Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hey You!

Yes, You! 

You reading this post. 

You have a job to do. 

Sadly I know from experience only 5% of you will follow through on this, but here it goes anyway.

If what we have been doing all these years in the Domino space did not change anyone’s opinion, why should it now? The answer my friends, is it can change, only if we change.

When I set out writing this blog, over 1,000 posts ago, I had started and stopped a few times while I found what was missing in our YellowVerse. The Evangelist. IBM did not, and in some ways still does not, provide the information people in companies today need to help them keep their jobs, and thus IBM hardware and software, soon to be HCL software.

The SWAT teams, the Tiger teams, the Men in Black (I was one) did not publish anything public over the years. They were probably not allowed (?!) and so it happened that IBMers told me to keep writing and doing more, because their hands were tied.

The only exception, was when Antony Satyadas ran his "Project Liberate", to compete against MS, which was really about price points. His efforts were the closest anyone came to really pushing back against the world and promoting Notes & Domino. Sadly that was short lived and in 2008 and 2009. As we know, the CXO never chooses a product because of functionality, and rarely on price alone.

So what do I want you do? I want you to earn your IBM Champion (hopefully soon to be HCL Champion) status by being the person that your company needs, wants and relies on, and not in an the usual administrator or developer type of way.

Your mission, and you really have no other choice but to accept it, as you will see, is to make every.single.person in your company know what Notes & Domino, Sametime, Traveler, Connections, etc. do for your company.

If you have Connections or Sharepoint it will be pretty easy to accomplish this task.

Stealthily or upfront, makes no difference, you can do this, and you will, we will get to why you should do this soon enough.

Afraid your boss will go crazy on you? You are making them look better, even though they will say otherwise. Tell them you are helping their cause by asking for more budget to support all the great applications.

Your peers will think you are crazy….until they “get it” and start doing it themselves for their own applications and areas.

You need to start simple, here are some ideas.
  1. What applications do you use inside your company that run on Domino? You may not even know what they all do. Look at your Domain catalog and get some clues. Ask people, look at the apps, if you have access, and think about these questions:
  2. What does this application really do for our company? Does it onboard people or make the process easier/faster, manage passwords, handle expenses, payroll, sales, marketing, audio/video, PR, manage executives calendars, etc.
  3. How much money does this applications make the company? There is a reason Fortune 100 companies still run Domino applications inside their world, because they are critical to their businesses.
  4. Alternatively how does this application save us money/time/resources? If not, you may want to raise a new project to your boss to retire some older ones.
  5. What applications could benefit from some new coding or UI/UX? Why raise the downside? Because if the app is so meaningful, it should be treated like an Enterprise application, not a back office cast off.
  6. Going Cloud or staying on premises can also get the same treatment because there is a reason you have chosen to go that route.
  7. Support ticket updates. This can be tricky but important. If you know that you have rarely seen repeat tickets from users, this is a high rate to promote yourselves as permanently fixing issues. You may see how many people you supported in a month, or a year, and realize your reach is much more than you thought.
There are unlimited possibilities for you to provide these “status updates” or blog posts or wiki details inside your company. Talk about the data, the business value, the greatness that you love.

Start with one item, alternate every week or every few days. Explain it in business terms and in your own way.

You will slowly get feedback, and followers. You will also get complaints and enhancement requests, both excellent feedback for you and your team. If you know how to respond to the complaints, do it, if not, ask me or one of the other bloggers or IBM Champions.

You may get known as The Notes Guy or Lord Admin or Domino Guru or Lotus Evangelist. And that is always a good thing for you. You may also want to share and discuss some of this with your IBM/HCL or Business Partner representative when the opportunity arises since they can help you further.

Here’s why, if you read this far…

Your job is at stake.


Every single day/week/month/quarter, maybe not now but down the road, if you don’t do the above “promotions”, your management, and your users, dream up ways to get some other product brought in to be used because they don't even know what they own or run.

Not fair? No, it isn't, but you need to fight back and find a way to get the word out.

If your company does get that far, guess who is probably out of a job? You might get retrained, but so far, from my view, that is about 25% of the time. Not good odds.

It will be hard, you will get flack, and you will think no one is reading it, and you might be low on the totem pole, but if you have tagged the posts well and sprinkle in some magic terms that relate to your company business, you will start getting noticed. 

Be prepared, don’t just say you were doing this for fun, or because I sent you, provide your mission statement.
“My job is to do the best I can for the company and encourage management in their efforts and by providing this data I believe will make us a better company”.
Or something along these lines.

No double speak, no BS marketing mumbo jumbo, no buzzword bingo, just straight and to the point.

Nothing hurts as much as an ignorant executive make a choice that may not be in the best interest of their company without pointing out to them what their business value is, and why they have it. They don't know, often don't care, and that is why this is so important of a task I assign you.

This is not a technical battle front, it never was aside from the early days because no one did anything like Notes. Yes, we have new goodies inside R10, and down the road R11, but those need to be put in business benefit terms, as I have written about previously.

So, are you going to save your job?

Going to be a part of the next generation of Domino applications in the world? Become an IBM/HCL Champion next year because of what you started this year?

Or going to live in fear forever.

Need help? Reach out to me through any number of ways from my blog or other ways. I am easy to find.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Why I Love Domino Lightning Talk

A few people asked so I am posting my talk as i had written it up on my 24 hour plane trip to Think.
I also did a 2 minute reminder for admins, developers, devops whatever that you can save/protect not just your job but your hardware or software by keeping management aware of what these things do to make or save you money. Your executives have no idea, nor care, until they can truly understand and visualize the correlation.

Lightning Talk Speech:

Imagine you are a startup, an entrepreneur, just starting out on your journey in business. What will you need on your journey?
Most people would say you need a company name, which then provides you with a Domain name which in turn leads you to an email address, right?
And now you are business right? Because an email address and a domain are a line in the sand showing you are committed to an outcome. Or at least a start.
But, not so fast.
You need to start booking meetings in a calendar, you need to start saving emails, phone numbers, sales, and other CRM related bits of information….and a spreadsheet is NOT THE WAY to run a business!
And of course you need something to sell, or you need a platform to build an application on, one that will work across desktops, devices and operating systems that you can sell maybe as a SaaS offering.
You also need a website, a blog, 613 social media accounts and how to manage them or interact with them.
Damn that is a long laundry list, isn’t it? And we haven’t even gotten to HR, finance, taxes, vacation days, company holidays, monthly reporting, let alone quarterly or annual reports.
And you want a platform you can share with your vendors, contractors, employees and make it easy to collaborate without having to login to too many places.
And of course security is paramount.
Maybe in the cloud, maybe on premises. Maybe hybrid?
And what if I told you there is only one solution that can do ALL of this for you, today and for the future?
Would you buy it?
Would you want it?
Would you use it?
Would you sell it?
That my friends, is the beauty of a Notes and Domino environment. You never have to leave it to login somewhere else, to synch this or that, to “add on” security. You can do almost everything from one little self- contained NOSQL solution + Adobe Acrobat and an Office suite. Hey, no one can do everything.
No other solution exists that can do all of it at once. No, it is not perfect, some parts do work better than others, it is not a panacea.
I know what you are thinking, if it is so awesome, why do people not use it? Well, that is a different talk. Talk to me afterwards or at lunch.
You know, I have rarely heard Exchange admins saying they love their Exchange server, how about you?
In contrast, many Domino admins say they love it and mean it wholeheartedly.
A majority of the Fortune 100 companies run Domino for apps that run their businesses. Think about that for a second. REPEAT IT!
In 2009 IBM said more than half were using it. I tried to find newer data but nothing definitive with % from 10-45% so suffice it to say, it is out there and people use it, even if users have no idea about it, just like Mac people run Linux. You all know your macs run Linux, right?
What happened really, was I was introduced to Notes R2 and fell in love with it immediately. Why? Because I could not understand why if I worked for a company, and this was a Wall Street bank, why information had to be so hard to get, find or use. Weren’t we all one big happy company?
And here comes this yellow like the sun, breathe of fresh air that says, hey, share information, don’t horde it. 1+1 can equal 3! I volunteered to be on the team managing the Notes server, as the server was called back then, and rolled Notes out to everyone. And it was awesome!
I still love it and am frustrated when using other products that can’t share information easily or need my data in multiple depositories. These apps aren’t sharing, they are hardware buying apps or in Microsoft’s case software buying.
You know Oauth? Please, we have had IDs and certificates in place from day 1 over 30 years ago. What a completely different internet it would be if we had produced a Federated Directory to handle millions of people’s IDs.
For over 25 years, I just turned 50, 7 days ago, my client of choice for personal use and business has been a Notes client.
We should be so lucky it will be around another 25 years. You and I should be so lucky to still be around in 25 years.
My friends, some are admins, developers, even general users, found something in Notes and Domino that works for them. Write some simple apps! Start with some out of the box basic templates then go to and get some awesome ones!
Then make some changes to them, customize them, and before you know it that little app is running your business.
And what makes it soooo amazing is those applications live on, not just for a year or 2 but decades.
Sure, you DB2 people say the same thing, but no one, no one, interacts with your database, just your data in it.
With Domino, we get to create the UI, the UX, the world our users live in! Granular security down to the field level and multiple levels of administrators or owners and you have a very flexible, yet secure, environment.
Domino lives because of this security in many industries!
We don’t care what hardware you run it on! We don’t care what OS you want to run, we do it(some PM is going to kill me for that one)! We cluster it all, Windows and iSeries, Zseries, AIX, Domino doesn’t care, mix and match to your heart’s content.
We don’t care what language you need the UI in, we do it! Because that is how you get people to share and care about your product, you customize it for them or better yet, let them customize it for themselves.
I got my wish, I worked for Lotus because I loved the products so much and someone believed in me just as much.
Because it is not an easy fight out there and we needed a Lotus Evangelist then, and now more than ever.
Microsoft loves their silos, to them it is about the worker working, Sharing…to a Point and not open sharing.
Domino shares forever, which is the point.
Once you as the user start playing with it, you find you are only limited by your imagination, and coding ability, to really enhance your business.
My personal favorite part is how Domino monitors itself…and other parts of your world. You can tune your notifications to so many different things you can get overwhelmed at first but as you experience your environment you start knowing what is “normal”.

If you have interactions with other environments you can monitor your connections between Domino and them in most cases so if your Cloud server is down, you get notified. How awesome is that!
Your cloud vendor doesn’t bother to tell you, but Domino can!
Still not convinced?
How about this one….Spotify makes a big deal about taking your music offline with you now.
How cute.
Notes and Domino have been taking ALL of our applications offline from day 1. On a plane, train or hot air balloon, you can get your work done, without an internet connection.
Oh, and mail just happens to be THE MOST elaborate application that Domino runs.
Us Yellow Bleeders as we call ourselves, are rabid fans of Domino, just as you may be about your own Champion area. Everyone finds what they need and loves, some of us just found it earlier in life than others.

Friday, February 8, 2019

IBM THINK is Next Week, Here is How to Find Me

I fly in from Israel, via Boston, Sunday and spending it with my cousin's new baby.

I will see some of you early Monday morning at the Champion breakfast.

For those in the Champion sessions I will be giving a Lightning talk along with a few other Champions from across IBM.
Why I, and you, (should) Love Domino
9 AM - 10AM
Moscone South Level 3, Room 301

Wednesday morning I am presenting my customer Case Study, in an open format to encourage people to ask questions rather than talk about the good, and bad, things we did. Slides will only be used if you don't ask questions.
Session 4572A - Why This Global law Firm Does Not Miss Deadlines
8:30AM - 9:10AM
Hilton Union Square - Yosemite A

Also Wednesday I am part of a Champion round table discussion
The Cloud and Competitive/Evangelism Activity
3:30PM - 4:10PM
Moscone South Lobby
IBM Champion Area

Aside from these defined events I will be roaming around and the best way to find me is via Twitter (@Lotusevangelist), what's app/call me (ask me for the number), Facebook Messenger, or if you are in one of my workspaces, Slack.

I am leaving Wednesday night due to other plans in Boca Raton, Florida and I hope to see you all before I leave. If you want to catch me in Florida let me know..

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Big 5 0

Bear with me here, this is a ramble on kind of post. Nothing like this one was.

Never thought I would be an author, but the chance came along, I took it and I have an author's page on Amazon.

I never made it to the cover of Rolling Stone, actually I never made the cover of any magazine. However, I was included in articles in CIO magazine and many other websites over the years.

Had some newspaper articles written about me, got included as a case study in how to grow a community on Linkedin in an executives book.

Turns out I wrote a few IBM Redbooks with people over the years, in return IBM made me a Redbooks Thought Leader. We did the first Redbooks video from the community to IBM at the time, because I wanted to give back for all the help I had received over the years.

Somehow I have written over 1,100 blog posts. When the muse is loose, run with it.

Got my name in Playbills, actually quite a few times, while I worked on Broadway. Best time of my life, aside from Ron Perlman (at the time doing A Few Good Men)looking like he was going to kill me when he was running to 2nd base during the Broadway show softball game. Stories of people I met while on Broadway could fill many posts, it was also when the Berlin wall came down.

Traveled all over South America and Europe, thanks Citibank and IBM.

Got sent to Venice, Italy, for work, not once, but twice. Best place on Earth, I proposed to my wife Vanessa while there with her, not on business.

Live tweeted the Palm Beach Opera, for 2 seasons, that was fun and free, hope it helped their ticket sales.

I miss my '62 vette, should never have sold it. I also miss the 3000GT.

Worked on Wall Street for a few years with Bankers Trust which became Deutsche Bank and in the World Trade Center on the 44th floor for Bank of America. The Wolf of Wall Street movie was pretty accurate for that time period.

Lived in London for 3 years while working for Lotus and wrote a Pantomime that was performed, I played the Godfather character. Had a great boss at Lotus and friend who recently after 49 years left IBM for HCL. I should never have let him down and left the team, but that is how life works out sometimes.

Moved to Boca Raton to be near my grandparents and mom after leaving IBM, got cable TV installed just as the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center.

Started a business that was going to do $3 million in sales until our supplier stopped working with small companies. I tried to buy them in an auction, I lost to a VC firm by $25million. They turned around and sold it for $900 million. No thanks to GE capital who would only offer $50M. Yeah that hurt.

Worked with Burger King at their World Headquarters, twice in Miami, the 2nd time because my name was still on the names.nsf log from years prior.

I was in Caracas, Venezuela just weeks before Chavez took over.

Been on planes that engines stopped, caught fire, parts fell off, and had bomb threats, just another day of traveling when you are a road/air warrior.

Survived my teenage years and my college life, somehow, pretty sure a few people never thought I would, I never gave it any thought but to those that worried, surprise!

Worked the field at FIRST Robotics events as a robot inspector and helping kids understand there is more to life than the internet, school or work inside of them.

Mentored startups at MASSChallenge Israel the last 2 years and saw some of them get to the finals, others get funded and more succeed beyond their wildest dreams. It is a great feeling knowing you helped in some small way.

I was fortunate enough to be an IBM Champion since 2013. And thus listed on Wikipedia. My kids are impressed, the rest of the world, not so much.

My 3 kids have no idea what life was like before they came onto the scene. It is like a different world, times change, some things stay the same. I used to make an awesome Beef Wellington.

Never thought I would Home School my kids, but I did for 2 years. They claim to remember things I taught them so it was not all wasted time.

Brewed beer once because everyone should do it, but my friends who still get to do it regularly are living the dream and I am happy for them all.

It was while home schooling that I started the Daf Yomi as they started the new cycle, and 7.5 years later it will finish next January. You can have your marathons and mountain biking, this is mine.

Owned Amazon stock in their early days and sold it after it doubled. HUGE mistake.

Once parked my car up a staircase.

Tequila bowling in college. Sorry to the guys at the end of the hall.

One of my first public presentations was in front of thousands of people at Lotusphere Europe and I have enjoyed every presentation I have given over the years since then, be they business, technical or educational in person or online.

For better or worse I have worked for myself all these years since college, aside from 3 years at IBM, 2 years with an IBM Business Partner and usually from the comfort of my home.

I have all the trappings of young startup offices, Pinball Machine, books, loud music, my dog at my desk, open fridge and bar, video games, MAME and puzzles and games.

I have moved countries 4 times and pretty sure I am staying put here in Israel, but I can commute to anywhere in Europe pretty easily so what's not to like?

Even volunteered for army duty for a week because that is what you do in a country where every person matters.

If you made it this far and still reading, you probably have stories from my past we shared together and hopefully we will get to share more of them over the next 50 years or more and some of you I will see soon in San Francisco.

Thanks to Vanessa and my kids for trying to keep my young and fun.