Returning to my roots...

August 2 2004

I'm starting a new job today.  Within IBM.  Within Lotus.  Working with Lotus messaging, specifically a couple of products called Lotus Notes and Domino.  Maybe you've heard of them.
This move has been in the works for several months (and foreshadowed here many times!).  IBM has some really great career planning programs.  The particular program that I'm part of assigned me a mentor over two years ago, and that person and I checkpoint on a quarterly basis to discuss ways of moving my career ahead.  We started discussing this type of opportunity at the beginning of 2004; thus, when something came up, it was a pretty straight-forward decision process.
In my new role, I'm responsible for the sales of Notes and Domino worldwide.  I titled this entry "returning to my roots" for two reasons.  First, I'm going to be back in the sales organization.  I joined Lotus ten years ago as a systems engineer (IBM now calls this role "IT Specialist") in the Chicago sales office.  After several years in product development and marketing, I realized that being directly involved in day-to-day customer situations is one of the things I enjoy the most -- and something that plays to my individual strengths.  Second, my new role will have me focused on the Notes/Domino business.  In my previous role, I've been responsible for competitive strategy for the entire Lotus portfolio.  But prior to that, I was the brand manager (what IBM calls an "offerings manager") for Notes/Domino, and held a variety of other roles around those products.  This is a chance to come at that business from the sales side -- being the unit executive responsible for their success in-market.
Now, if we do this right, other than today's blog entry, you will see very little that is different about my day-to-day activities.  I'll still be speaking at conferences, user groups, and meeting with individual customers.  I'll continue to participate in electronic forums on LDD/Developerworks, the Partner Forum, and the blogs.  I'll still have a tremendous interest in the activities of my competition, and I might even take it a bit more personally than in the past (!). I expect this weblog to continue to have exactly the same kinds of content tomorrow as it did yesterday.
One thing that will change is my product focus.  I accepted this new role because I believe in the Notes/Domino product line, and because I believe in the future of Notes and Domino.  You can take this as a sign of IBM's commitment, too -- creation of a new leadership role, focused only on the products that some falsely, and foolishly, continue to claim are dead.  Let this posting be the decree -- it is now my job to ensure that you have what you need to understand where IBM/Lotus is going with the market-leading collaboration software.  I can't and won't be doing it all alone, of course...there is more focus on Notes/Domino within the Lotus and IBM software organizations than at any point I can recall in the last few years.  We have some great leaders in the product and development organizations (people like Ken Bisconti and Kevin Cavanaugh continue to sit atop those organizations).  But I'll be more hands-on than ever, and ready to help you where and when I can.
There are some who will probably search for secondary meaning behind this move.  Let me be really clear -- there is none.  I'm advancing my career in a way that is about as perfect as could possibly exist.  I'm doing what I enjoy the most, working day-to-day again with people who have been on this ride as long or longer than I have.  
It's going to be a fun new adventure -- I hope you'll share it with me.  The first stop is beta 2 of Notes/Domino 7 -- you can expect I'll be much more actively involved in this beta program from today forward.
And in case you are someone I'm working with in my previous job capacity, no worries -- I expect to be in transition for several weeks.  This week, for example, I'm doing a whole bunch of writing, speaking, and press interviews from the perspective of my previous role.  Hope to see some of you at LinuxWorld or otherwise in San Francisco this week.

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