Friday, October 8, 2010

Me vs. We and how one Database is the difference

On my flight back home last night, LATE last night, we were discussing the way of the world and how it affects Lotus and IBM.

Sometime after 9/11(my guess, but truly it changed many things in the world)many people began to see the world differently.

Instead of standing by on the sidelines or going with the flow, people instead wanted to be heard or known or be an ASW (attention seeking whore) or on reality TV, thanks Andy Warhol. Many also have chosen to go very high minded ways to change the environment or laws or get into space commercially and as IBM says help become a Smarter Planet. So all is not lost.

BUT, prior to 9/11, there was much more willingness on behalf of everyone to share and be open rather than closed or finding their own way amid the traffic or chaos as some say exists.

Even social networking/media is a community, but a silo at the same time. Take twitter or Facebook as an example. Yes we all have many friends and followers but do we truly take part in 1,000's of conversations? Or do we instead focus on a few or only a select group of those friends? Do you reach out to others you do not know on those sites to share experiences or help them?

The answers to these questions say a lot about you and the choices you will make regarding nearly everything else in your world. Many readers of the Lotus faithful, I would hope, are openly social and encourage others to do so as well. It is in our nature to want to help people or at least share our knowledge, for better or worse, with others. After all it was what we found so exciting about some bits of code called Lotus Notes in the first place. Developers may have fallen in love with the openness of the solution or it's close relationship to 1-2-3 back then or a million other things. Either way, when we all go to Orlando for Lotusphere or a LUG event or whenever our paths cross, we are able to work together and discuss different ideas and accept it as a good thing to do.

When one has the perspective of not wanting to share information because it has a value or it could hurt or help someone but doesn't extend that effort, what choices will they be making?

Many times I have posited that executives that choose Microsoft are not true sharing people, just because the product is called Sharepoint does not mean you will be sharing, more likely you will share anything ...up to a point, thus its name. In a world about me and what I want or what I say or that everyone wants to be on a reality TV show, is it any wonder someone would prefer to go with a line of products that is focused on silos and individuals or making someone a fiefdom inside IT a data center or a business line?

(Small digression, sorry but I do not understand the Reality TV interest or those that watch it. Having said that I enjoy watching the Miami Dolphins, win or lose, so what does that say about me I guess?)

Yes, I hear you say, but what about Google?

Google is a socialist organization masquerading as a capitalist one. Some may argue it in reverse as well. What they promote is not the team collaborative effort, although Buzz and Wave and other pieces seem to point to that direction, they really are providing the individual the ability to be unique, grab attention and have people pursue more ways to promote themselves.

Now how does all this compare to Lotus Connections? Isn't Connections just another IBM me too in the world?

On the surface, it may appear that way. And for good reason, if you have been reading this post until now. IBM is not stupid, they understand where the minds of the people are and they built Connections based on the new paradigm. Yes I realize it was put together by a bunch of pieces from IBM but the integration is what makes it come alive as by themselves they would be meaningless. Like instant messaging in Lotus Sametime without presence awareness.

However, the underlying connectivity of Connections to integrate to your calendar or email or phone or IM and nearly anything else is what proudly and undeniably stamps on it's forehead "Lotus Notes Lives". Sure, Notes and Domino are not even part of it's installation. But when one looks at Connections you can see how that lotus Notes R1 version of a discussion database, which still is alive and well inside Iris, is still at the core of the world today.

The lowly discussion database where anyone, with access, could post, comment, diatribe, link, attach or just say yes or no, is still the heart and soul of Lotus products like Connections or Quickr. Even if Lotus is now a brand inside of IBM, the yellow heartbeat is there just underneath a blue layer of Websphere.

So while the truly religious will argue "But it's not Domino!" We never fell in love with Domino(don't get me wrong, we did and do all the time), we fell in love with Lotus Notes before Domino even existed in beta. Splitting hairs perhaps to some but I think you get my point.

A little discussion database that could, and look where that little database took us all 20+ years later?

So when you hear about Project Vulcan and are trying to grasp it all and what it will mean, I believe the vision IBM has for it's future, is still that same vision as in R1. Namely that sharing of information or data and providing more and more ways to get access to it in a simple and easy fashion, is not a way to do something, but THE way to do it and the world seems to be agreeing.