Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Going to IBM ConnectED...ME TOO!

So you, thought you, might like to, go to the show. The annual Lotus, IBM show known as Lotusphere IBM Connect now IBM ConnectED. Well, you got lucky today. I am going to give you some insights to this year’s edition.

Whether you have a room at the top of the world of the Swan or Dolphin or just out on 192 or by the Downtown Disney area, you are getting ready for what will be a condensed, packed schedule of mostly hard core development and administration related topics across the IBM spectrum.

So far, the weather looks good, and no one will need to seek shelter from the storm, as we did in past years. Just the same, please if you are coming from a warm dry place, remember to take the weather with you, so we can all enjoy the time in Orlando.

There are unofficial activities starting Saturday, or so I heard, but since I will not be there till Sunday. I will trust you have read other blogs, websites and emails to know abut them.

If you are new to the show, just go to the Dolphin bar, ask where it is if you need to, people will gladly point it out to you. Once you find it, realize all your friends are there, you just haven’t learnt all their names yet. It’s just like going to the Cheers bar, you want to go where everyone knows your name.

The stars may be in your eyes, SMEs, IBM Champions, IBMers, Business Partners from all over the worldwide pop in for this event and odds are you will recognize some names or faces from Twitter, Facebook or however you get your ya yas out in the Lotus/IBM world.

Almost everything, except the Dolphin bar, will take place just down the road from the Dolphin at the Swan Hotel. Less walking, more talking than past years. From the beginning you will start at the Registration desk where you will receive your golden ticket known as “The Badge”. You do not want to lose it because the last thing you ever want to hear is “where is my badge!”. There are no do-overs, you would have to pony up for another ticket.

Classes start the afternoon on Sunday, so if you never went to Sunday school, now is the best time of your life to start. The schedules have been posted, but always check the room you are going to in case of any last minute changes. In the heat of the moment room changes occur, it is not a communication breakdown, you just can’t be expected to read everything that is posted. BUT, maybe the class is more what you want anyway. It’s okay to be in a state of confusion at times, in fact, some people say it is the only way to walk. So walk this way, if you can, and experience some accidental serendipity.

Sunday night is the welcome party which is usually on the beach between the Swan and Dolphin hotels. If it is not there this year, just follow the crowd, don’t go down the rabbit hole or a road less traveled, you want to be part of the herd in this case. Awaiting you will be food, drinks, people and discussions. This is a social event, even all of us introverted exhibitionists need to get out and shine at times. There is no shortage of opportunities to talk to people. One caveat, try not to say “I’ll talk to you later” because sometimes you may not see that person again. It happens when you have 1-2,000 people or more hanging about.

The fanfare starts Monday morning with the OGS. The Opening General Session sets the tone for the whole show. Try not to get trampled under foot by everyone looking to get a good seat. There are large TV displays and great sound systems in place so don’t worry, be happy. Usually everything kicks off in a blaze of glory and the pace for the rest of the week is like a New York minute. Take your time, do it right, you do not have to go to 6 sessions all in a row, no matter how enticing they seem. Breaks are provided and you should stock up on drinks and munchies. Also remember to visit the vendor area as the partners are here to help you and advance your careers at work by making you look like a shooting star, because that is what you are, otherwise you wouldn't be at the show.

Lunch time is for meeting people as well. IBM and Disney try to give the people what they want by making it easy to just sit anywhere and provide the infamous Lotusphere Cookie. Find a table, sit down and find out where people are from and how you can make the show a better place for them. It is not easy being green but you have the advantage of not knowing anyone. Yes, I AM also going to be there and still manage to meet new people even though I have been going to the show for many years.

Developer or admin, business line or executive, there is something for everyone. It’s amazing, it’s a long road, it’s the start of a new year and a continuous journey. Everyone have fun, but not too much fun, even if there is good rockin’ at midnight, which is early by the way. I’ll be seeing you in a few days and until then always look on the bright side of life.

PS - I can be found, aside from my Twitter and Swarm/Foursquare tweets, on Monday night at 6pm in the TechOasis doing SpeedGeeking. For those that don't know, SpeedGeeking is 12 of us (admins, developers) doing 5 minute "demos or talks" of something cool, unusual or just outright brilliant as you move around the circle every 5 minutes. Best hour of knowledge you will get at the show!

My topic is How to Manage your Exchange Admins Using Domino see you there!

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