Lotusphere 2012: A look in the back mirror

While I was cleaning up my Evernote today I found these thoughts from 2012. After more than 15 years with Lotus and IBM I have only two years left until I will be an IBM retire (but still working as a Social Business consultant I guess). I really look forward to the two years ahead because there are som much fun and so much inspiring developments going on in the world of social collaboration and social business. I have already got myself a private account with IBM Connections Cloud S1 and IBM Verse and I am one hundred percent assured that we are moving in the right direction! But at the same time I know I will miss all the fun and all the inspiring colleagues that has become personal friends for life.
Read my thoughts from 2012 and you will understand that a lot of that has already happened!
Lotusphere 2012:
Alone we are only popping champagne corks. Together we are dynamite!

NORWAY: – This is the second year in a row that I don’t participate at Lotusphere. Being a guy who breeds and bleeds yellow and have been working for Lotus for 15 years, I have to admit: It feels like being a small boy who has been left alone at home when the rest of the family goes on holiday. It feels lonely, it feels heartbreaking. But, someone has to stay at home and take care of the house, watering the flowers and feed the cat. And someone has to stay at home defending the fortress!

Lotusphere is a fantastic event. Thousands and thousands of people from all over the world gathers around one common interest; social collaboration. Not only are they interested in the technology – they are practically performing social collaboration live! They mingle, talk, laugh, change information, teach and learn, build new skills, meet new friends, meet old friends. People from all over the world, of all colors, all religions, all political standpoints, all cultures, all food preferences – they are all different, but they are all alike in some way – they are positive, peaceful, friendly and open! Lotusphere is a great place to be. Sometimes I think that the rest of the troubled world could learn something from the “Lotusphere Nation” – that collaborating socially makes the world a better place.
In january 2010 i participated at Lotusphere registered on IBM’s blogger quota. I blogged heavily during the Opening General Session, simultaneously. After three days I had posted nearly 50 articles from the event. Not only short news bits and comments, but interviews and full reports with pictures – like any web based news agency. That got me more than 7.000 readers – not bad when writing in Norwegian only with only 4,5 million Norwegians.
The year after I as not there, but blogged from my home office, following OGS especially and Lotusphere in general via the internet. I can assure you the result was not the same. The number of readers fell to 4.500 people. This tells me one thing, that I learned in my earlier days as a professional journalist – you have to stay close to the source!
Watching the streaming – often with technical problems and bad sound – will never be as good as being there. You never get the same feeling of togetherness as you do in that people packed conference hall. You never hear the summing, the comments, the intense nerve that is in the air. You never get the same inspiration via the internet. Being there is what rules.
Especially I will miss all the demo’s. Seeing is believing! I have more than a hunch on what will be announced, what the trend and the roadmap will be. If you are more than interested you will understand what has to come, without knowing all the facts in detail. You know that integration of social abilities and functions will be everywhere. You know that there will be more open technology. These are all technical stuff that many traditional Lotusphere-geeks are looking forward to. But for me, who is not a techie and has been working as a journalist and personal productivity adviser in my earlier career – the most interesting thing will be to see the new way of working!
You will see that the old way of working in silo’s will slowly disappear and transformed into a horizontal way of working. And the possibility to connect to other people will be integrated everywhere. We will see that everything is connected, people, documents, places – and there will be many ways to connect.
My thoughts goes back to that fantastic event when CNN’s founder, Ted Turner, set up a direct TV link between USA and USSR. He let ordinary americans talk to ordinary russians. For a young man like me at that time it became a learning for life. These people who has so very different lives and economic standards, suddenly understood that they all had the same worries and the same feelings about what life is all about. That TV show was imperative for my choose of a personal life agenda – and made me understand that social collaboration is what makes the world go forward.
Alone we are only popping champagne corks. Together we are dynamite!
Arne Sigurd Rognan Nielsen