Lotusphere Comes to You Chicago

March 18 2008

Thoughts about Lotusphere Comes to You here in Chicago at the Intercontinental Hotel

- Great location. IBM has the Collaborative Summit at the Field Museum last fall, and today at the Intercontinental Hotel right on Michigan Ave. This after years of being in the basement of a no name hotel
- If it was not raining, foggy, or if I did not have a box of materials, I would have walked! 3 blocks from where I live ... love the location
- IBM had over 300 people register for the event. I would say over half of that attended. In a world where 50% of the registered folks attend, if is better than average. That being said, the Microsoft Heroes Happen Here event in Chicago had over 2,000 people. I guess free copies of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio.NET 2008, and Microsoft Vista with SP1 on the DVD was the draw. Would having DVD(s) of IBM software lift attendance?
- There is only one track and it is focused at product news and strategy. This year, LCTY is designed for decision makers. We have been asking for this for years.
- The problem with the decision maker focus is that this event has not drawn decision makers in the past. So while the content is perfect, the audience is mostly technical folks with some admins.
- More on the audience ... for the first time in years, I do not know the majority of folks at one of these events. Lots of new faces! And more decision makers than I have seen at a Lotus event in years ... we just need to triple that number
- The event is very yellow. Not always the "Lotus" yellow shade, but its everywhere. Tablecloths, decorations of lemons, bananas, and mangos.
- The food is great ... yellow (banana and mango) smoothies for breakfast. Lemon bars for desert at lunch.
- Lunch was the best food I have had at an event in years. While I expect great food at a hotel like this, you never know what gets ordered from catering. Can anyone remember the last time they have seen beef at a conference like this? And a no-charge event! Food quality was great.
- 20 partners at the event. Nortel, Ytria, and Extrafax were the 'national' folks I saw, with lots of local and regional consulting firms. We are showing Integra and talking about Notes 8, Quickr, and Connections.
- I love when a conversation starts with "Your John Head ... " and then end with "Can you introduce me to Ed? I have questions to ask him ..."
- IBM really needs to define why a customer should use Composite Applications in Notes 8 vs Composite Applications in Websphere Portal .. besides the rich client vs. web browser bullet point. I had lots of questions on this today.
- Coffee, Decaf, Hot Water, soda, sparkling and still water was available all day long.
- Heard great reactions from Ed's presentations ... people come to this event to hear Ed speak.
- Outside of the hard-core community. most people do not know about PlanetLotus, BleedYellow, OpenNTF, or IdeaJam. Let me put it this way ... way more people did not know about all 4 of those sites than those that did.
- The Business Partner showcase was in the same room as breakfast, the snacks, the beverages, the lunch desert, and the cocktail reception. Drove traffic to the partner desks very well.
- The afternoon snack was lemon bars, cupcakes with yellow icing, fruit sticks, and pretzels with yellow mustard. Talk about sticking to the yellow theme :-)
- The cocktail reception was great. We had Lotus Martinis, which were yellow with rum and pineapple, and a great cheese, bread and snack. Plus, they had music playing and a bar. Lots of leftover green Budweiser bottles (for those that have never been to Chicago for St Patty's Day celebrations .. all the restaurants and bars server bottled beer and the police ignore the open bottle law for a day).
- It was fun watching Ed try to walk across the room and get food or a drink without being stopped :-)

Overall, it was a great event. Organization came together very well. Talked with lots of people and have a couple very good leads to pursue. I believe IBM did a great job!