Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why I am NOT Changing My Moniker

This post is being written in the Dolphin hotel, where everyone in Orlando is gathered for the annual Collaboration lovefest called Connect 2013, formerly known as Lotusphere.

Some people may make fun of us, they may think it is out dated, they may believe there is nothing else to do, or care about this or just don't get it. Sure I speak in a bubble that has it's own terms, acronyms and quirks like any other solution out there, but it is one which I believe in very strongly.

As I sit here writing this, I am listening, watching the great video the Connect 2013 team provided everyone with the history of past Lotusphere events, most of which I have attended (I hope there is some Lotusphere Europe bits in there too). The great speakers, the executives, the cheers, the parties, the legendary "things that stay at Lotusphere", and more, that gave us great highs and few lows.

Many people this year asked me if I was dropping or changing my Twitter/Skype and other monikers that use Lotusevangelist. The answer is no, it stays, and will stay for however long I continue to do what I love.

There is no one pushing me to change the name, although I had thought about it this year, one of the sessions at Connect reminded me why I chose this title to leverage.

The session done by my evangelist idols, Luis Suarez, Louis Richardson and Luis Benitez brought to me what is important. My brand. My world, my readers, my friends and our greater good we could create.

Perhaps changing my moniker would be accepted, but that would deny what I am, what I believe and what I do.

My role, so to speak, as an IBM Champion for ICS and Websphere is to be a brand ambassador. Maybe this is idea of not changing my moniker is not inline with some people, but if you Get Social and understand it, you understand that your personal brand is very important to you. You work hard to grow your social influence, but without being a thought leader or technically competent, it is luck if you get anywhere. I am not that intelligent, plenty of great speakers this week cover and covered many topics, most likely better than I. However, when you need to explain solutions and work with management that may not understand the social imperative or the open business (Luis Suarez used this line tonight) direction this will lead your company, who would you prefer to put in front of that client? Someone who not only sells it and works on it, but also uses it and leverages it across products and geographies or someone who you can't even find on Linkedin?

There is nothing like IBM Domino and Notes, Sametime or Quickr out there that really does so much and in so many ways and with IBM Connections you get even more embedded into a realm that was started 20 or so years ago.

None of this is new, so what does this have to do with My Brand? One becomes connected, some say too much, but I don't think so because how can you get across and truly be authentic, when your name changes everywhere each year because of what the industry analysts decide to rename so they can sell more subscriptions?

Walking the halls here and people recognizing me and following me because they have that hope, the view, that I bring them hope or guidance to do what they may not have thought they could.

I want open business, not partially open business. My blog is public and open, anyone can read it and search and find it easily. It brings in business and if IBM did not have an issue naming me an IBM Champion or a Redbooks thought leader, who am I to argue with what works for me.

As Michael J. Fox said last year at Lotusphere 2012 on stage, "A lady gave birth in a tree, what have you got?"

When I believe in something strongly enough, I encourage others to do so as well. I encourage admins to see their lives through their boss or their bosses boss. I ask developers to think about the junior devs or admins like me that are weak on development skills when they share information. I help marketing people recognize there are more people out there they never even thought would use their products. I bring a global view that crosses cultures and is not bounded by geography, sales compensation plans or personal biases. I blog because I care about tomorrow and the person working on a problem or an idea at 3 AM and they need inspiration or support.

And I renew this belief every year I come to Orlando for the conference formerly known as Lotusphere that has graduated to be called Connect.