As has been tradition here for the last several years, the end of year marks the anniversary of starting this blog -- now over six years ago -- and a time to reflect.  This has been an incredible and busy year, with many opportunities and changes.  It has been hard to summarize or highlight, given all of this.  I find myself a little less introspective, too...I am so excited about January that it is momentarily difficult to summarize the past.  Still, this effort has been a helpful one each of the previous years, and the down time between holidays seems like a great opportunity to reflect.

The basic statistics

    • 520 new blog postings, 7736 comments (average 14.88 comments per posting).  Thank you for making this weblog an interactive discussion.  Your input is what makes the difference -- I can talk to myself anywhere. :-)
    • 215K visitors, 610K visits, over 1 million pageviews.  These numbers are slightly down from 2007, but I also wasn't blogging as frequently (especially after the October job change, plus the use of Twitter) .  I also suspect more are following via RSS, but I don't track those hits at all.
    • Top five blog entries according to Google analytics: Interestingly, three of the top pages are all pre-2008!  The first "Hannover" announcement; "arigato gozimasu", Notes/Domino 8.0.1 announcement, iPhone 2.0 release, Modify Notes 6/7 letterhead.
    • Top five countries visiting USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada.  There was one visit all year from Antarctica, three from Cuba.
    • 32% of visits come in from Google and other searches; 32% are direct visits; and 36% come from referring sites.  Top referrer:
    • Browser profiles: 50.39% Firefox, 41.32% Internet Exploder, 4% Safari, 2% Opera, 1% Chrome.  90% Windows.  Mac now at 7% (up 1% Y2Y).
    • Technorati rank: Still in the top 25,000 (which amazes me given the explosion in blogging...even skeptical analysts now blog). ranking: 268,421 which is slightly up from 2007.
  • 2250 Twitter updates -- for a tool that I wasn't using until March of this year, it has proved to be quite useful.  How?  Twitter does two things: 1) It replaces blogging for tactical entries such as links to things that I am reading about, and 2) along with Facebook and LinkedIn, it deepens the relationship between us.

What happened this year
  • Lotus Notes and Domino 8.0.1 and 8.0.2 shipped, with 8.0.1 delivering additional new features and 8.0.2 addressing performance and resource requirements for the Notes 8 client while delivering iNotes for the iPhone.  Deployment of Notes/Domino 8 accelerated rapidly, with nearly 50% of Notes customers indicating in surveys and support calls that they have begun or completed ND8 rollouts, 15 months after release.  The Notes/Domino 8.5 development effort finished up and readied for an early 2009 launch.
  • The Notes/Domino business continued its growth pattern which started in mid-2004.  In July, IBM took the unprecedented step of press releasing specific financial performance for one product family, rather than aggregating brand information, to demonstrate how successful Notes/Domino has been.  Bob Picciano mentioned that thousands of organizations became new Notes customers this year, with wins as large as 300K users and as small as individuals using Notes for productivity.  The Notes/Domino software business today is nearly 50% larger per-annum than it was five years ago.  Just software.
  • Lotus Symphony shipped, and also released a 1.1 and 1.2 version.  Symphony has been downloaded over 3 million times, and the first reference stories have been published or announced.  In one recent customer engagement, we found that Symphony provided the client an opportunity to save over US$20 million in licensing and operational costs.  IBM's Project "Liberate" has many more such stories and continues to help organizations reshape the way they spend IT dollars on commodity products.  Symphony received several awards throughout the year, including CRN 2008 Product of the Year and Datamation Product of the Year.
  • Mobility was a major theme for the year, with IBM releasing Lotus Notes Traveler as well as an "ultra light" mode for iNotes.  IBM partners like RIM and Nokia made major enhancements to their integration and delivery, iNotes was a "staff pick" for the iPhone, and carriers began announcing specific support for Lotus.  Watch for more in this area in 2009.
  • Hosting, cloud computing, and software as a service all became buzzwords du jour, with little still separating hype from reality.  IBM announced Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging in October and went into beta with Lotus "Bluehouse" in May.  Microsoft used Exchange Online and BPOS as competitive catalysts, but analysts quickly saw through the tactic.
  • Lotus introduced the "Protector" brand family for mail security, with more to come in 2009.  Project "Atlantic" made its way out of the labs to early customers, and will ship its first release in early 2009.
  • I upgraded to a Blackberry Bold and haven't looked back.  While I am also a fan of the iPhone (in a household that is all Apple -- Mac, iPod, iPhone), this is the best business mobile device so far.  That it also has great personal features is a nice bonus.  I've only added a few apps to the Bold -- Sametime, Facebook, Twitter, and gMail for personal mail -- so I know there is a lot of potential still in this device.

What didn't happen this year
  • As I predicted at the start of the year, the "Notes is dead" meme is dead.  Even Microsoft has stopped trying to convince customers that this is the case.  If anything, this year's incredible amount of activity around the Notes/Domino family has assured a long and successful road ahead.
  • Though from time to time I hear that I'm spending too much time on the competition, only 40 of 520 blog entries this year focused on Microsoft as a competitor -- less than 10%.  There are many reasons. Microsoft didn't publish a case study of any major customer receiving tangible benefit from attempting to migrate their Notes applications to Microsoft.  If anything, their body language shifted mid-year away from the notion that Notes applications can or should be migrated to something else, and instead to the idea of trying to minimize Notes in the future.  Customers still weren't buying the story, with Microsoft acknowledging by end of year that customers who have supposedly made migration decisions but haven't actually migrated are their biggest credibility challenge in this space.  As a slight-of-hand trick, they instead tried to interject hosting and Exchange Live Online into the mix.
  • I still didn't implement an updated UI for this blog.  Steve, we really need to get to this!

2008 Travel
  • About 147,000 flying miles. One of my busiest travel years ever.  Numerous trips to Europe were the main reason for the big number.  Events, successful customer meetings, and a little bit of personal travel.  Yes, that's a big carbon footprint for the year.  A lot of e-meetings, though, too.  This was a year where I broke my two-night-minimum hotel stay frequently -- like Paris-Bremen-Dublin where I barely knew what city I was in for each event.
  • New countries: Turkey, Greece.  Overall I visited thirteen countries this year: Germany, Ireland, UK, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Greece, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil.
  • New cities: New dots on the map this year, including some great side trips like the tour of Roman Switzerland, the Mayan Riviera, Embu des Arts, and a whole bunch of new German cities.
  • New airlines and airports: Turkish, Olympic, TAM....IST, ATH, BRE, STR, CGH, SDU, GIG, GSO, BUR.
  • Cool memories: Lunch on Lake Geneva, "M" restaurant in Wiesbaden, Porc√£o in Rio, Xcaret, a customer meeting with "bling", champagne on the London Eye, Ben & Jo's wedding, Kathleen and Atom's wedding, 212 km/h on the Autobahn in an S-Class, everything about Istanbul, Acropolis by night, getting promoted.  And one I didn't blog -- my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary at L2O restaurant in Chicago, named by Esquire as the best new US restaurant in 2008.  Check out that blog, it really is an incredible place.

Looking ahead to 2009

In the past, I have used this section of my year-in-review to make predictions about the year ahead.  Now that I'm back in product management, the irony is I can't say much about the future until the time is right.  On a professional level, 2009 has much opportunity and promise.  My team has so many great projects and ideas, and you'll start to hear about them next week.  Lotusphere 2009 promises to be as exciting as ever, and the Lotusphere Comes to You schedule is building out fast.  Individually, I hope to learn how to use GTD and other management tools to keep moving this business forward, and bring innovation and opportunity to the fore.  On a personal level, we are already making plans for some exciting travel throughout the first half of 2009, in addition to balancing that with more time at home.

For you,  I thank you for reading and being a part of a very special product community.  While some seem to decry the "yellow bubble" as being insular, I see quite the opposite.  We grew the number of bloggers on this year by 15% or more.  Every google hit that lands on a Lotus community blog site has the potential to be introducing someone new to 300 of their future colleagues and friends.  It is no coincidence that the growth and continued success of Notes/Domino over the last four years coincides with the increase in the participation and "connected-ness" of the online community.  All of you who particpate, as lurkers, readers, commenters, bloggers, tweeters, Facebook/LinkedIn-ers, YouTube-ists, Diggers, or even good old fashioned LNotes-L posters are all helping to increase the awareness and reputation of where Lotus Notes and Domino are at in the market today.  Do not let the detractors convince you that any of this is a waste of time.  I know first-hand, everywhere I go in the world, that this community is what makes Lotus Notes what it is today.  While there have been days that I have considered "what's next", in the end, I wouldn't trade that sense of being a part of something special -- for anything.

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