Lotusphere 2008 - Let’s talk about Thursday Evening

October 19 2007

So one of my todos from last year's Lotusphere was to think about a better way to handle the community dinner on Thursday night. Last year, 40+ of us went to dinner at Shula's. Now, I really like it there. The problem was that we all expected to pay about $80. I think we ended up paying close to $200 per person. Now, no one is to blame ... but I think Kitty almost had a heart attack when she got the bill. And the line at the ATM was out of control.

So, I have been thinking about how to do this better this year. A way we can all hang out, interact, but do so in a way where we have better control of the price and do not piss off a restaurant by taking it over. So here is my first idea:

We rent of one the big rooms or hospitality suites at the Boardwalk. Leveraging my family that lives in Orlando, we can do a Costco run for beverages (water, soda, beer, wine, etc) and order food. Pizza or sandwiches or something like that. We set a price that everyone pays ... somewhere between $20 and $40 bucks. We can then spend the entire evening (and with Paul and Bill, most of the morning ... I will even make sure we get a bottle or 10 of sake Mr Mooney) celebrating the amazing week we just had. We can party and sleep on the floor. People leaving early Friday morning on flights can leave their bags in the room. Whatever. And we can handle more than 40 people.

So, what do we think? Thoughts, suggestions, comments? Let us not worry about the type of food at this point .. just the overall idea. Please link here and let's all chat. And maybe we can save Kitty from another reaction over a couple thousand dinner bill this year :-)

21 Responses to “Lotusphere 2008 - Let’s talk about Thursday Evening”

  1. 1) Chris Blatnick says:

    Sounds great...I'm in! :-)

  2. 2) Mika Heinonen says:

    Whaat? The price for LotuSphere is already so high that it should cover all costs! At least on the LotuSphere's I've been I never had to add one cent more, but just leach all of Lotus offerings for the full money.

  3. 3) Julian Robichaux says:

    Mika: this is just an informal get-together/dinner that a lot of us do on Thursday night, after Lotusphere is over. Nothing official or IBM-related about it. Just dinner with friends.

    John: I think that's a great idea to get a hospitality suite on the boardwalk. If nothing else, let's get some prices and see what we're talking about. Heck, put a gas grill out back and I'll even cook some burgers.


  4. 4) John Head says:

    Julian - if we have 40 people, and we do 40 bucks a person, we can do the room and the food. I already did some informal pricing. We just need a concensus.

    Mika - you have already said you are not attending Lotusphere ... why are you even chiming in?

  5. 5) Richard Schwartz says:

    Yeah, that bill at Shula's was painful. Especially for people who didn't drink but ended up paying for it.

    But gotta be careful about hotel rules for public rooms. Most of the time, they require that they supply all food and drink. May be different for hospitality suites that double as guest-rooms, but my recollection is that the years Penumbra did that the room really wasn't big enough for the number of people we had at Shulas, and we went with hotel catering anyhow. Don't recall if it was because it was easiest, or if we had to.

  6. 6) Mikkel Heisterberg says:

    Sounds like a great idea and a nice way to finish off a, hopefully, great week. I assume an informal gathering much like at the blogger meet-up on Saturday. It's gonna be great! :-)

  7. 7) Jess Stratton says:

    I'd love to get together anywhere we can. I'd rather eat mediocre food and get more quality time to hang with everyone than spend more money on better food and not get to see everyone. Shula's was nice, but to me, it's definitely more about the folks than it is the food. Pizza, sandwiches, etc, good. It's definitely important that we are able to eat dinner, but I'm not really picky about what that is. I'd rather have a kickin' goodbye party with all my friends. :-)

  8. 8) Joe Litton says:

    John, I'll see if i can locate pricing I'd gotten last year regarding reserving a room at the Brewpub - or whatever that joint is called on the Boardwalk.

    Yeah, Shula's was a huge shock when the bill came. A number of us had gathered there the year before and the per-head bill was half of what it was last year. Not sure where we went wrong!

    Like Jess said, the MAIN thing is getting together with the people. It doesn't matter to me where we gather or what we eat.

    I think the price I'd been quoted last year was around $60/person for unlimited food and beer/soda/coffee. The food was to be selected ahead of time, so they'd have a buffet waiting. There are several options available, so I'll scour my archives.

    Thanks, John, for thinking of this!!!

  9. 9) Wild Bill says:

    Its insane. Inprobable. Unrealistic. Crazy.

    Count me in!

    ---* Bill

  10. 10) Phil Randolph says:

    I'm totally in agreement with Jess and Joe...something manageable (or at least in the ballpark of manageable) price-wise would be very much appreciated. I'm not about any of the fancy stuff (which really didn't taste that great anyway), and would just like to hang out with you all at the end of the thing. Count me in if we can work out something like this!

  11. 11) Paul Mooney says:

    Funny thing is that Wednesday nights is usually the big killer (well it is for me as most you lot end up in my room drinking) so that nice resteraunt was kinda wasted on some of us (Note - most likely myself and Devin).

    Yeah - all that sounds like it makes more sense to me - Im easy as long as there is beer and some snacks and a way to have a laugh.

  12. 12) Rob McDonagh says:

    Let's make it "decent beer" and otherwise I'm with Mooney.

    Beer snob alert: And by decent, I do NOT mean a keg of Coors Lite, Julian (see email thread)! *shudder* I need the option of something dark, a stout (Guinness) or a porter (a la Sierra Nevada).

    The only things I'd wonder about would be the size of the room (some of the hospitality rooms are too small when you get 20-30 people in there, and we'll have 50 easily) and the possible "legal/house rules" issues about catering vs sneaking in food and alcohol.

  13. 13) Paul Mooney says:

    Also - em... we can be quite loud - any chance of us pissing off the other people on that floor (or adjacent hotel :) ) and getting chucked?

  14. 14) Jess Stratton says:

    Paul, too funny if we could all book the entire floor to stay in ourselves... then there'd be no one to piss off, we'd all be at the party.

    GOSH it would be like college in the dorms all over again... except with beer that cost more than $7 per case. :-)

  15. 15) Richard Schwartz says:

    Well, the getting quite loud part is in fact a potential problem if one is trying to get around house rules regarding catering and food service.

  16. 16) Richard Schwartz says:

    I meant catering and liquor service.

  17. 17) Duffbert says:

    I'm game... Sounds like a great unwind... Let me know if I can help out at all.

  18. 18) Devin Olson says:

    IF I make it to Lotusphere this year, count me in. I think Richard and Rob are correct; the hotel may have issues with # of people and who supplies the food / drinks.

    I wonder what it would cost to charter a bus to/from House of Blues, and set up a private dinner (show) there?

    Oh, and if anybody is interested, I have a scan of last year's Shula's bill in my post here: { Link }


  19. 19) John de Giorgio says:

    Excellent idea and very brave of you John. Count the Integra folks in. :-)

  20. 20) Gregg Eldred says:

    I am specifically flying out on Friday so that I can attend this event. :-)

  21. 21) Charles Robinson says:

    I missed this the first time around. Has anything been done? Did I miss a follow-up post? :-)

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