Monthly Archives: January 2011

Social Media Challenge: Why are you at Lotusphere? (audience participation requested)

In a quick post before bedtime (I’m still on PST, so I can’t sleep yet), It was quite an adventure to get here, but I finally made it to Lotusphere 2011.  In less than 5 hours I’ve managed to meet up with many dozens of friends and associates, some for the first time face-to-face.  For all the fantastic knowledge to be gained from the sessions at this event, I always find it’s really the social aspects of the conference that make the difference.  To me, if you distilled the conference down to its essence, it’s all about the connections between people that make it worth the price for admission.  Ironically, that part is free.
Since this is all about social software,  and growing connections, I would like to invite you to post a quick response about why you are at Lotusphere 2011 (or why you are not here).  Don’t be shy.  You can even post anonymously if you choose.  Also, please be sure to find me and shake hands and share a business card and a word with me.  Follow me on twitter @davehabz to get the latest on where I am hanging out.  Also check here for a post and when in doubt, look for me around the fountain.


Seattle: Land of…Apple?? Also info for you wordpress bloggers

I have posted several times explaining how Seattle is not as Microsoft-centric as outsiders have convinced themselves. But I think this story really makes the point.

Yesterday I attended a free workshop about using WordPress for your blog presented by Bob Dunn who is quite savvy on the subject. The event was directed exclusively toward members of Biznik, a social media website where entrepreneurs and small business owners can network and share ideas.

Bob’s WordPress workshops are always filled to capacity with 35 people. In the past I didn’t give much notice to all of the people taking notes with Macs because I’ve grown used to seeing Macs so much in my classes at Bellevue College. But this time it finally dawned on me: where are all the PCs? Looking around the room I counted the following being used to take notes:

8 Macs
2 iPhones
1 iPad
1 PC
Also Bob was presenting on a Mac.
the rest were using paper.

That’s a 12:1 ratio in favor of Apple products. In Seattle. You know, Microsoft’s headquarters?

These are not just students or individuals doing this in their free time. All of the attendees here are entrepreneurs and small business owners who are heavily involved in social media. Just imagine the potential of this market for business software WITH NO COMPETITION FROM MICROSOFT.

Wait, it gets better. During the break, I chatted with the woman next to me. Her name is Viv and her company works with patients recovering from brain injuries. She had a Mac. I told her that I work with Lotus software. “Oh, I remember Lotus Notes” she said. “I used to use that at a company I worked for some years ago. I wish I had it for my email now.” She was using Mac mail. She was surprised to hear that Notes also works on the Mac. We talked about the widespread use of Macs at the workshop and she mentioned that at her last job the company used Macs exclusively. (Did I mention that the company is right here in Seattle?)

So where am I going with this? To Lotusphere, of course. In search of a plan of action to help provide this group of business and social media-savvy people in Seattle with the high quality software they demand.

Is your Inbox management a Mickey Mouse affair? It’s been a month. Is the scroll bar back?

As I prepare to head to Orlando, I saw a clip from Disney’s “Fantasia”.  All those brooms bringing bucket after bucket of water and nearly drowning Mickey Mouse.  Much like your inbox, yes?

Well a month ago I gave a suggestion on keeping your inbox empty enough so you don’t have to scroll to see all the messages.  You might have faithfully followed those steps in the beginning.  How long did it last?  A few days?  Maybe a week?  Here it is a month later and that scroll bar probably returned with a vengeance as if you had taken an axe to it like Mickey did to the broom and all the splinters became more brooms bringing even more water.  Don’t be discouraged.  Make a new folder “Inbox 2011” and start again.  Only through persistence will it become manageable and over time you will notice you go longer before the evil scroll bar shows up again.


David slings a stone at Goliath: LinkedIn Eastside Networking event to promote Lotus software in Seattle

One of the coolest things about living in the Seattle area is that its population is among the most tech-savvy in the world.  Apparently we have more high-tech/software companies per capita than anywhere else.  Our government, businesses and individuals have the greatest web presence per capita.  So it’s no surprise that every month several hundred people show up at a networking event driven solely by Check it out at the Eastside Networking Event. This month they will be starting a new feature. Attendees can submit a PowerPoint slide profiling themselves and their business which will be projected as a slide show during the gathering.

I am a firm believer in leading by example.  IBM intentionally chooses not to advertise the Lotus brand to 4 million of the most computer-savvy people in the world because of Microsoft’s presence here.  No problem, I got it covered.  I will not be intimidated by the competition.  I will not be so easily deterred.  I am confident that the superior quality and value of the IBM Lotus brand is desired by those tech-savvy people of the Puget Sound area who are not hypnotized by the gaze of Microsoft marketing.

As it turns out, that is a bigger portion of the market than those outside Seattle might realize.  Many of the high-tech companies here are competing against Microsoft — and winning.  The reality is, even Microsoft employees don’t always buy their own products.  The market here is changing dramatically.  MSFT stock is down.  IE which was once the browser of choice is now minor player taking a distant back seat to open source FireFox as well as Chrome and Safari.  Search and personal email accounts are dominated by Google.  Sure, old-school companies that are still looking for “one brand fits all” go to Microsoft.  For many workers in Seattle and elsewhere, that’s all they know, so that’s what they buy.  But the tech-savvy people of the world are finding that innovative solutions don’t all start and end at one company.  People are recognizing that to differentiate yourself from your competition, you must do things differently than your competition.  So to those who think outside the box and those who look for best of breed and those who consider cost as an important factor,particularly small-medium sized businesses, the MS brand has lost it’s luster, even here in Seattle.

I’m used to being the underdog.  After all, my name is David. And what better place to sling my rock at Goliath than from a networking event held one block away from the tallest, newest Microsoft building.  Here is my slide.
Linkedin eastside networking event profile of The Notes Guy In Seattle
So my question to you is this: What are YOU doing to burst the Microsoft myth and make people aware of the real value of Lotus software?

“I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.”

–Walt Whitman

The Notes Guy In Seattle will be in Orlando! Meet me at Lotusphere 2011.

Yes, like a bad Michael Jackson song, I’ll Be There. Watch my blog for details on how to find me. I hope to meet up with y’all. You can also follow me on twitter (davehabz) for more immediate info on my whereabouts while at the conference. Or send me an email and we can make a plan. When in doubt, look for me by the piano or basking in the sun by the water (I’m a Gator. It’s what we do.). No, I won’t be singing.

Now let me spin an oldie for you. Just close the blinds, click the youtube below, crank it up and..”I’ll be there.”

One of the very first Lotus ads. Anybody know when this was made?

Old school Lotus info-mercial.  I love the Monty Python style. But it looks like they didn’t know how to explain what Lotus software was back then either.  If anyone knows the history behind this ad, please share it with all of us.

The most amazing and relevent presentation ever posted on about effective use of Social Media

I was going to to post a presentation of my own when I happened upon this presentation about storytelling and social media. It was appealing from the very first slide. Having just finished a college level, 5 credit-hour course on digital storytelling, I have a new perspective on this topic.

Storytelling is an important part of getting people to hear your message. Whether you sell Lotus software to the people in the business world, give presentations at Lotusphere, write a blog, or just have a linkedin profile, understanding this topic will have a huge impact on getting the results you seek.

There are actually two things to note about this presentation.
1. The style and structure of the slides. Visually appealing, Very few words, yet it yields a powerful message.
2. The content of the presentation. The message it contains.

As you sit through hours of sessions at Lotusphere and view their presentations, ask yourself how their presentations could be enhanced by incorporating the style of this presentation and the storytelling techniques it describes.

Promoting Lotusphere to college students: Learn about careers in Lotus software for web dev tools, social media and more!

It’s great to see an IBM business partner stepping up and making an effort to promote careers in Lotus software at colleges and inviting students to attend the opening day of Lotusphere 2011 is a fantastic venue for showing IBM’s stuff to the workers of the future. As an online prelude to the free attendance to opening day, they take visitors through a quick history of Lotus software and a lesson on xpages development.

An excerpt from their site tells you the WIIFY:

What’s in it for you?
A rare opportunity to attend a student’s only meeting with key IBM Executives from R&D, Marketing, and Business Development
Meet with IBM Engineers to learn what skills will allow you to quickly start a career working on IBM platforms as well as their insight into the future
Learn what new IBM software will be delivered around social media, collaboration and web development
Network with 200 small, medium and large companies in the IBM Showcase
Network with over 6500 business professionals in attendance
Attend technical and business oriented sessions
Go to the Labs where you can get hands-on experience with the software as well as talk to IBM developers and engineers
Attend a Women in Technology session with Kristen Lauria, VP Marketing IBM and Sandy Carter, VP IBM Software Group (for woman only)

Check it all out here:

Even if you aren’t at a college in Florida, you should check out the info on the history of Lotus software and the latest on their software development platform with XPages:

Students, it’s easy to think Microsoft is the end-all for software. The reality is IBM is the leader in business software. They just don’t make a big deal about it.

The real story behind what happened at “Ask the Developers” session at Lotusphere 2010

Last year at Lotusphere 2010, I attended the “Ask the Developers” session.  This is the last session before the closing session of the conference and has always been my favorite session to attend.  It is also one of the best attended sessions.  The stage is filled with most of the Lotus development team attending the conference.  In this session anyone in the audience can step up to one of the microphones placed in the isles and ask them a question.  There is an impartial moderator who directs which mic has the floor and keeps the process running.  The questions are usually very pointed, like “When are you going to finally fix the…?” or “What happened to the cool feature in the last version where…?”  It has the feeling of the congressional hearing when the Big Three automakers came asking the government for a handout.  It’s fun because if you ask a good question that everyone has had on their minds, you’ll hear the crowd applaud and cheer, or maybe it will be one they never thought of but like, and they all go “hmm” with their heads nodding in agreement.  Of course the inquisition is not without its risks and the crowd can be as merciless toward the questioner as they are toward the developers.  Don’t you dare ask a silly question and God forbid you try to weasel in a second question with folks standing in line behind you at the mic.  You will be thoroughly castigated. That sets the scene.  Now here’s what happened at last year’s “Ask the Developers” session…

David Hablewitz onstage at Ask The Developers session Lotusphere 2010

Me onstage as an honorary developer

I got there early to get a good seat and to get in line at a microphone to be sure to get a chance to ask at least one and possibly two questions.  I sat next to the microphone in the center isle.  The developers would be sitting directly in front of me.
When the Session started, Bob Balaban opened with the first question.  I was next.  “First, a comment on behalf of the few remaining Lotus professionals eeking out a living in the Pacific Northwest, I would like to invite Ed Brill and his team to come to Seattle and work on expanding Notes customers.”  Ed stood up in the audience and responded with something like “Will Microsoft host the meeting?”  Then my question:  Does Lotus Know how much of a pain in the butt it is for administrators to clean up after a rogue replica of a database replicates after the purge interval?  Large applause.  All of you have experienced this issue at sometime in your career with Notes. (see my idea at IdeaJam )  The response was a hollow promise.  Another year has passed and the issue still exists.

They went around taking questions from each of the mics and came back to mine.  No one else had stepped up to the mic with a question, so I stepped up and asked “Does Lotus Know when we will get Notes Buddy back, particularly the component that reads your email and Sametime chats so you can hear them?”  (This was right after the Lotus Knows campaign was started.)  If you don’t know NotesBuddy, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Apparently not too many people at IBM know NotesBuddy either because the question was met with confusion.  No one knew how to answer.  Too bad.

Only one person came to my microphone (yes, it was becoming MY microphone).  So soon I had a chance at a third question.  This one was “Does Lotus Know When they will eliminate the modal dialogs?”  This was met with great applause.  My post on ideajam has nearly 100 votes.

No one came to my mic again so I got to ask a fourth question.  My question was “When will we get an Exchange connector?  The current one by MS is bug-ridden and doesn’t work with any version of Notes after 6.5.  It is a perception thing showing IBM’s lack of commitment if nothing else.”  Again great applause.  Ed Brill stepped up and asked what is our purpose: migrations or coexistence?  Migrations, but that’s not the point.
Ed also offered up that maybe there should be a session for asking the product managers next time.

Fifth question:  By this point the moderator and I are on a first name basis.  When it’s my turn again he asks: “Yes, David?”
“Can I have my own mic next time?” I ask.  The room bursts in laughter.  That was when Jeff Mitchell, whom I had spent a great deal of time talking with in the Meet the Developers lab during the week, invited me up to sit beside him onstage.  There happened to be one empty seat right next to him, front row, center stage.  Of course I went up and took my seat.  He gave me the Lotus shirt off his back and then handed me the mic.  Cheers from all around.  My 2 minutes of fame.

Then my question:  “I actually got the answer to this question in the lab, but I liked the answer I was given enough that I thought everyone would like to hear it.  When will SwiftFile be incorporated into the Notes client?”  The question was answered that, due to multi-lingual challenges, it could not be included directly, but they were working on a plan to incorporate that code into the product throughout and it would be coming soon.  (News flash:  12 months later and not a peep about it.)

When the next person in the audience asked a question, the developer responded by handing me his laptop and saying “I’ll get David right on it.”  News flash: 12 months later and I still don’t have it done.  Touché.

A few more questions and then the session was over.  My moment of fame.  Then we all filed out and migrated from the Swan to the Dolphin for the closing session.  While waiting in the lobby for the doors to open I was greeted by Chris Baker from IBM who came up to me and said “That was quite an impromptu interview!”  We chatted for a bit and traded business cards.  I left a positive impression.  After the closing session he caught up with me again and he said “You should assume you have the job.”  I believe it is all about creating opportunities.  Much like Leo DeCaprio in “The Titanic”.  (interesting parallels on several levels.)  He said he would be getting back to me with the people to contact.

Sadly, a few weeks went by and I did not hear back.  When I finally reached him, he informed me that he could not hire anyone.  In fact, he had just lost several members of his team.  Those jobs were moved to India.  Ironically, a harbinger of my future as well.

A year has passed.  Lotusphere 2011 is only weeks away.  Has anything changed?  Yes.  Ed Brill added “Ask the Product Managers” session to Lotusphere 2011.
Too bad I won’t be there for it.  But aside from that, has anything really changed?
I ask you, my readers, to attend these sessions and ask these questions again on my behalf.

Better yet, do you have any ideas for covering my conference registration?  Split a room?
Maybe I can help you with some Domino support in trade?

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