The last three weeks have probably been among the most intense of my career.  In the last two days, five months of work culminated in approvals to move a project forward.  Unfortunately, as with many things since I moved back into product management, I can't say what we decided, yet.  But I can promise you this much -- my team and I are not content with business as usual.

So much else has been going on.  I was in new executive training at IBM's learning center last week.  100+ of IBM's ~6000 executives, assembled for three days to help understand our company's future -- and learn how to shape it.  I received feedback from my team on my progress as a manager and a leader, and my results were extremely encouraging.  It's always interesting when you get survey results and find out you're (much) harder on yourself than anyone else is.  I'm grateful to be working with a whole bunch of talented people -- and to be able to help lead them to achieve more.  This week, I've had some staffing changes in those I manage (announcements coming soon internally), and I'm confident those who are doing new things will be successful at those new things, while equally excited to bring in new talent.  One of the quotes from one of my staff in the surveys was something like "Ed expects greatness from his team and ensures we are set up to achieve that".  The intensity those of you on the blog see in words is entirely consistent with my actions as a manager and a leader, and is why I'm proud of what we've done as an organization in the last few months.

There have obviously been some challenges and distractions along the way.  The lies -- and there is no other way to characterize them -- coming out of Microsoft's partner conference this week are simply astounding.  Declaring "Notes free countries" and claiming that they've "Exchanged" millions of Notes users in the last three fiscal years -- let me say this clearly, it does NOT compute with the fact that we have grown the number of active Notes/Domino users on maintenance for four consecutive years, that we've brought in thousands of new Notes/Domino customers in that time, and most importantly, that IDC said in their recent report that both IBM and Microsoft were essentially flat in terms of market share in the integrated collaborative environments markets in 2008.  I am working on other evidence points...can't find any data that we've got any Notes customers in North Korea right now, maybe that's what MS is talking about.

There's progress, too.  The 8.5.1 managed beta is doing extremely well.  We're working on some ways to start publishing feedback from beta participants -- on Designer 8.5.1, on XPages in the Notes client, on Notes Traveler for iPhone.  The fixpack for 8.5 should be out any day now, too.  OpenNTF.org took a huge step forward today through the selfless actions of the steering committee.  I am hopeful the foundation is there now to move back from organizational creation to what really matters -- more code, more accessible.  And in another I-can't-tell-you-yet, I saw some stuff this week from our marketing team that is nothing short of wow.  Yes, it should have come sooner and no, it will never be enough, but despite some of the blogosphere attacks, the Lotus marketing team is doing many, many good things right now.

I know there has been an enormous amount of hue and cry in the Lotus community in the last several months.  I'll leave the individual comments out here, but through my actions and where I'm spending time -- which blogs and whose tweets -- it should be obvious which contributions matter and which ones are self-important irrelevancy.  I've also learned to apply a coarser filter to what's being said -- there's just too much good out there to worry about responding to the misguided.  I won't put my credibility at risk by ignoring problems -- I've jumped into some pretty heated discussions in the last few weeks -- but I also won't give that credibility to baseless, narrow attacks.  

Many, many of you reading have been great about the side conversations, e-mails, bleedyellow IMs, and face-to-face discussions in the last three months.  It's what inspires me to keep one eye on planetlotus.org and/or my blog and Twitter each day, and spending as much time talking with all of you.  Thank you for your meaningful contributions -- you have no idea how important some of these blog discussions have been.  Well, maybe you would if you had seen the slides I was using this week -- many of your comments ended up on slides in front of the Lotus executive team and other decision-making bodies.  And let me tell you this -- they had an impact.

The second half of this year has a lot of excitement ahead.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

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