I'm not exactly sure which year I first began going to Lotusphere--I believe it was 1999, soon after I began working in the e-Learning field at the University of Wisconsin Learning Innovations. Whoever assembled the big picture mural at the conference -- thank you! It was quite fun looking back and remembering.
I think I've missed one since 1999. Like for many others, this conference has become like a family reunion for me. It's the only time of year I get to see many of these folks. In fact, I always get to see my former boss from UWLI who has long worked for IBM. I couldn't resist giving her a bear hug this year. I always come away from this conference excited by the product direction, insight and the great innovations
I did hear some grumbles about the OGS, but I was quite happy with it. No, Joe did not have the star appeal of Neal Armstrong or Walter Cronkite, but what they are doing at hitRecord.org is such a great example of what is possible through social collaboration that I'm very thankful to have heard their story. (Plus I loved the short video of The Man with a Turnip for a Head. Not sure how to embed it here, so just go see it on their website if you haven't.) And I know not much time was given to Notes 9 in the OGS, and I'd agree that more should have been. But there were many sessions available to get that information, both before and at the conference.
I could not help but be impressed by the pace of innovation happening with Connections--and that it seems the team there is really listening to suggestions from the community regarding where enhancements are needed and acting on those suggestions.
I did spend some time with some newbies at the conference. It was a bit hard to watch them get excited, and then get frustrated. Comments along the lines of, "Wow!" and "I had no idea IBM software could do that" and "they are so far ahead of the competition." Only to be followed by things like, "Whoever in IBM is responsible for advertising should be ashamed of themselves." Sigh. I've tilted at those windmills to no effect, but maybe they will wield the lance better than I. I've always found it hard to balance between reciting "It's the best of all possible worlds" and letting the emperor know his suit is just plain ugly.
So I head back to tend my garden (though it is covered in snow). It was absolutely wonderful to see so many wonderful people again at the conference. I hope I have the good fortune to do so again in 2014.