Monday, March 26, 2018

At THINK, Therefore I was

55+ kilometers I walked last week.

For a conference.

The IBM THINK conference.

In Las Vegas.

30,000 people at an IBM Lovefest for 5 days of 3,000+ sessions.

I can only imagine this is what Woodstock was like, awesome speakers and musicians, great amounts of love and imagination and when you left you were worn out beyond belief.

My bad knee needs a vacation.

I was busy almost every day with sessions I gave, sessions I attended and various hall way meetings with IBMers.

Some sessions ran, some in mythical rooms (lacking maps it was hard to find some rooms), others never ran for unknown reasons. I missed more sessions because of the app that synched incorrectly dates and times. I hope they fix that for next year, and give us access to it much earlier.

My discussions about the HCL deal were interesting, the ICS teams strongly believe this is going to be the best thing yet. The fact Quickr was even mentioned made me pause to think maybe they were really looking at ways to rebuild everything. But dreams aside, the deal will run its course and this year, well really 2019 (presuming R10 comes out in Q4 2018) will be the make or break it year. Barry, don’t worry, I will let you know our top 10 webadmin needs.

THINK Academy
The IBM THINK Academy was a great place to spend time. The life size BattleShip game, professional head shots, Watson, labs galore, Soft Skills sessions where I and many other IBM Champions gave our time to help the next generation and most importantly…food and drinks all day long.

I attended one lab and it was run by a developer advocate Erin McKean, her avatar is a pink robot, that was great, sadly it was the only one I got to be a part of at the show. But it was run quite well and easy tutorial to follow. For more details about it, see the lab on git hub here.

I had more people at my soft skills presentation on speaking, Monday, than my microservices session on Thursday. To be fair, the latter was near the end of the show and attendance was way down by Thursday. I will post about the Q/A from my Soft Skills talks because that was enlightening.

Notes and Domino
Yes we will finally get to use .xls instead of .123 for import and exports. And a few things we have been asking about for years but the HCL team is listening and if you have enough information on why you want/need something, they will seriously think about it. Go to Gabriella Davis's blog post which includes her presentation on what is new, I can't do it justice.

Sametime is NOT Watson Workspace (WW)
Yeah, that is obvious but not to everyone yet. Sametime is staying on premises. WW is web/cloud based.
Sametime was Mentioned but nothing pronounced other than some licensing changes and a possible return to "just chat". Rumors of all kinds of things from a streamlined full stack to a completely microserviced architecture were tossed around. Of course it was dwarfed by the WW information. The new shiny in everyone's eyes. Helps it has Zoom built into it and its infancy is growing so stay tuned.

Dwarfed by the HCL stuff, Connections had sessions and I went to the troubleshooting one from Roberto and Sharon. Great stuff if you need to dig in deep. Grid looks good but I don't spend much of my time on Connections, although I will be in 2018.

Before I forget , I send my apologies to Heather Graham for cornering her about some things, but knowing each other for 10+ years it happens that some frustrations some with the discussion.

Thank Yous
Thank you to all the IBM Champions that I met for the first time and the usual cast of characters that I call my friends for helping me out or just talking through ideas or just spending time together which in some cases has been years apart.

Huge thank you to Alan Hamilton and Libby Ingrassia and their staff of IBM Champion wranglers. We are not an easy group to please and can be rather vocal when we want to be and they handled all of us quite well. They also supplied us with swag of the best kind and even got the front row tickets fort the concerts for everyone. They also helped get us some speaking options and other meetings of the secret kind so for all they do, thank you!

Thanks also to the team in THINK Academy that engaged us and let us have some fun in their areas to help people who wanted something other than tech details.

A great shout out goes to Ephox for the never miss Aussie Party, the many Business Partners or Vendors that invited me and everyone to imbibe and enjoy ourselves. For the ones I missed, or could not connect with, my apologies, I tried, but there are always plans and misses at the shows. There are also serendipity occurrences you can only put down to being at the right place at the right moment in time.

Thank you to IBM for the speaker gift certificate for the Logo and Book store. But $40 was not enough to get the skateboard. Libby, can we get IBM Champion ones? J

Next Year
Next year in San Francisco, in February is the next time this will happen, will see what the future brings before I commit to do this again.

A Sad Note
Lastly, I may not have been as much fun this year as usual. I found out on Monday that my best friend’s father passed away and I could not be there for him in Florida, or home in Israel for the burial. No doubt this influenced my time at the show and the nightly activities. RIP, BDE Rabbi, as I always called him even after I was old enough to call him by his first name.

As I head home finally, been away for 12 days, and I write this at 10,000 feet above the ocean I wonder if anything I saw will keep me busy for another 20 years like Domino has for so long. I don’t know. Time will tell. Then again I doubt Ray Ozzie thought Notes and Domino would still be alive.

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