Websphere Portal. Oh, but don't despair!
At 5 minutes before session start time, standby and then gallery seating will be admitted. Any pre-registered enrollees arriving less than 5 minutes before start time will forfeit their spot and be seated based on standby availability.
Give me a freaking break. They only allow 25 people to sign up for what they call keyboard access, and 25 more as "keyboard helpers". I'm sure someone thought this was a good idea but it's not really solving anything. There are absolutely, positively no repercussions for not showing up. Anyone want to take bets on how many people sign up and don't show? I wouldn't be surprised if there were empty seats since there is now even less chance of getting in. Since you know that every seat is already spoken for how likely are you to stand around hoping for a second-hand scrap?

And yeah, this pissed me off so much I blogged on vacation.


  1. and, actually, the "repercussions" for not showing up are, well, you lose your seat. There will be enough stand-bys and gallery viewers to gladly take that seat when the person with the reservation no-shows. Like boarding United Airlines, you have to be there more than 5 minutes before the scheduled start time to claim your seat.

  2. My point about no repercussions is what is to prevent people from signing up for every hands-on lab with little real interest in going? Since they knew that it was first come, first served, they went ahead and put themselves down in case they decide they want to go.

    At least with the old system you knew the people who were waiting for 60 - 90 minutes were really interested in attending the lab.

    If Lotus is going to do a reservation system for something as highly valued as hands-on labs there must be some negative effect for signing up and not showing. Losing your seat isn't enough to dissuade people who didn't really plan on going in the first place.

  3. In the User Experience Lab (Asia 4) this year, we are specifically NOT pre-registering people. You can get a good hands-on experience by test-driving the current and next-generation of most Lotus products - but you have to agree to allow us to observe you and ask questions now and then. I'm going to be there in the back left corner with the latest Domino Designer build. My colleague Kathy Howard and I have 2 such activities: one involves doing usability tasks and another lets you roam around the interface on your own and give your thoughts on it. I'll also have 2 other really fun activities - come into the lab and see!

  4. I was wondering how fast these slots would go. I can understand Lotus wanting to better the problem of hands-on lab access, but I think this might take a bit more work. Maybe sign-ups on the day of the lab?

    @Chris: I definitely want to spend some time working with you in the UE Lab. :)