E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

IBM Lotusphere 2008 – Highlights from Third Day – Tuesday 22nd

And here we go with another blog post around the IBM Lotusphere event I attended last week. This time around sharing with you folks a few of the highlights from the third day of the conference, well, the second, really, if you skip the pre-event taking place on Sunday. Now if I dedicated the second day to attend the main tent session, some booth duty and then some more speaker sessions in the afternoon, this time around I took a different approach which in the end seemed to be the most productive way for me to enjoy another superb day at Lotusphere.

IBM Adoption of Social Software Booth

I spent most of the morning, till around lunch time, doing my booth duty hanging out at the IBM Village and talking to various folks around the subject of social computing and how IBM has been adopting different social software tools under the Technology Adoption Program, a.k.a. TAP, in order to improve their collaboration skills with other knowledge workers.

What was nice in this particular case how in between talking with various customers around social networking, I had a whole bunch of folks from my various social networks coming over and saying "Hi!" and I just couldn’t help thinking how nice of them to come over and put a face behind all of the different online interactions we have been having for years! Of course, I had to take the opportunity and took a whole bunch of pictures I have already shared in my Flickr stream and some of which I will be sharing over here in this blog post all over the place.

Some of those folks I have finally been able to meet up face to face were actually members from one IBM internal community I am co-leading with one of my team colleagues that is formed by a bunch of social computing evangelists, or ambassadors (As we call them inside IBM) and which has grown in just a couple of months from zero members to over 170!! So after hanging around at the booth for a little while with them, it was time to go for lunch with them and carry on (Yes, carry on, as opposed to start the conversation… See? That’s what social computing does to you! 😉 ) with some of the stuff we have been discussing on how we are planning to drive further the social networking adoption inside IBM and beyond. Not to worry, I am sure there will be a chance for folks out there to get some exposure on what this community is actually doing internally, and perhaps at a later time I may be able to share some further insights on their goals & mission 🙂 (Which happens to be mine as well!)

Innovation, User Experience & Meet the Developers Labs

It was after that particular lunch I had with my peeps that I decided to change the approach on how to get the most of attending Lotusphere 2008. As you may well know, I am one of those folks who values the most from any conference the actual connecting with people, the knowledge sharing and collaborating going on with them, in short, the learning aspects of meeting folks who you may have known already for a while or, on the contrary, those you have just met. So I decided that instead of attending different breakout sessions for the rest of the afternoon I would be hanging out all over the place meeting people I knew were there or letting serendipity work its magic. And boy, did it do an incredible job or what?!?!

To get things going, I decided to hang out for a few hours at three of the places I knew were going to be a massive success. Yes, indeed, I am talking about the various Labs. I mainly visited the User Experience Lab and the Innovation Lab, and a later time the Meet the Developers Lab. Whooooaaahhhh!! What an exhilarating experience, to say the least!!

To me, all of the Labs were actually quite an amazing experience! Because not only would you be able to hang out with the guys who are driving the hot action in the social computing space at IBM, but you could also share your thoughts and ideas on how those very same tools could be improved further. What a lovely bunch of peeps wanting to listen and learn from their end-users how to get the most out of the tools they are developing! Loved it!

It also gave me the opportunity to meet up some of the people I have been working with remotely for a number of years using rather heavily their social software tools and providing lots of feedback on my overall experience. There is nothing like face to face to do that!!

I am glad as well that with the Innovation Lab being available out there for folks to digest some of the content and tools, I can now share with you folks some more extensive information on the various IBM social software tools I have been using for the last few years. Examples like Beehive (Flagged as IBM’s Corporate Facebook!), Cattail (File-sharing a la Slideshare.net but on steroids!), The Dogear Game & Tag-It! (Bringing gaming into the corporate world to help people understand through games the benefits of social tagging, both on a personal and corporate level), Bluegrass (Bringing virtual worlds into the developers’ world!), Coral (Which nicely integrates concurrent real-time collaboration on documents using Sametime and Lotus Quickr), Speech-to-Text plug-in for Lotus Sametime (Meeting the accessibility needs, but also ideal for generating text transcripts from podcasts which use VoIP), Spectacular! (One of the most impressive approaches towards making online feed reading work rather nicely behind the corporate firewall and now part of my feed reading habits, too!), Atlas (To help visualise your social networks and how they relate to you and how you can tap into their knowledge and expertise to get the job done!), Fringe (And its awesome new release, picking up a few things from Beehive, Spectacular! and Facebook!, along with SONAR) and a whole bunch of other really cool technologies within the space of social computing.

Yes, over the course of the next few days and weeks, and in between here and there, I am actually going to be sharing a number of different blog posts where I will share some further insights on those various social software tools, plus a whole bunch more! That way you would be able to find out where I hang out on a daily basis, at the same time that I will be sharing my experiences on how I am benefiting from social computing @ IBM. Lots to talk about in that area! For sure!

Real – Life Social Networking at its best, team dinner and party at my junior suite room, to avoid all the loud music

Yes, not to worry, it is not the title of one of the speaker sessions, although it could well be. In between hanging out at the different labs meeting all of those people I have been working with for a while, I also got a chance to get together with a bunch of folks (Through Twitter, SMS, phone calls, etc. etc.) who I have been really looking forward to meet up for quite a while!

So, and in no particular order, I got to briefly talk to Bruce Elgort, father of the superbly and nicely done IdeaJam (Whose code, by the way, is now available on its own to be used for other purposes, and not just Lotus products. Nifty!!); Paul Wescott (Vice President Business Development from SocialText); Neil Burston (Technical consultant from Avnet Parner Solutions – whom I incidentally share a good chunk of social networking & KM connections, like Stuart McIntyre and David Gurteen. And we never heard about each other! Doh! … Wish Stuart would have been there, too! heh); Maureen Grey (Who I already met last year in July, but it surely was nice catching up with her again!), Steve Cogan (Who I have met through our internal blogosphere and who I was really looking forward to meeting all along for some time now!); a whole bunch of my new team members (Which you would also be able to find on my Flickr account) and extended social networks from the various business units inside IBM.

However, during that afternoon, there were three major highlights I just cannot ignore and which had a special meaning to me and here is why: The first one was when I had the opportunity to have a couple of beers with Ed Brill, Alan Lepofsky and Ross Mayfield (From SocialText) and have a lovely conversation with a bunch of folks who I felt like I knew forever! Yes, indeed, I have been following all three people with their respective blogs for a number of years and I was incredibly jazzed up that I was finally able to meet them up in person! Oh and they are even nicer when you meet them face to face!! 🙂

Then a little while later that same afternoon I also got to meet one of the folks I have been following for quite a while  and from whom I have learned quite a bit around the subject of technology, the Internet and social computing (As in Enterprise 2.0) in general. We both knew we were going to be there, so we had to fiddle around with our schedules and from there we actually met up a couple of times and engaged in some really refreshing and enlightening conversations on all the fuss & hype on social software. Quite fascinating! Yes, I finally met David Tebutt!! That was just awesome! One of the major highlights for me for the entire event. Without a doubt! I am now looking up for the opportunity to go to London some time this year to meet up with him, and a whole bunch of other folks I have been promising one of these days I’ll get there! 😀 (So many things to do, yet so little time!)

Oh, oh, and talking about another major highlight from the Lotusphere event and where serendipity did another magical job! On Wednesday afternoon and while a super interesting BOFs session on blogging was going on (Hosted by Alan Lepofsky, by the way) I finally got the opportunity to meet up one of what I consider my KM virtual mentors for a good number of years: Jack Vinson. What an amazing human being!!! We had some really good conversations on KM, social computing, his new job, my new job, how we both were on the same city, attending different conferences and being able to meet up in the end, and so on so forth. Incredibly short time together, or it seemed like it, but I think we both felt like we knew each other forever, so it was, again, just like picking up the conversation just from where we left it!!

From there onwards and way into the early evening already, I actually had a scheduled dinner with my new team at a good restaurant nearby where we could just talk with peace and quiet and build further up our social capital skills with one another! That was just fantastic as well! Specially, when a couple of them suggested to continue with team building activities, heh, at my junior suite hotel room with a couple of bottles of wine, a few beers and some snacks. Music playing in the background, up on the 9th floor, with an amazing view, and just enjoying what we all enjoy doing the most: enjoying the conversations! Just pure awesomeness!!

And with that we come to the end of another wonderful day @ Lotusphere. Here you have got some random pictures I took that day as well …

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Oh, and before I forget, since I already knew that both the audio and the presentation materials would be made available for us to check them out at a later time, it also influenced my non-attendance to a number of  sessions, which over the course of the next few weeks I will be convering, hopefully, sharing the download link and some extended commentary. Thus stay tuned for that to come, too!

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  1. Luis,
    A very real pleasure to bump into you as we did. I have to point out that I DID know about you, hence how I recognised you in the first place! I’m still dining off the “I met a guy who went to the same Spanish University as me” story quizás charlaremos un poco más algún día!

    A fantastic week and I look forward to welcoming you to the UK at some point in the not too distant future.

    I’ll let you know when I get round to updating the LotusConnectionsBlog.com with some photos and other comments.

    Till then,

  2. Hi Neil! Thanks for dropping by and for the feedback! The pleasure was mine, Neil! I had a great time talking with you and find out, indeed, not only that we share a good chunk of social networkers in the UK, but also that we both studied at the same university in Spain a long while ago! What are the chances of that, eh?!?!

    Next time I am in the UK, for sure I shall be in touch to get together with you and the rest of the gang! It would be fun!!

    In the mean time I look forward for your review on the LotusConnectionsBlog. Mine is just about to be done! A couple of blog posts and that’s it! Till next year!

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