(If this post sounds a bit world weary its not meant to be)
Sooooo, the ‘last lotusphere’ has come and gone, leaving a warm feeling* and more than a few tears, how did IBM handle the passing of one of their longest running conferences.
It was a far smaller conference (or rather intimate as IBM have stated) but it was sized as such so we were not rattling around in the 11,000 space that we have for previous years, there seemed to be just over 2000 of us with a few space issues, it looks like IBM padded the numbers a little bit too much with their own staff (although with IBM staff no one knew or cared about while denying access to the people the comunity really wanted to see)
Looking at the new offerings it feels like a major change coming from IBM, during the good times IBM products did 80% of what the clients wanted with the parters like LDC filling in the remaining 20%, however in the last few years IBM products have only been providing 50%-60% of what clients wants (compared to the competition) meaning people simply did not buy them and thus the partners got to provide 0%, now IBM seem to be fighting back with their design team leading the charge, however to me they seem to aiming to provide about 95% of what clients want…will the remaining 5% be worth waiting round for? (though it has been pointed out to me that 5% of a much bigger pie would still be a good thing)
To me a lot of what is shown was designed for users not partners, I think that the age of partners is nearly over
- On par with GMail (even if there is a lot of mad icon placement)
- Some unique features such as the mute thread and the waiting for action (ooooh is that going to be abused by managers), xpages intergeneration side verse and running on bluemix.
- Lots of new features a lot of them aimed at the cloud, I need to have a look at them in detail to pass judgement, but such a sudden jerk away from on premises, runs a bad risk of angering existing customers while not gaining any new ones,
Julian and Ben handled the night time work and the socialising, I seemed to end up talking to partners while wearing smart trousers and a shirt (I’m not sure how this happened), but it was good talking about a real product we have built and how we could glue it to other vendors offerings to build something even better.
Matt was hugely missed but as he and his good lady were getting ready for the arrival of their second born I suppose we can let it slide just this once (but don’t let it happen again)
I did not do hardly any drinking or going out this year mainly due to being shattered at the end of each day and also having work to do, but the turtles ( Gab, Tim and Mike) insisted that I go out for a round Epcot pub crawl (a drink at every country) which turned out to be one of the best nights I have ever had at the conference, why Why WHY had we never done this before
Personally this was the most business orientated conference I have ever done, other than the fact I was in jeans less than half the time, this was the first time I have got to go to the leadership Alliance, that and the champion status let me talk to a lot more people about “stuff” than I ever have before. there was also far less “conferencing” for me, I did not attend the closing sessions or any of the IBM parties but still only managed a few hours sleep a night as there was so much going on (I was also looking for work and that takes up time)
The session of the conference goes to Mark Roden’s and Mark Leusinks excellent “The future of web development write once, run everywhere with angular js and domino” which had everything a good session should have
- Topical (AngularJS)
- Relevant to target audience (Domino)
- Interesting and well presented
- Something to take home (the app is live)
Happily my own session went over quite well, with a reasonable turn out (my sessions being so fringe are never that well populated) and excellent audience participation. so I’m happy.
Where does this leave next year??, the merging of this conference into the giant IBM one in Vegas makes a lot of sense to a certain marketing point of view, but it would also kill the life and technical content of the conference formally known as lotusphere, leaving only the lugs to go to if you want to learn anything, but as marketing hold the purse strings for this kind of thing I dare say they will have their way (booo)
All in all a great conference and even if it was the last one it was a great send off, roll on [Engage](http://engage.ug/) in march
*Like pissing your self in a dark suit