We had about 200 people at the Lotusphere Comes to You in Chicago today.  The venue was awesome -- the Metropolitan Club, located on the 66th floor of the Sears Tower in the Chicago loop.  Today was a beautiful day in the Windy City, and as the event started, you could see for about 20 miles in any direction from our vantage point.  I think it was inspiring.

While it was great as always to see familiar faces in the hometown crowd, there were a lot of new ones today, too.  There was something else different, too -- when I asked the question of which customers are running Notes 8 in their environments, only about 20-25% of the hands went up.  I was a bit surprised, as this number has been running in the 40%+ range for the last several months of similar speaking engagements.  Much later in the day, I brought this up in an executive roundtable, and we realized there was a correlation with the increased attendance and new faces.  

It's all in-line with something Andrew Pollack said to me a few weeks ago...he said that he was hearing many Lotus business partners indicate their business was up so far this year, even despite the tough economy.  

Attendance up at Lotusphere Comes to You (all over the world...Paris 500, Tokyo 1000, Washington DC 300), new faces, back-level deployments, busy business partners.  It all points to an interesting phenomena -- the current climate is driving IT to look around at what tools you already have and see what else you can do with them.  This is a real opportunity, and I am so glad that we have come into the market with Notes/Domino 8.5 at just the right time.  There are so many reasons to upgrade and so many more ways to derive value from existing Notes/Domino investments, and the customers at LCTY today were there to take home ideas and actions.

Other interesting observations from the day were how many people in the room

  • Use LinkedIn -- almost everyone
  • Use Twitter -- more than half the room
  • Use Facebook -- 2/3rds of the room
  • Have Apple Macs in their business environment -- 75%+
  • Had heard of Lotus Notes.... well, nevermind.

Late in the day, Bob Picciano hosted a roundtable with executives from half a dozen key Lotus brand customers.  Also there were Bob McDonald who runs Lotus support and Tom Wroblewski who runs Lotus sales in North America.  This was an interesting new experience for me -- both in terms of watching Picciano in action with customers and also being part of the action.  My learning from this hour -- you all have more opportunity to tell your bosses about great new Notes/Domino cost-saving features like DAOS, DCT, and Symphony.  We spent a good ten minutes talking about DAOS with these CIO-level executives, with three of them rapidly scrawling notes on the topic.  I wouldn't be surprised if one of you gets the call on Friday from your boss to start looking at DAOS :-)  We also talked a lot about Symphony and the opportunity for user segmentation, and several of the organizations in the room indicated that this is an important part of their thinking for the year.  

Bob and I also had the opportunity to talk to Burton Group analyst Craig Roth, who raised some interesting points about Lotusphere, LotusLive, Lotus Connections, etc.  Wish we had had more time for that.

All in all, a very good day spent with customers and partners in the big city.  If Nashville/New York/Boston/Columbus/Toronto/Indianapolis are all as useful in the next few weeks, I'm going to be a pretty happy guy.  Thanks to everyone who made the time to be a part of today's event.

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