Back in the saddle yesterday, I spent some time last night looking at Lotusphere 2011 session abstract proposals.  With the submission deadline passing last Friday, we received about 850 session proposals.  That's a little bit lower than last year, but from my first pass through, I believe that the proactive outreach from some of the track managers helped get higher quality and less "spray and pray" quantity.

There is a new trend I notice in the abstracts I've received -- a significant number of session proposals from a speaker pair where one is the IBM subject matter expert, and one is a customer or business partner with expertise in the same area.  I don't think we've done too many of these in the past, but there are enough such submissions -- high-quality ones at that -- that we may have a new Lotusphere tradition to establish on the speaker podiums in Orlando.

There are several changes and new tracks this year, so I was pleased to see the re-emergence of quality customer case study submissions.  There's also an impressive number of submissions to the new "business solutions" track, speaking to the increasing percentage of Lotusphere attendees who are executives, line-of-business, or otherwise not the traditional deep technical audience.  I think there will be more of that demographic with us in Orlando in 2011, as a result especially of the new day pass registration options.  People who couldn't invest five or six days at a conference may come for one or two, and hear key sessions for them.  The business solutions track caters to that audience.

Just a reminder, as with last year, we haven't had any submissions yet for Lotusphere Idol through the nominations database.  I think what we learned last year is that it is important to have Idol nominations available once we learn the disposition of the other session proposals.  I will find a way to re-open nominations for Lotusphere Idol at a later date.

Meanwhile, the track managers are already busy looking through the submissions and making their initial selections and de-selections.  We're only 100 days away....

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