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

From the blog

IBM’s Lotusphere 2010 Highlights – A Proposal for DIA

As you may have noticed, it’s been a bit over a week since the last time I have been able to put together a blog post over here. And that, basically, means that things didn’t work out all right eventually. Yes, of course, I am talking about last week’s IBM’s Lotusphere 2010 event that took place from the 17th till 21st of January. If you have been reading this blog for a while I sense you already know where I’m heading, right? … Indeed, this is another article with a plea towards, finally, putting together "A Proposal for DIA".

Remember that blog post that I put together a few months ago that talked about one of the highlights of the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston? Yes, the one about the lack of a decent, and accessible!, wi-fi connection throughout the conference? Well, that very same thing happened most of the week last week. Again! So that’s why you didn’t see any blog posts coming through from yours truly, and why my twittering was very much like the Guadiana river!

Ouch!! Once again, Lotusphere couldn’t cope with the demand of its thousands of attendees to provide a decent, and reliable!, Internet connection while the event took place during the course of the week. So those of us who came from abroad were left out in limbo land. Once again! Very disappointing!

I know the demand for this year’s event has been huge, tremendous, probably too much, if you ask me (45,000 connections to the various access points on a single moment at the beginning of the conference?!?! WOW!), but I’m wondering whether it is the right time for that "Proposal for DIA (Decent Internet Access)". I mean, maybe it’s time to rethink how we put together the overall online experience for these kinds of technical conference events altogether, right? Who knows… The important thing is that we just can’t stop right there and "do nothing". Year after year.

I know it is not an easy solution, but folks like Eric Norlin (From Defrag) and the EventoBlog organisers have proved that you can actually put together a conference event and still keep the wi-fi up and running steadily and throughout the entire event. So why can’t the others follow those steps? Yes, like I said, it’s a tough job to do it right, but, in my opinion, totally worth it! I mean, can you imagine what Lotusphere’s Opening General Session would have been like if we would all have had a good and reliable Internet connection throughout? I am sure that, instead of the 4000 tweets that got registered, as mentioned during the event, we would have had several thousand more! But, alas, that wasn’t the case…

That is why you didn’t see much of me online, since, out of sheer frustration, I got rather de-motivated and, instead of letting it grow in me (Like it has happened at other events in the past), I decided to take a much more pro-active approach and, instead of doing online social networking, focus all of my efforts and energy on the physical, face-to-face, social networking interactions. Perhaps, that’s what conference events are all about: place the focus back on the real life social networking activities and forget about being online. I am sure we would all feel much better than having to raise our eyebrows, once again, because things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to in the first place.

Back at the Enterprise 2.0, I created an article where I was actively asking for that DIA proposal; I am still waiting… That’s why, next time around, I will be looking into things differently and come up with plan B (and perhaps plan C, too!). In fact, just as I was on my way to catch the plane to Orlando, my plan B arrived in the mail. I wish I would have had much more time to play with it, but since I didn’t, I didn’t put it into practice. However, I’m surely going to do it next time around. I will not comment on what it is, but suffice to say that it is going to change the way I enjoy conference events in the near future. So stay tuned for more updates to come through and you will see what I mean …

So, having said all that, you may be wondering whether I will be putting together a couple of blog posts on some of the major highlights of what the event was all about, right? Obviously, there won’t be any live blogging, but I will be writing down some further thoughts on what the event was like, specially now that all of the presentation materials are available for download (Thanks much, Volker, for putting together such stunning piece of work!). Thus I will be talking, very shortly, about the various different speaker sessions I attended, as well as what happened at the various Labs, networking events that I attended, Tweet Ups, etc. etc.

As a starting point, and to give you folks a little bit of a taster, have a look into this YouTube video clip from DJ Steve Porter, who did an inspiring remix of the event itself in under three minutes. Worth while watching it through:

Oh, but talking about Twitter, I didn’t get much of a chance to keep playing with my experiment on splitting personalities, so I hardly used my IBM related account (@elsua_b) to share with folks out there some other live tweeting that I would have wished I could have done. Okay, I will be addressing that one as well and deal with it by sharing some tweets from here onwards into that account trying to share some of the magic that we experienced during the event itself.

Thus stay tuned, because more belated blog posts and tweets will be coming through shortly, with links and everything. For me though there is one thing very clear in my mind; maybe a lesson learned, who knows. From now onwards I will definitely not have any single expectation that Internet connection will be available at conference events; if it is still there after the first 15 minutes, I will go ahead and use it. If not, I will stop complaining and whining about it, as well as I will stop getting stressed, frustrated, annoyed, exasperated, disappointed, etc. and, instead, go for that plan B I have just mentioned above… Life is just too short, don’t you think? Yes, I know… Intriguing, eh? 😉

(Not to worry, in a follow-up post, I will be sharing some further insights on what that plan B will be like, especially, once I get a chance to play with what came in the mail the day before I left for Orlando and which, surely, is going to make my life *so* much easier… And not just for conference events!)

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  1. Of course if you had used a Domino Blog template and a Notes client you could have blogged to your heart’s content and then replication would have automatically published your thoughts as an when a conection was available.

    The world is not totally and permanently connected. Good to know that there is good mature technology around that can surface all the great Web 2.0 concepts whilst also having a solid infrastucture underneath it.


    1. Hi Andy! Sure thing! You bring it a very very good point, indeed! Should have thought about offline blogging, even though I’m running WordPress over here; I could have still made use of my favourite offline blogging clients and make it through, although with some delays for the posting, of course, but I guess it’s better than anything, right?

      I guess I will have to get used to the idea we would never be able to make things right and provide reliable and scalable connectivity at technical conferences, perhaps because it is not very convenient to help spread the word out in real time and instead look for more traditional methods … Hummmm, hope that’s not the case! Will keep trying, I suppose …

      Interesting article the one you quoted above already, although I guess what my answer would be like to that question, right? Of course, you would! 😉

  2. I agree it is very frustrating with the Wifi service at conferences. I recently attended an event in London, and the Wifi coverage was terrible, therefore limiting my ability to use Twitter.

    1. Hi Frank! Thanks for the feedback! Yes, indeed! It can be rather frustrating, specially when you have got high hopes everything will work out all right and at the same time we would have an opportunity to tell the world what we are witnessing! Indeed! Quite disappointing when that doesn’t happen; to the point where it can incredibly demotivating to even keep trying… Oh well, I guess one of these years we will make it happen 😉

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