Monthly Archives: October 2010

LTAP 2010 session: How to make off-shoring work for lotus applications – Say What???

OK, maybe this lands a bit too close to home for me.  But there is actually a session scheduled in the LTAP 2010 Conference titled “How to make offshoring work for lotus applications – does it benefit developers?” by Gayathri Viswanathan.  The abstract reads as follows:

“Considering the current climate of offshoring (a reality) and the fact that there are people who vehemently oppose this, I would like to present specific benefits for the developers/administrators who can have parts of their work offshored yet contribute meaningfully to their organizations. Specifically in the Lotus World, how this can be achieved, what are the pitfalls and how a workable solution can be achieved.”

First, let’s assume the individual even knows it’s coming.  Yes, sometimes employees have advance notice because they are often tasked with training their replacement.  However, that is often not the case.  Many only find out about it during the impromptu meeting with their boss and someone from HR, usually on a Tuesday morning shortly after 8:30 AM.  But let’s just stick with those who are forewarned AND have an opportunity to influence the decision-makers before losing their job.

The purpose of off-shoring is not to add headcount.  It is to reduce costs.  Period.  Sure, you can try to sell your inter-personal skills and demonstrate how you add value to the company beyond your specific technical skills.  You might be able to find another position within the company that is currently vacant.  Maybe you can convince management to let you fill half of each role until the transition is complete.  Maybe you can be the project lead who directs the new off-shore staff.  Then again, maybe the developer in the cube next to you will get that job.  Is that what this session is about?  How to beat out the person next to you in this professional game of musical chairs?  Would it not be more useful to have a session on how to show decision-makers ways to reduce costs WITHOUT off-shoring?  Show how to address the “buyer’s pain” of the decision-maker without sending jobs away.

While we’re at it, perhaps I will present a session titled “How to make a migration to Exchange and Sharepoint work for Lotus professionals”.  The abstract would then go like this:

“Considering the current climate of migrations (a reality) and the fact that there are people who vehemently oppose this, I would like to present specific benefits for the developers/administrators who can have parts of their work migrated yet contribute meaningfully to their organizations.  Specifically in the Lotus World, how can this be achieved, what are the pitfalls and how a workable solution can be achieved.”

Anyone want to co-present it with me?



Part 2: Real life success stories using LinkedIn.

This is a continuation of Part 1: Secret Tips to Leverage your LinkedIn Network.

Here are a few of my success stories using LinkedIn:

  • Viewed a company I wanted to apply for a job.
    Upon reading a job posting, part of my research of the company includes checking the company profile on LinkedIn.  This often has information not found on their website.
  • Viewed a contact before we met for an interview.
    The interviewer already knows a lot about you.  They have probably searched the web for information about you as well.  On one occasion, when I knew who was going to interview me, I looked up his profile on LInkedIn.  I discovered the interviewer used to work at a company that I also had worked at.  In the interview I was able to focus on successes that I had at that company since he could relate to them.
  • A second degree connection was able to tell me about his job and his company.
    I was interested in an international company that was opening an office in the area.  I had no connections to the company, but in viewing the employee list, I found a second degree connection in another state with a similar job title.  I asked to be introduced and then learned more about what people did in that role at that company.
  • Discovered an old co-worker at a company and he helped me get an interview.
    I applied for a job at a company.  Then I checked the employee list on LinkedIn and it showed I had a 2nd degree contact there and in fact, I personally knew this person.  So I sent him an invitation to connect and then told him I had applied for a position there.  Not only did he know about the position and gave me more background about it, he also went to the hiring manager and handed a copy of my resume to him.  I got the interview and a job offer.
  • A second degree connection from a long lost friend saved me from taking the wrong job.
    This is my favorite and most complex LinkedIn experience.  I had just joined a social club and while viewing the website, I noticed that one of the new officers  was an old friend that I had lost touch with.  I didn’t have his email address or phone number, so I looked him up on LinkedIn and sent him an invitation to connect.  I reviewed his connections and  discovered one who happened to have a similar job title as mine.  I reviewed her profile and discovered she once worked at a company that I had just applied for a job.  I sent her an email to ask what she could tell me about the company.  I was glad I did.  She told me more about the details of the work environment.  Armed with that knowledge, when I went into the interview I was able to ask probing questions that I never would have thought to ask otherwise.  They offered the job, but I declined.  Had I not made that chain of connections I would have made a big mistake in accepting the position.

Remember that every person whose path you cross is a possibility.  The stranger waiting in line beside you at Starbucks, the person sitting beside you on a flight, the parent of one of the kids in your child’s class.  Remember that everyone has a story just as deep and broad and complex as your own.  And everyone is a portal into their own vast network of connections.  That network is invisible and unknown until you meet them and begin to connect with them, much like the creatures in the movie Avatar.  Occasionally you will meet someone who leads directly to an opportunity.  But it is more likely that opportunities  will come from a secondary connection.  It is not just the person, but that person’s network that is so powerful and broad-reaching.  Consider that a linkedIn network of 250 people will have about 40,000 second degree connections and over 3,000,000 third degree connections!

Part 1: Secret Tips to Leverage your LinkedIn Network

With social media being all the rage, it’s hard to know where to start.  With so many people unemployed, these skills are more important than ever.  The biggest professional networking site is certainly  I have been using LinkedIn for several years now and would like to share some tips and success stories I have collected in the process.

1.    Build your profile.
Do not just turn it into a copy of your resume.  Your profile should compliment your resume and provide information about you that doesn’t fit in a resume.  Resumes are tailored to be consumed by HR systems and recruiters that focus on filtering resumes by keywords rather than the human factors that make you stand out.  Your LinkedIn profile gives you a chance to complete the picture of who you are.  It should tell a story, show your personality, and be interesting to read and draw in your audience.  This style is catching on and I can tell you it works.  Be very attentive to spelling, grammar and integrity.  Would your previous employers agree with your descriptions?  Have friends review it.  For an example, check out my LinkedIn profile.  You’re welcome to post a comment with your feedback.

2.    Build your network.
Start with people you know well and have known professionally for a long time.  Search possible connections by their name.  Also browse the list of employees of companies where you have worked.  Don’t forget to connect to your friends from outside of work too.  High school and college friends, and friends from your social clubs.  Just be careful of who you add to your network.  Adding people you don’t really know devalues your network.  When someone accepts your invitation, reply with a thank you and more details about your current status.  If appropriate, ask them if they would like you to write a recommendation and ask them to make a recommendation for you.  Remind them you are willing to help them if they need it. (It’s about what you give, not what you take.)

3.    Advertise your profile.
Include the complete url in your resume, in your email signature, and in the body of your cover letter or cover email.  If you don’t market yourself, who will?

4.  Get acquainted with your network.
Every time you add someone to your network, read their profile.  You probably only knew that person at one or two of their jobs.  Take a moment to learn more about them.  Then review their list of contacts for people you already know and would like to add to your network.  Also look for people you want to meet.  They may work in your field or they may work at a company you are interested in.  Follow up on these leads promptly.

5.    Monitor your network.
Your network is constantly growing even if you don’t add any first degree connections, second degree connections are being added all the time.  Monitor your network updates.

6.    Leverage your network.
This is why you have a network.  Use it to keep in touch with friends.  Help them when you can and is appropriate.  Activate it when you need help.  See my success stories in Part 2 for examples of how to do this.

7.    Nurture your network.
Like a spider cares for its web so it doesn’t miss a meal, so too should you nurture your network so you do not miss an opportunity.  Networking does not mean just having a large network of contacts.  That’s like a power grid with no electricity.  Networking is the act of communicating with contacts on some regular basis.  So browse your contacts and email them or call them on occasion just to see how they are doing.  Do not only make contact when you need a favor.

8.    Look beyond LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great tool to expose details about your connections that you would otherwise miss.  But the vast majority of your network is not contained in your LinkedIn network.  Apply these rules to all of your connections, not just those within LinkedIn and watch your world grow.

Coming up next:  Part 2: Real life success stories using LinkedIn.

Why giving Designer Client away doesn’t matter to college students

(Reposted from my BleedYellow blog of Sept 22)

In some Caribbean islands, they had introduced weasels to try to control the rat population.  The only problem was that the weasels hunt during the day while the rats are active at night.  Instead the weasels went after birds and other species and mostly left the rats alone.   Well, targeting the new age of developers  with free Lotus Notes Designer software is much the same.

While it is good that Lotus Notes Designer is free, what is the point if the people most likely to use it can’t? That’s right, they can’t use it.  Why?  Because they have Macs.  Yes, at Bellevue College, right here in Microsoft land, at least 1/3 of the students working on a degree in web development own Macs.  These people like public domain software.  They use OpenOffice, iTunes, any browser except IE.  These are the same people who jump for any software that DOESN’T come from Microsoft.  Yes, so close, yet so far.

But would it really matter anyway?  I mean how many of these students have ever heard of Lotus Notes?  Seen it?  Know what it can do?  To them Lotus Notes is as unknown as the creator of the web (see my previous post.)  And if they know Ray Ozzie at all, he is just known as “the new guy at Microsoft.”

Do you think you know which technologies college students are using? Even in Redmond, WA, you might be surprised.

(Reposted from my BleedYellow blog on Sept 22)

I have seen numerous discussions about the need to draw “new blood” into the Lotus world and how college students are being groomed for Microsoft software.  Well, as of this week I can declare myself an expert on this topic and give you real world, firsthand, personal experience.  I just started taking classes this week at Bellevue College.  It is in Bellevue, Washington, the “city” adjacent to Redmond, headquarters of Microsoft.  I use quotes around the word “city” because it’s really just one continuous metropolitan area.  City boundaries are rather irrelevant.  Also, most of Microsoft’s recent expansion has actually been in Bellevue since they outgrew the Redmond campus.

These students live with Microsoft literally in their backyard and the live among friends and family who work there. So what would you expect these college students to favor for software?  Consider this:  in my web development class, half of the class of about 30 students balked when the teacher asked if it was OK to post assignments using Microsoft Word 2010.  It isn’t that they have an old version of Office.  It is that many of them have Macs.  At least 10 said they use OpenOffice exclusively.
Walking  into my web media class, I found a classroom filled with…Macs!  The teacher comments “for those of you who don’t know how to use a Mac, you can reboot it to run Windows.  Very few people took up the offer.

And what are they teaching?  In one class, the teacher opened with a discussion of the history of the Internet.  “Who created the Internet?”  No one has the answer.*   “Who created Windows?”  Everyone knows the answer. “Which has had a bigger impact on your life?”  the students chant a resounding “the Internet”.  She points out what a travesty it is that the man who created the web, HTML, and the first web browser and then declared it public domain, free to all, would get such little fanfare.
Just today, at the beginning of class, my professor said shockingly, “Oh, is IE the only browser on this machine?” as he logged into the professor kiosk to begin his lecture.

But not all of college life is so anti-establishment.  The website used by every class for everything from class blogs to homework assignments is hosted on SharePoint.  Why?  Probably because that’s all they know about.
*Do you know the answer WITHOUT googling it?  Post your answer.

The Notes Guy in Seattle –> The Lotus Guy in Seattle

Welcome to my new home.  Please visit my original blog at BleedYellow to view earlier posts.

The purpose of this alternate blog  from my blog at is in part a re-branding to be easier to find
(Notes Guy –> Lotus Guy).

The content will continue to be edgy, thought-provoking, and otherwise politically incorrect with technical tidbits thrown in for good measure.  Wallflowers are welcome, but the value comes with dialog and collaboration, not monologue.  So please join in.

And if you’re looking for an expert Domino system administrator, I am for hire.


David (The LOTUS NOTES Guy in Seattle)

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