Summary: I still haven't met Bob Picciano, but I'm not supposed to.

Picciano made it clear to the IBMers here that our priority is spending time with the customers and partners in attendance at this event.  So, while I'm sure I'll meet Bob at some point today -- perhaps in my session/workshop this afternoon -- Instead I've been focused on talking with our invited guests.

Over the years, I've been asked, why don't you do what those other vendors do -- invite my boss to some cool place, with great food and an open bar, and show them the latest and greatest plans for your products.  Normally my answer is "send them to Lotusphere", but now I have a new answer.  The comment I heard consistently last night was that this event is exactly what we've been asked to do from a marketing perspective to further our relationships at mid- and senior- levels in key customer organizations.

While the exact presentation content is under NDA, you can get an impression of themes by reading some of the bloggers/twitter tweets writing about the event.  The first day's presentations were essentially the Lotusphere keynote and mini-keynotes smooshed into a single day.  I didn't arrive until after the opening keynote, but was seated in time for Kevin Cavanaugh, with help from Brent Peters and SAP's Deputy CTO, to cover the road ahead for Notes/Domino.  Kevin's presentation hit the mark perfectly -- he adopted a more conversational, more high-level approach for this audience, which struck a direct hit when he described Lotus Notes at age 19 as being, in his eyes, perfectly capable of the innovations and surprises you expect from any clever 19-year-old.  It was a great way of making the point that we're not done yet, and those 850 developers in the labs are innovating every single day.

Speaking of the labs, the usability team is here in full force, testing new "personae", new products and concepts, and talking to customers about usability efforts.  Anyone who thought that Mary Beth Raven and team were a one-hit wonder for Notes 8 are most definitely wrong -- the team is bigger now than then, and have a much stronger presence in every aspect of the product line's development.   LoLA attendees should be sure to check out the usability labs today.

The other keynotes were very good, of course, as well.  I especially found Sean Poulley's discussion of our plans for Software as a Service helpful.  A really great style format for the whole day was that between the executive presentations, customers were brought on stage for an "on camera interview" format with ISSL VP John Allesio.  I told him last night that he's ready for his guest segment hosting the Today Show...he was a strong presence and asked great questions throughout the day.

During last night's dinner reception, I had a number of really great conversations, much deeper than we can normally get at Lotusphere (with its constant time pressure to get to the next meeting or event or session).  That for me was the definition of why we're having this event.  My session today is intended to do that as well -- David and I are not presenting as much as we are leading a group discussion, and hopefully the attendees are bringing great discussion topics.  For those here, that session is 1:30 PM in Diplomat 3.  Hope to see you there, or throughout the day...let's talk.

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