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A sneak peek into the upcoming announcement about the Lotus brand and IBM’s 100-year philosophy


Is Lotus Notes the next Selectric Typewriter?  This USAToday article about IBM turning 100  reveals some clues into the motivations that drive IBM which might tell us about their plans for the future.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking IBM is a corporate old-timer that just watched technology evolve. It has remained at the forefront through the decades and tops several of its whippersnapper rivals in some regards. “

Of course we’re talking about the same company that totally missed some opportunities like the operating system for their personal computers that has gone on to become their nemesis.  We’re talking about a company that has taken the once-famous brand of Lotus and made it disappear from the public eye better than a Harry Houdini magic act.

“This isn’t like the auto industry, where the combustible engine still exists, or oil, where many parts of the business are the same,” Iwata says. “We have to let go of what we have invented. We stopped making typewriters, punch-card machines, PCs. We had to move on.”

Hmm.  Is this foreshadowing?  When I was 8 years old I saw the movie “Old Yeller”.  In spite of all the clues, I did not did not see that coming.  I thought that dog would live forever.  Have I gotten any better at reading the clues?  Probably not.  But here’s another one:

“•Ability to move into new businesses without abandoning core tenets. IBM is a classic example of a company that had to get into entirely new businesses, without turning its back on what got it to where it is, Collins says. If you consider what IBM’s mission is, it’s not about computers or technology. It’s about allowing its individual employees to create ways for its customers to solve operational problems, Collins says. Whether that’s a task best done with scales, typewriters or computers doesn’t matter; what matters is that customers’ needs are answered, Collins says. “

I don’t know how this movie will end.  Maybe we’ll learn more on the Greenhouse webcast about the future of the Lotus brand June 28 at 10:00AM ET.

Meeanwhile, let’s get some popcorn and watch a few movie trailers.


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Visions of the Future


Here are links to presentations from some major players on their vision of the future.  What do you think?

IBM
Microsoft
Apple
Dr. James Canton

To find out about how Social Media plays into this, be sure to watch the live stream of the 140 Characters Conference Northwest in Vancouver, WA at http://nw2011.140conf.com/  on Thursday starting at 8:00 AM PST. Check out the schedule for the list of speakers and topics.  Bruce Elgort and Chris Martin will be speaking around 10:15.  I will be presenting around 8:55 AM.  If you miss the live feed, watch for the rebroadcast posts.

Twitter #140confNW
To quote from the conference website:

WHAT IS THIS CONFERENCE ALL ABOUT? The key focus of this conference is on how real time technology (like Twitter and Facebook) is changing business, government, healthcare, social services, media, education, celebrity – and everything.
There will be over 40 different presentations with nearly 70 speakers, all presenting back-to-back and all without the aid of powerpoint.   This is Storytelling 101.
For those who cannot attend in person, this conference will be live streamed on the internet.
WHEN & WHERE? Join us May 19, 2011, for the first Pacific Northwest 140 Character Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, Washington.

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