IBM Connect 2016

I’m back from IBM Connect 2016.  People want to know how it was.  It’s hard to explain.  I mean, it’s my blog, so I’m going to try, but I’m certain some of you won’t believe me because you weren’t there.

The past couple of years have seen some negativity in our community.  Notes is Dead, Long Live Notes.  It’s something we’ve heard for…well, forever, but the last few years it seemed to be said louder and by more of the “faithful”.  I think it was Connect 2014 that was a big trigger for many as the technical content became just a small portion of the conference.  Last year it seemed efforts were made to resurrect Lotusphere, but it still felt a bit like raising the dead.

But this year.  This year was different.  Maybe it was the new venue.  Maybe it was that so many of us already said our goodbyes last year.  Who knows.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that there was a brand new attitude at IBM Connect.  It felt like IBM really cared.  I heard things like “we heard you and we want to change that this year”.  I also heard a lot of “next year, we will…” both in reference to products, but also the conference itself.  And it wasn’t just IBM that cared, the attendees cared.  It seemed there was more participation in things like Gurupalooza and less snark in things like the OGS.  (Let’s be real, this community will never have NO snark.)

The proof is in the pudding as they say.  So here’s my proof.  I suddenly want to blog again.  Technical posts, not just announcements of things and rib recipes.  I want to learn new things, new technologies (no, I don’t mean I am moving away from XPages, I mean stuff to do WITH XPages).  I want to code more.  I want to participate more.  It’s the feeling that I used to get when coming home from Lotusphere, and frankly, that I haven’t felt in a few years.

That’s the official conference “how it was”.  Of course, as many of you know, there is SO MUCH MORE to these conferences than technical content and product futures.  It’s the people.  I don’t just mean hanging out with my friends (more on that in a minute), which is great, but also just meeting new people who do what you do.  Having someone ask you a question that makes you completely rethink how a thing can be coded.  Asking someone else a question and getting an answer you never would have thought of.  Sometimes I feel like just hanging around these people, I absorb their knowledge.  (That’s what the hugs are for, Eric, I’m a code vampire).

And then, the totally unofficial conference “how it was”.  My friends.  So many dear and wonderful friends.  Newly made friends and old friends.  Some that came to Orlando JUST to see friends.  They weren’t attending the conference, they just came to see me, err, I mean everyone.  ; – )   And the friends who were there for the entire week and I was lucky enough to spend time with them at the receptions, in the bar, at the theme park, over lunch, etc.  Just time to connect (yes, pun intended) and laugh.  So many laughs.  Far too many of you to call out, so thank you to ALL who shared your time with me.  It is appreciated.