I got sucked into the machine this week -- as I expected, I spent most of my time in meetings and events, and had little to no time to blog or even participate in many aspects of the conference.  It's very different now, which is sad in a few ways and exciting in others.  I acknowledge that sitting at Kimono's last night, I looked and felt like a zombie, and I will need another day or two to recover.

Yesterday's Ask the Product Managers session was at least a 90% success.  

Despite the pre-conference build-up, almost all of the questions were relevant, professional, engaging, and most importantly, interesting.  Yeah, there was some showboating going on, with people who already had met product managers and asked the same questions trying to build crowd support -- sorry to disappoint, but that isn't usually a major impetus for us.  In fact, if you raise something that the crowd broadly supports, we usually KNOW already that the crowd broadly supports it.  And we might be doing many things internally to try to make it happen, but there are some things where we can't be open because it's little more than informed speculation, or we didn't have the right people (e.g. 'navigation on ibm.com'), or doing something you are asking for is just really hard.  

We also won't always get the right people on the stage, e.g. the Foundations question, so it was best to just leave that alone.  

I hope you also saw a willingness to take bullets rather than dodge them, and even inject a little humor into the process.  Yes, that one guy got unprofessional and I kind of lost composure in response, but I surely didn't expect to start answering a question and be interrupted with "I don't care".  

Putting those two elements aside, I talked with many of the PMs afterwards and we really enjoyed the session.  And as a bonus, I think the Ask the Developers session was much better this year, because the PMs had taken all the PM-type questions already.

My team and I leave the conference with a lot of work to do.  We had a team meeting after ask the PMs and talked about some key themes of the week and objectives in the upcoming months.  They all had great sessions and the feedback was fantastic -- especially on Traveler, Domino apps in the cloud, and LotusLive Symphony.  We know we need to do more to amplify these messages -- one great example was the mostly-uninformed room at Ask the PMs about the entitlement to Lotus Mobile Connect client, free since October 2009.

There are again hundreds of people I never saw this year, and that makes me sad.  On the other hand, this year we didn't see any doctors or hospitals, and Chloe turned into a "booth babe".  You all welcomed my family again with open arms, right down to the two guys from the Twin Cities who sat down with Deborah, Chloe and me at Wednesday lunch.

It's two weeks to the first LCTY events that I'll be at -- Germany (Munich, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt).  In between, we need to distill what we learned and took away from this week and go execute.  Thank you again for being part of the large and growing community that helps us all succeed.  It was great to see you, to talk to you, to hug, smile, and enjoy.  See you next year.

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