Random thoughts from an unusual company

Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

Gabriella Davis  10 February 2011 01:15:30
Lotusphere is the highlight of my working year.  Actually work is pretty much my life so Lotusphere is pretty much it for me.  My first official LS trip was 1995 in my last corporate job , Tim took holiday to come with me and  I remember sitting in the Port Orleans going through the pocket agenda to work out how to see the most sessions and still have time to play hooky.  I've been every year since and from 1996 it's been as The Turtle Partnership along with Tim and Mike.

My Lotusphere experience has changed drastically in 17 years but one thing remains the same, every year Lotusphere finishes before I do half what I planned. Every year I try and set a new challenge for myself, to do something that scares me.   So here's my personal scorecard on Lotusphere and my part in it:

Overall Score (4.5 Gabs out of 5)
I rely on Lotusphere to give me energy and give me a positive boost for the year and this year didn't fail me.  There was no huge technical news but the big business social message was very welcome, I had more customers there than had been present in many years and everyone wants to get started on upgrading or expanding their environment.

The Lotusphere Message  (3.5 Gabs Out Of 5)
Enough people already have commented on their opinions of the OGS and Lotusphere in general.  From my perspective I came away from the OGS with the impression that Lotus had very much taken a back seat to IBM and that IBM were committing fully to "social business" not having an entirely formed idea of what that is but knowing that the Lotus software is their best way to bring that to market.  What I care about is that IBM is recognising the value of this Lotus software and investing in its future, whether it's Domino, Notes Vx (great to see a Vulcan demo in the Notes client), mobile Sametime advancements, Connections or Quickr.  

Presentations Attended (1.5 Gabs Out Of 5)
There's no getting out of it, I didn't manage to attend more than 30% of the presentations I had hoped to.  Partly due to conflicts with my existing schedule (the Sametime OGS was against my own session) and partly due to falling victim to the "there's 5 things to do in this hour, which one should I choose". Luckily all the sessions were available on Lotusphere online and I have pulled the ones I missed offline to review.  In the Show and Tell track especially (which I help organise along with Christian Holsing and Paul Mooney) the sessions are designed to be step by step standalone instructions.

I start very early on highlighting sessions and adding to my calendar ones I want to attend so now I can look at those calendar appointments and relive "oh I never made that one either".  It may be time to accept that I can't make that many sessions on site.

Presentations Given (well I completed them all, no-one attempted to gnaw off their arms to get out and the evaluations are excellent so I'm giving them a 4 Gabs Out of 5 but not taking credit)
Thanks to the stellar presenters who I remora onto - Andrew Pollack and Paul Mooney.  It's always fun presenting with both of them because it's easy.  I'm an obsessive over-preparer and they deal with it in different ways, Andrew just ignores me and Paul is as obsessive as me.

Nerd Girls (5 Gabs out of 5)
Nerd Girls were everywhere this year, presenting and attending and we shared out nearly 2000 Nerd Girl badges worn by guys and girls alike ("My daughter's a Nerd Girl" was very popular).  We'll definitely be continuing with the buttons, we want women to know that there are tons of us technical Nerd Girls out there and we want you to join us.  I also had the honour of moderating the Nerd Girl Panel entitled "Work is not a romance novel, or a football game", I may have been the most talkative moderator ever known.  Thanks to the entire panel who joined along with the presentation. Eileen Fitzgerald, Susan Bulloch, Kathy Brown , Darren Duke (who I hijacked onto the panel 3 mins before the start), Kristen Lauria, Mary Beth Raven and Sacha Chua.  The audience had some great questions and as usual we were just getting going when we ran out of time. We hope to repeat these panels at conferences and user groups throughout 2011 and will be launching a Nerd Girl site in the near future.  

Great Geek Challenge (5 Gabs out of 5)
I think this was a great success.  It was the Nerd Girls' first attempt at throwing a quiz challenge which we held in The Fountain restaurant in the Dolphin hotel.  We discovered at the last minute we'd need to pay a set fee to make sure we had space and thanks to our wonderful sponsors we were able to do that.  So a HUGE thank you to Epilio, Panagenda, GSX, PSC, Collaboration Matters, Shireburn software, Effective Software, David's Heart & Soul Custom Motorcycles and the fantastic authors of the Sametime User Guide - Tom Duff and Marie Scott.  We could not have done it without all your contributions.

We packed the place out, a very tired but determined Paul Mooney was our MC and we had rounds on Sci Fi, Comics, Lotus History, Food and Drink, Cult TV, Science - the questions were fiendish enough that some teams scored 0 on some rounds but everyone had fun (possibly due to the open bar) and our lucky winning team received a giant duct tape trophy (as designed by Francie Tanner) and a universal remote in the shape of a wand from The Wand Company.  Oh and a giant bowl of ice cream with 7 flavours, 5 toppings, 3 sauces, whipped cream and nuts.

Friends (4 Gabs out of 5)
I got to hang out with friends I only see once a year, meet with customers I haven't seen face to face in months and talk to lots of attendees.  If you were one of the people who came up to me after a session or stopped me in a corridor during the week to ask a question or just to say you enjoyed my session, I also mean you.  I meet new people every year and some people I only ever get to see at conferences and yes, I do sometimes blow out going to a session in favour of hanging out with a friend or customer but that's what Lotusphere is all about for me.

A special thanks to that genius of shopping Kitty Elsmore who took me to an outlet mall where I bought knock-off Sketchers Shape Ups for 20 dollars that were like walking on air for the week.  I highly recommend arriving at LS on Saturday and going to an outlet mall to buy cheap, comfortable shoes.  

Swimming (4 Gabs out of 5)
Lotusphere is hard work and there's not much time for sleep but last year and again this year I made myself a  promise that I would swim every morning.  Every morning at 5.30am the alarm went off and by 5.45am I was in the pool at the Dolphin doing laps for 45 mins.   I don't have my exercise bike with me in Florida but having a swim every morning is a great way to refresh and get the day started.  I'm happy no-one else has thought of it though.

A great start to the year and I hope to continue attending user groups throughout 2011 and see everyone again at Lotusphere 2012.


1Tom  11/02/2011 05:00:00  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

And thank you for the great Saturday that we were able to spend with you and Tim. I never feel like a Lotusphere has been successful unless I get a chance to sit down for a couple hours with someone and get past the "hi, how you doin'" stage... You most definitely provided that this year.

2Mary BEth Rave  11/02/2011 05:02:54  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

3Mary Beth Raven  11/02/2011 05:04:13  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

heh it's late. sorry about the content-free comment above :)

I am really impressed that you got up to swim!

and I want the thank you very publicly for all the work you put into the Nerd Girls - it is growing and I felt a great deal of enthusiasm this year!

4Bill  11/02/2011 10:46:47  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

There's a pool at the Dolphin ?

Actually, this year, thanks to some red wine at the GSX dinner, I had to hunt down the laundry and wash+iron some shirts. Which was the most chilled out 30 minutes of the week.

---* Bill

5Paul Mooney  11/02/2011 11:27:29  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

As I always say - its the combination of Russian Jewish Lady and Irish Catholic man "guilt" that makes us both so obsessive with content and detail. Love presenting with you as always Gab.

6Chris Miller  11/02/2011 15:24:29  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

Whether watching you on stage, sitting for a dinner or just catching a chat in the chairs in the Swan, I look forward to your annual trip.

We have a strange cycle of seeing each other during the year and I look forward to each visit!

7Kitty Elsmore  14/02/2011 13:33:58  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

I'm loving my Shape-Ups Gab; and they are definitely making my legs work!

Always happy to hit the shops with you my friend :-)

8Ray Bilyk  14/02/2011 15:50:29  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

Will there be an opportunity to get 'Nerd Girl' stuff online in the future? I would love to get my daughter and niece a button (or more).

9Kitty Elsmore  15/02/2011 12:15:00  Personal Lotusphere 2011 Scorecard - Did It Kick My A** Again?

Hey Ray!

We have a Zazzle storefront: { Link } which we'll be expanding over time. There are some original buttons (from LS 2010) on there at the moment.

K xx