Lotusphere 2006 attendance is shaping up.... I can't disclose registration numbers, but there has been a 50% uptick in the last few weeks and more coming in by the day.  A whole lot of you have not yet joined the Lotusphere 2006 frappr -- please be sure to add yourself to the map.

My rant today, though, is about people who are not yet registered to attend Lotusphere.  Specifically, I mean partners who make part or all of their living building/deploying Lotus software-related solutions.  A few days ago, I had an e-mail discussion with a consultant who is not registered for Lotusphere.  They said that they might yet do so, they are waiting to see how some of their project commitments for 2006 shape up.  I expressed disappointment, because I believe that partners who make a living with Lotus software should be at Lotusphere, period.  Now, I understand for those of you in Europe/Asia/Africa/Australia, the travel costs to Orlando might be prohibitive.  But for US/Canada and environs, the travel costs this year are so low, they can't really be your barrier.  So what is?

Why do I think partners who work with Lotus software should be at Lotusphere 2006?  Because there is no better place to find out how to grow and enhance your business for 2006 and beyond.  There's no better place to meet prospective customers, and keep up relations with existing customers.  There's no better place to talk with IBM executives, management, and product development, to get your voice heard about current and future products.  There's no better place to network with other partners who you can work with on joint projects and proposals.  There's no better place to learn about new products and solutions that can help with your projects.

From my perspective, after 11+ years in the Lotus marketplace, the partners I meet at Lotusphere and other similar events are the ones I turn to for a sense of what's going on in the market, bounce ideas off of for what IBM could be doing differently or better, and consider when asked for referrals or contacts.  If you're not at Lotusphere (or a similar event such as DNUG), you're not on my (or other Loti) radar.  Sure, I get that face-to-face is hardly the only way to build business relationships in 2006.  But the investment of time and money to be at Lotusphere speaks of commitment in a fairly unique and (to me) important way.

It's 40 days away.  Be there or be square.

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