My post on the noticeable lack of fresh young faces at Lotusphere 2009 received some mixed feedback. The comments boiled down to 4 distinct categories: it’s hopeless: Notes is dead; it’s all good and there are young people working with technology; Lotusphere is too expensive to send young people; IBM isn’t doing enough pushing its technology in schools and colleges. When I decided to write that entry, I had some different ideas in mind.
I know that IBM isn’t doing enough and never will to promote its technology in the education market. IBM considers Lotus Notes to be an enterprise-level technology and doesn’t see a business case in giving it for free or at a steep discount to schools and colleges. I will wait for a Harvard Business School case study on how IBM lost its market share this way. But this is a post for another time.
I know that Lotusphere is quite expensive and the increased admission fee in today’s market did nothing to promote attendance this year.
What was interesting is that I wasn’t the only one who observed the shift in attendees demographics.
So let us think about this…
We, the Lotus faithful, the yellow bubble, have perhaps the most vibrant and interesting community out there. Unfortunately, as some of us had pointed out in the past, we live in an echo chamber, with our voices hardly ever being heard outside of the chamber.
The biggest thing that was missing for me during and after the Lotusphere was the simple and pure excitement. The kind of excitement we had when R5 came out and we all felt like the Superman. The kind of excitement I used to feel coming to Lotusphere eager to learn new stuff and then coming back to the office, excitement and new knowledge brimming over, couldn’t wait to share what I learned with others, couldn’t wait to start trying new things. That kind of excitement that is the domain of the young and the young at heart. This excitement was missing for me. It’s been missing for a couple of years. (Oh I can just see the comments I’m gonna get on this…)
So why is that? Is there no longer anything exciting enough coming out of the IBM/Lotus powerhouse? Or have we all gotten too old, too cynical and incapable or such excitement?
I was disappointed by the spirit of the material that came out of the yellow beanbag chairs. While some of it was good play-by-play account of the sessions, it was about as exciting as the coverage of soybean futures: great if you’re a soybean trader yourself, but does nothing to make me want to start trading soybeans.
The best reporting/blogging that came out of Lotusphere was by Jeff Widman on TechCrunch.com. This guy brought the genuine excitement back to the event. This being his first Lotusphere, he was discovering new and exciting things, secrets closely guarded by IBM: we have great software but we don’t want anyone to know it. Read his article on IBM beating Facebook and Twitter. Just wish Jeff would’ve written more after a week in Orlando.
The point of this entry is not to criticize or to bash anyone. I have the greatest respect for the bright and amazing individuals who got to occupy the much coveted beanbags. Consider this post a call to action or food for thought. The point is to call attention to what and how they and the other “Lotus-oriented” bloggers, including myself, write. Think of Jim Cramer’s Mad Money vs. mid-day commodities market coverage on Bloomberg. If you never traded on the market, which show would make you want to start? The play-by-play analysis of the market movements or the I-am-so-excited-about-this-stock-I-can’t-contain-myself approach of Jim?
So what do you think, folks? Can we rekindle the fire and the passion? Or will Blue Men be replaced by B.B. King signing “The thrill is gone” at the beginning of OGS 2010?
Let’s roll up our sleeves, smash a mug or 2, throw something across the room and scream “this stuff is THE stuff”!
Filed under: IBM, Lotusphere | Tagged: blogging, Excited about Lotus, Excitement, IBM, Lotus, Lotus Community, Lotusphere, techcrunch.com | Leave a comment »