A Legacy Notes Developer's journey into madness.

IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

Devin Olson  February 8 2016 06:29:35 AM
Before I give you my thoughts about Connect 2016, I need to first provide a bit of a background.

I have faithfully made the annual pilgrimage to Orlando every year since my first one back in 1998.  I have been there for the highs and lows, representing 6 different employers (and several times just as myself).  I have forged long-term SOLID friendships with people from all over the world.   Lotusphere (and then Connect, then ConnectED, and now Connect again) has been a VERY important part of my life, and career, for 18 years.  

I say this so you fully understand how big of a decision it was for me to NOT attend Connect 2016.  

I, and all of my teammates at work, had decided it just wasn't worth the effort to attend this year.

The last several Lotusphere / Connect events at the Swan / Dolphin have consistently gotten worse each year, and listening to the death knell of a product I loved ringing ever more loudly by IBM had become too painful to bear.  It felt as though people were trying to be upbeat and excited, but everybody knew things were coming to an end.  The customers, partners, vendors, and even IBM staff all bore the stink of death on their souls.  The last two conferences felt as though we had moved to hospice, and were sitting around waiting for the final bell.  

So last year, on the final day, I said my farewells to my friends, and left the Swan and Dolphin knowing something special and magical had gone forever.  

And then this year, something rather unexpected happened.  I was named an IBM Champion.  

My wife Tanya (whom many of you know) told me I had no choice in the matter -I would be attending Connect 2016.  

So last minute travel arrangements were made, phone calls and meetings set up, and last week I found myself at Connect 2016.  I was busy has hell -helping out with the IBM BP Beer Tour (huge thanks to Amanda Bauman and Duffy Fron, and IBM for turning SpankyBrews into a proper, officially sponsored event), giving a SpeedGeeking session (which I totally ROCKED), attending other sessions, meeting with vendors (including several NEW ones), attending social events with friends, sitting on the GuruPalooza panel (which also ROCKED), and doing all the other crazy / insane / busy things that one does when stuff matters and people are counting on you.  

The venue had changed (the Orlando Hilton at the Orlando Conference Center); and while I miss the Dolphin / Swan, I think the choice of the Hilton was a good one.  The food / beer was WAY better, the layout was better, getting to and from sessions was easier, the Vendor Showcase was better.  Basically every thing about the Hilton (other than fond memories of times past) was better.  

And I noticed something different.  Something had CHANGED.   The feeling of dread from the last several conferences was gone.  It has been replaced with something else.  This new thing has not yet fully formed -it is more of an anticipation of good tidings in the future.  It is the vestiges of excitement, the beginning of a promise of good things to come.  

To quote and hold song: "Hope is like a lighthouse keeper's beam; Hope the master cobbler of our dreams"  

Hope has returned -you could see it in the faces of the people there.   And that is what really matters -the people.  Not the product, not the number of seats / licences / partners / etc.  It is people, and their relationships with one another, that matter.    The feeling of hope has invigorated me -I am filled with excitement about my projects / code for the coming year.  The stuff I am going to make and do will be amazing.

I am very glad I went.  And I hope to attend again.

1Volker Weber  02/08/2016 7:44:57 AM  IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

I am sure you glad you made it.

2Sharon Bellamy James  02/08/2016 9:06:27 AM  IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

Devin - I was the same .. I wasn't going to attend either as I fund myself, but after being announced as an IBM Champion I felt I needed to go .. and boy was I glad I did .. it was WAY better than I expected, I loved the new layout and venue and there was so much hope and excitement .. I am going to blog my thoughts this week, but I am with you .. something has changed and I like it :)

3Graham Acres  02/08/2016 10:07:46 AM  IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

I agree too. Put slightly differently by someone on the way back from the Tuesday night visit to Harry Potter, "the ghosts of Lotusheres past have been left behind." There was a visit to Kimono's on Wednesday evening by some, but otherwise this year had new energy and I was very happy to see it.

4jason  02/08/2016 12:17:16 PM  IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

the death was executed by couple IBM CEos

5patrick kwinten  02/09/2016 5:35:46 AM  IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

did you hear anything good regarding xpages, since it is so bound to Notes?

6Devin Olson  02/09/2016 7:38:14 AM  IBM Connect 2016 - Final Thoughts

Patrick: I'm not sure if I fully understand your question.

Yes, of course I heard many good things about XPages. I'm not sure what being "bound to Notes" means.

XPages is JSF based server technology, and is no more "bound" to Notes than it is to Oracle or MS-SQL or Couch, or anything else. You can bind the data source of an XPages application to literally anything you can touch using Java or EL.

Notes is the Client, and except for running XPinc (XPages In Notes Clent) applications (which I personally think is a waste of effort), I can't see any binding requirement at all for XPages to Notes.

Hope this helps!