Wednesday, August 28, 2013

MWLUG Report

mwlug yellow bag

It has been 2 years since I attended and presented at MWLUG and I have missed it. The core group of about 200 customers that can just drive over for the event and the vendors and partners and IBMers that fly in all come for the same reason, the community and knowledge.

And beer.

Beer is a big part of MWLUG and always has been, probably because the idea was hatched while the founders were having one. Isn't that when the best ideas are devised?

The event location was the old Union Station filled with beautiful architectural reminders of an era long gone. The stained glass window is from the North facing window of the main room which used to be the entrance to the station.
stained glass window union station indianapolis sheraton

Sadly, I missed the opportunity to go to the Indianapolis Speedway tour but waved to everyone from my flight above the track.

Saw friends, both near and far, and even some customers who knew me when they were business partners and consultants.

The first day I got in late and missed the classes going on but did pop in to fellow IBM Champion  Bill Malchilsky's session on Linux enablement which if you want Linux or need it or are thinking about it, Bill is your man.

We made our way to the first evening event, the microbrew tasting. Which knowing some of the people involved would produce some interesting ideas. You can see the mix of offerrings from this picture I took.
beers of MWLUG
The winner turned out to be a distributor of someone else's finest but that did not stop everyone from having a great time.

We then moved to the main room where we had the event sponsors peddling their wares and we had time to chat up customers and friends.

Thursday morning found us eagerly awaiting the OGS where we heard from Josh Bleill, the Indianapolis Colts Community Spokesperson. Josh just wowed everyone with his determination and positive outlook on life. Nothing is insurmountable.

After Josh, Scott Souder, Program Director, Messaging and Collaboration Solutions for IBM provided some sneak peaks at what is coming in the future. Notes/Domino 9.0.1 due out late October. Scott talked about how at this point of the year IBM already has more renewals from customers that have not renewed in prior years than they did last year. In other words, customers are upgrading again and there is business for all of us Business Partners!

Scott also brought some secret things to share like Project Hawthorn, more on this in a different post, and a new unnamed product which will knock the socks off you when it comes out. Come to Connect 2014 for more details is all he said we could say about it. Scott also introduced everyone to Kramer Reeves who is his boss. Kramer is Director of Product Management, ICS and has plans to help not just customers but business partners as well to sell and support everyone the way they need it.

After the morning sessions off to lunch and then the daily sessions.

I was working on my own demo and session but sat in on Chris Miller's excellent session on the web, social life and privacy. Get his slides and think about it, hopefully he posted them someplace. Of the people in the room only a few do everything and there is much to think about. Save your wallet and headache and go get his session.

My session, The Boss is Anti-Social ..HELP! which I already posted the slides here, had at the core of it people who work in a non-social atmosphere or have managers that do not understand them. The session was a mix of older thoughts and information coupled with literally the night before ROI cases that I received via email that highlight the sales benefits of being more social in business. All links are included in the slides so enjoy. No matter what your industry is, you can be social on the outside and interactive with your customers and vendors. Yes, some will complain, but they just want your love otherwise they will just leave and you will never hear from them again.

The evening event was spent in a brewery and billiard hall where everyone could focus their time and get to know each other better. Questions about certification, Sametime, Connections, Notes and Domino, competitive information and more all took place.

Friday saw Karl Lawall, an IBM Program Director for Collaboration Solutions, Social Communications and Sametime Worldwide Sales showing off Sametime 9 which will be coming out shortly. The video integration and revised mobile clients and device functionality will make life so much better for the A/V jet setting people. 

And then I had to go home which was an all day journey it seemed, sorry I had to leave early on Friday.

Thanks to Richard Moy, Sam Bridegroom, Gregg Eldred (sadly was held back from attending),  and Ray Bilyk for a great event and I hope everyone returns for next year when it is in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For all my friends and customers always nice to see you and let's meet up again in Orlando in January 26-30 at Connect 2014 if not sooner.

Hyper Smash

Monday, August 26, 2013

White Papers Suck but They Don't Have To

Write your white papers, make them worth reading, not boring old professor articles.

Have fun in them, make them topically relevant if product specific or connect them to a long standing service or profession. They should be like reading the best album inserts, sorry, CD covers, that bring out the personality of the band or their music.

Perhaps stop making white papers and start producing videos of real people discussing your product. Wait, you probably do that.

Blog the white paper information over the course of a few days or weeks to grow some interest. You probably do that too.(Bet most of you do not)

Do a podcast about your company or solution that people can listen to and hear your excitement come alive. You probably do this too.

So why do you insist on writing white papers no one reads?

Because either you were told to and could not argue yourself out of a paper bag or are an old time marketer or company that just knows executives love to read these. I admit, I have been asked at times about a white paper or details from a vendor but I have never given them to a client. Sales people who have worked with me know I am against white papers on many levels.

Why would a perfectly sane and capable person want to have me go and find something they could do? Because they want you or me out of the way. No sale until you bring me proof in a white paper. No, bad salesman, no cookie.

What will an executive glean from the document that will sway them to buy from you over the other people who sent him their white papers? Nothing, bingo.

Maybe there is something to these documents that really speaks to executives. This is what you and I are for, we present information tailored to you, our clients, in a way that no white paper will ever do. When was the last time you read a white paper that explained social media using golf analogies? (If you know of any, please comment with links)

Stop wasting your time, please, I beseech you, put your excellent editing to usage and write more blog posts. Transform your glossies and pdf files into working, active living documents. You have the power, it was just sucked out of you to write that last 35 page white paper.

Someone has a course on writing White Papers called "No More Boring White Papers" really, here is the link. I found this link because a few days ago, this blog post was published by Rachel Foster. I do not know Rachel but hope she appreciates me sending her some link love.

In a similar vein but possibly where all of this leads, I found this old posting.Written in 2003, with the title, oddly enough, How Win an Award for Your White Paper. Yes, you can not make this up, that is the real title. One of the three criteria is editorial quality, not sure you want them as judges.

What if you do write such an awesome paper that people actually read it and recommend it to other people? Congratulations and please let me get a link to it.

At the end of this blog post, White Paper Worst Practices by  Lauren Moody and Randall Cronk they state:
A great white paper can be a powerful tool in your campaign, while a terrible one will do a lot of damage to both your brand and your online social presence. And while the shock treatment can be an effective writing strategy, writing badly is not the best way to implement it. That is, of course, unless you don’t want to be a writer in the first place, and would rather someone else take that role. If that’s the case, please try our free marketing copy edit before you hurt yourself!
Need help, and who doesn't these days, give them a try but read their blog post, it was well done.

Friday, August 23, 2013

MY MWLUG Presentation on Anti_Social Management

My session, The Boss is Anti-Social...HELP! was a grand time for everyone and if you want the slides here is the link to them:

I am happy to help anyone that needs to make a pitch or provide more details to their management.

It was a great time and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Everything is Just in Time (JIT), well almost everything

Just in Time Key
Have you ever been working at home, or the office, when you get a phone call from a sales person who is just dying to send you their latest white paper?

Ever hang up directly, if you even took the call? I normally talk to the people and try to understand the logic of what they are doing. Obviously this is their job, however, if they could open the mind of the company they work for, they might get further in their efforts.

Usually I point out to them that calling me, when I certainly did not ask them to do so, is not likely to be helpful to their cause. That aside, I then ask, if you were going to email it to me anyway, why not just email it to start and not waste your time calling? Either way, my spam solution will probably block it because it should know by now, I do not like emails with the words found that include "free white paper".

Decades ago when I was in college and hating my economics classes, JIT was discussed and technology has truly brought us to a world where everything is JIT. Outside of customization for something, or having a baby, everything else could be done JIT. Education could be, but that is a whole other post. We all want that Matrix like power to just know how to do something we never did before.

A friend of mine had questioned about the benefits of a newsletter or even blogging in general over some other formats. My feeling is the former is like blogging and I do believe in blogging. Do I expect you to read this blog post or any other when it is posted? Some of you will, but next week or month or year more people will find it. Maybe for a report, maybe for a presentation, or just because I tagged it with something that brought you here. You will find it when you need it. My technical posts are written for long term searching so everyone can benefit from the things I found earlier on in my career. One of my most hit posts is about the iNotes Redirector and is from 2009 which gets viewed daily. That is Just in Time help.

I am not a white paper person. Like many others, I trust my friends recommendations, not some paid for document produced by a company selling something. If I need your white paper for a client, I would hope they already found it but if not I will certainly use Google to find it.

One thing you can not do JIT is create an audience. Got a new app? How will you push out to the world? Have something to say to the world, how will they hear you? Building your audience takes time and then once you reach a critical mass stage, it then becomes a JIT plan. Apple now has millions of devices sold JIT on day one for whatever device is newly available. We all want to be like that, but think about this, it took Apple just under 25 years to get to this level. How long do you have?
Timeline of Apple Milestones Infographic

JIT tools or data can only be found once someone else has put in the time and effort to create it or create something to provide what you seek. We all need a little JIT but how often do we create information for the next person in line? Collaboration, social business or just plain communication only comes from someone else who went first to clear a path for the rest of us.

My posts are for the JIT person, searchable and helpful when you need it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Do you know what today is? Vampires Get Social Day

57 years ago, the world lost a master craftsman. His repertoire on stage and screen was legendary.

I am of course talking about Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó, better known to you and I by his stage name, Bela Lugosi.

Yes he had off screen issues, but what Hollywood actor/actress doesn't? The Vampires represent so much of what is wrong in our world, the xenophobia, the lack of understanding, the limitations imposed by outside forces are not just how we see them, but really how we see ourselves as well.

I have a new post over at the IBM Social Business Insight Blog and since I did not think IBM wanted to commemorate Bela's untimely death, I figured I should.

Here is the introductory paragraphs, please go enjoy the rest of it, especially the postscript on the IBM site.

Fear is a strong motivator, sometimes for change and other times for stagnation. Even if you’re afraid to move forward, eventually you’ll need to act. If your organization is averse to using social media for business, does that come from management, your culture or the individuals themselves?
Maybe the reason we have no vampires in modern times is because they have become afraid of social media. Bela Lugosi, leveraging his authentic looks and natural voice, could scare people really well - but even monsters have an Achilles’ heel. Dracula's downfalls were fire, sunlight, garlic and supposedly wood stakes to the heart. However, something even more insidious was at work that brought the vampires down: it was modern man.

*No vampires were harmed during the course of writing this blog post. Any inference of living or undead is purely a coincidence and at the whim of the author. You can register as prey at where replies will be swift.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Free Competitive Discussions at MWLUG

It was 3 years ago when I last posted this on my blog. and the conversations we had then went well into the night and days. Sadly due to scheduling conflicts I had to miss out on the last 2 years. But I am back and looking to see everyone again.

And I am happy to say I will be doing it again at MWLUG 2013. Which if you are near the area, you should definitely be going to this can't miss event. Where else can you attend a charity brewfest competition featuring your fellow administrators and developers?

I will be enjoying the Crowne Plaza Hotel Downtown Union Station in Indianapolis, Indiana during MWLUG where it all takers place.

If you will be attending MWLUG or are around Wen afternoon or evening we can discuss how to handle objections, executive decisions, political turf and other routes to unrest which may cause you or your organization or clients to question their future directions.

So email me, send me a Tweet, G+ me, Skype me.

I will be around until Friday morning and looking forward to seeing everyone.

Friday, August 2, 2013

1 Year Completed, 6.5 To Go

When I was in college and heard about this I tried to do it then. I tried a few years later with my roommates post college, but could not get into it. In some ways, technology has helped me to accomplish this goal, which is probably not the intended result you may think it is.

Imagine if you actually read every page of a 3,000 page wiki how long would it take you? Now nearly double that number and you get an idea where I am going.

Last year on August 3rd, 2012, the 13th cycle of the worldwide studying of the Talmud, known as Daf Yomi, began with Brachot, which means blessings. I started this as a deal with my kids since we were home schooling them last year. I figured if they had to learn on their own so to speak, so did I. Not to imply I do not learn regularly, I do, not every day at that time, but on a weekly basis I have been for years.

The novel idea of Jews in all parts of the world studying the same daf, or page front and back, each day, with the goal of completing the entire Talmud, was put forth at the First World Congress of the World Agudath Israel in Vienna on 16 August 1923 by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, then Rav ofSanok, Poland, and future rosh yeshiva, Head of School,  of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin.(from Wikipedia)

Picture the effort required to go through all 2,711 pages, in fact 5,422 since it is front and back of a page we cover, to the known Babylonian Talmud. There are two versions of the Gemara or Talmud. One version was compiled by scholars of Israel, primarily of the academies of Tiberias and Caesarea, which was published between about 350-400 CE.("yirushalmi") The other version by scholars of Babylonia, primarily of the academies of SuraPumbedita, and Mata Mehasia, which was published about 500 CE.("Bavli") By convention, a reference to the "Gemara" or "Talmud," without further qualification, refers to the Babylonian version. (from Wikipedia)

Naturally it is not all exciting or interesting to modern man, especially when discussing topics of ceremonies no longer in usage since the Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. However, one learns quite a bit about economics, law, finance, human relations, spirits (both medicinal and supernatural), farming, families, governments, management and of course holidays and details for the Jewish religion.

Doing this does not make one a Rabbi, although if one had more time, in parallel, one could obtain ordination by the end. Learning more details about common accepted ideas or topics and finding out where other references come from has been enlightening, to say the least. 

Technology which is generally outlawed on Shabbat and other holidays has provided more people the benefit of learning, not just the Daf Yomi but every day things as well. One can listen to podcasts from teachers, read translations in their own languages, Skype with people across the world and still have everyone learning the same page on the same day. This is nothing new, but for me and others that travel for work, it has made it much easier. Last year I was able to be in Raleigh, London, Las Vegas, New York to name a few places I benefited from the internet and the technology available.

Here's to 6.5 more years!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Get out of your shell and live a little

Ad agencies depend on people working together to create campaigns for their clients. Sometimes there is one leader and the rest are just part of their team. The use of IBM Notes and Domino provide that easy way to manage information and provide access to it from multiple channels.

I know, hard to believe, but this has been the case for most of the 20 years Lotus Notes has been around. Browser, phone, tablet and access across multiple clients of MAC, Linux and Windows. Get out of your shell and live a little.

Prefer Gmail? Great, they are finally getting to understand what companies need from an Enterprise email solution. They will catch up someday, if they stay with it.

Maybe people do not like the UI. I hate Saab's, I think they are ugly cars, but people love them. And that's okay, I have a choice in which car I buy. Do you like the iPhone but only get Android from work? Tough luck, but they pay the bills and in the end it is just a phone with apps and works only as well as your admins let it, or your service provider.

If you view Notes as an email client, you are giving up on the real benefits it provides you on an individual and team basis. Personal databases, while seeming to sound difficult, are really easy to implement and produce a wealth of benefits from saved time to find information, reducing email sizes through using links instead of attachments, security levels which are almost non-existent in Outlook even blog posting and wiki editing offline. For more you can see examples at

Does using one email client over another really cause emails to be delayed 2 days? Of course not. Those are server side issues for administrators to manage.

What about the meeting invitations appearing differently? Here's a great question for you, ask your internal email marketing team how many different variations of email/phone/device clients they need to test for before they send a message out. How many do they truly test? Because of changes Microsoft made in how Outlook and Exchange render HTML over the years you would need to test with every version.

It would be nice if all systems were utilitarian and open and not created in such ways to push the boundary of RFC SMTP guidelines but that is another story.