I can't say much about my time in San Jose today other than "I met with Apple".  Not trying to start rumors -- they're not ever helpful in the Apple space.  Instead, my point is that I realized tonight how much of my time in my new job has been spent with partners and the Notes/Domino ecosystem.  This will continue tomorrow and later this week and into the next several.  Simply put, I've never realized more than now how much can be accomplished for my team's products when working successfully with our partners, ISVs, and other channel players.

Much of the success of Lotus Notes can be traced over the years to partner activity.  Yesterday's blog post about Notes applications for project tracking demonstrated that -- within a very short span of time, eight or nine different Notes-based solutions to my problem were proposed.  But when I think about "partners', I am not just thinking about the traditional Notes business partner who builds applications, tools, or accessories for Notes.  There are many other categories to draw from -- operating system vendors, hardware providers, software authors, web application services, solution providers, and many more.

It is a testimonial to the technical/architectural vision and flexibility of Lotus Notes and Domino that now, almost 19 years after the product's introduction, the opportunities for integration with Notes are larger than ever before.  The challenge, though, is that the opportunities are more varied, more complex, and further-reaching than ever before.  Part of what the product management team wants to accomplish is to expand the reach of Notes through some of these opportunities.  

One challenge we have, though, is that we spend a lot of time with tools vendors.  You all are great and clearly make Notes/Domino an even better product through all your incredible work.  However, I am finding quickly in my new job that my knowledge of solution vendors as well as partners that extend the value of Notes is more shallow than I would like.  Yesterday's blog post was one helpful example of how to identify the solution providers -- but (and surprisingly, nobody pointed this out in the first 28 comments) it should not have come to be that I had to blog a question like that to find out who offers project tracking tools for Lotus Notes.

I'm not sure we can ever go after every good opportunity, but the benefits are clear.  Some of the great partnerships established for Notes/Domino are with companies like RIM, SAP, and Apple.  The ability to promote today's Notes message through OpenOffice.org, Eclipse,org, Canonical, Red Hat, Google gadgets, and many more integration points is quite useful.  All of these organizations have different audiences, amplified reach, and unique reasons to promote how/where they add value to Lotus Notes/Domino.  As my new boss has clearly taught me, these are models that work -- and we shall be doing more with them as well as more of them.

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