As you may have well read from my various twitterings during the course of yesterday, I am already here in Orlando attending what’s supposed to be the IBM conference of conferences worldwide: Lotusphere 2008. The actual conference starts today with the general speaker session, something that plenty of us are looking forward to big time, so much so that there will be a repeat of the session at a later time today as well, seeing how many more people than last year are attending the event. That clearly tells you something about the importance of what we are about to witness. And not to worry, I am hoping to be able to blog it, or, a least, twitter it.
But first things first. A couple of highlights from yesterday’s pre-event, with the Welcome Reception party and a few other things. If I were to summarise yesterday from my own perspective I guess I would be saying two different keywords: shopping and networking.
Yes, that is right. On Sunday morning, instead of going down to the lobby and get registered for the overall event, and from there onwards hanging out with some other folks, I have actually spent most of it shopping locally for some clothes and toiletries, because after a rather exhausting and extenuating trip that took me over 24 hours apparently, the couple of airlines I was flying with managed to lose my luggage! Yes, indeed! Orlando has got something really special about this because I have been a couple of times already and in all instances they have managed to lose my luggage. And that is over the course of years and with various different airline companies. Sigh.
On top of that, last Saturday there was, a lovely severe weather alert which resulted in me arriving at the hotel nearly four hours after the original time I was supposed to be there! Goodness, was I happy to be upgraded to a junior suite at the Swan hotel when I got here! That, folks, is what real customer service is all about!
So, after that bumpy start of the conference which ended up with me staying at a very very nice hotel room, getting some shopping done (Hopefully, my luggage would get here before I would need some more clothes… Fingers crossed…) and trying to sort out everything I’ll just go and detail the second highlight of the day which was getting myself into some serious social networking in real life!! And that experience, folks, was just awesome!!
Even though plenty of people were actually hanging out at the local bars catching up with some American Football (Yeah, I know exactly what you are thinking! Me, too!!) I eventually got to catch up with some folks I have wanted to meet up for quite a while. Alan Lepofsky (Who is going to be announcing something really cool during the conference… Stay tuned! 😉 Apart from something else I have been very very keen on getting my hands on for a little while now. W00t!), the one and only, Ed Brill (Who is way way too much fun and who apparently knows more about me that whatever I would have imagined! Ha! There you have it, social networking working its magic for you! heh). There have been plenty more folks I finally caught up with, and for those of you interested in finding out some more who they may well be, plus some other updates I’ll be putting together I have uploaded already a batch of pictures into my Flickr stream which will continue to go on during the course of the conference itself.
From there onwards I got to finally meet my team within the IBM Software group, the Social Software Programs & Enablement team! And that was just fantastic! Why? Because I only got to join the team about 2 months ago, and to be given the opportunity to meet them all up at a Welcome Reception party is probably the best of options to get to know them all and get busy with some serious team building!! I guess plenty of virtual teams would have the opportunity to get started the way I did last night! And yes, very very personal opinion, folks, but my team is just like no other! Wonderful bunch of folks really excited about getting things done while having some serious fun, along the lines! Yes, my ideal dream job!!
And, finally, if there was one other massive highlight from yesterday was the fact that I got one of my dreams come true as well and met one of the folks I have admired for quite some time now, more than anything else because of the kind of impact he has had, and still has, in most of us who have been following him wherever he may be going. Yes, that is right, last night, while we were at Kimono’s (A Japanese karaoke bar at the Swan hotel) I was actually sitting next, without knowing, the unforgettable Ze Frank. Yes, that same Ze Frank you are thinking about! How cool is that?!?!? You go into a bar with a bunch of your friends and all of a sudden you bump into Ze and start talking!! Whoooaaaahhh!!! That’s what just happened last night and must say that he is even cooler and way much more fun in real person! But I guess you already knew that, right?!?!
So that was it, a bit of a long blog post, I know, but plenty of things and excitement going on, don’t you think? Well, today there will be plenty more, I am sure! Stay tuned for my twitterings and blog posts because I am hoping to be able to share some more with you folks!
But so far, all of the really really high expectations I had about Lotusphere 2008 have been exceeded and big time!!! And that was just the pre-event! Imagine what it would be like over the next couple of days… Hang in there! It’s going to be a lovely ride!!
(Oh, here are some pictures of some of the folks I have met during the course of yesterday … Recognise anyone?)
Tags: IBM, Lotus, Lotusphere, Lotusphere2008, Collaboration, Shopping, Social Networking, Social Computing, Social Software, Social Media, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing, KM, Communities, Alan Lepofsky, Ed Brill, Flickr, Photos, Team Building, IBM Software, Ze Frank, Kimono’s, Swan Hotel, Orlando, Twitter, Blogging, Metablogging, Learning