Once again, the time has come to look back on the year that was.  I find that I really enjoy writing these annual snapshots -- it is timed well with my professional review cycle, but also as a way to reflect on everything that has transpired and its relative impact.  

2009 was a year professionally where I learned, and applied, one fundamental lesson.  At my new IBM executive class in July, they said that "executives should whisper, because your message will always be amplified".  It is an interesting filter to apply to many of the activities and accomplishments of 2009.  This whisper technique was not always successful -- but by year's end, I feel much more positively evolved from 15 months ago when I first earned the IBM Director title.  

Some of this was reflected in my approach to blogging and engaging with the Lotus community.  On the one hand, 2009 has to be declared the year in which IBM listened more to the Lotus community than any other in recent memory.  The Lotus Knows IdeaJam and subsequent marketing/advertising, changes to the Notes/Domino licensing model, IBM investment in OpenNTF.org, end-user enhancements in Notes 8.5.1, bringing more executives to more events than ever before (including a globe-trotting General Manager), delivering iPhone support, even making the file names for Notes/Domino downloads self-descriptive ... the sheer number of "you asked, we did" check boxes is quite large -- and most of them, successfully so.

While anything at IBM takes time, a solid business case, and consensus, many right things happened during the course of the year.  My team conceived of and accomplished some significant and positive change for the Lotus Notes/Domino business, and built foundations for 2010's continued success.  

On the personal front, I turned 40, my wife and I had a beautiful baby girl, I flew an airplane, drove the Great Ocean Road, and finally discovered a creative writing outlet in the Chicago Tribune's "TribLocal" Highland Park edition.  My friends and neighbors occasionally ask where I find the time or energy for all of my activities; I occasionally wonder where I'm giving enough back to the communities I am part of.  

The basic statistics

On edbrill.com:

  • 383 posts (so far), 5009 valid comments; average 13.07 comments per posting.  Again, thank you for making this a dialogue and sharing your thoughts.  Every comment is valuable.
  • 200,000 visitors, 550,000+ visits, 839,059 pageviews.  Down from 2008 and 2007, but I posted 520 blog entries in 2008 so comparatively seems pretty good to me; especially when I see what my IBM colleagues tout as "tremendous success" for an ibm.com webpage, the volume on a single IBMer's blog is astounding.  This is no slight on the somewhat more static ibm.com experience (other than developerWorks, most of the pages are constant, and as such, have fewer interactive clicks).  But it is tough to be on a call where I hear about how amazing it is that a page got 1000 hits or whatever -- when my blog has more than that in a day.
  • Moreso in 2009 than previous years, my social media content ended up on other channels -- Twitter and TribLocal.com/Highland Park -- so I'm really happy with where edbrill.com has gone this year.
  • Top five blog entries: Oddly, the blog from 2005 announcing "Hannover" is still the top single page on edbrill.com in 2009.  "Arigato gozimasu" retains its #2 position, all on the strength of that page's google rank.  The next three are the announcement of Notes 8.5.1 beta, the availability of the Notes Traveler beta on Lotus Greenhouse, and Notes/Domino 8.5 fixpack / update on 8.5.1.  Basically, all of those are driven by end-users searching for bits about Lotus Notes and iPhone support; we see the same phenomena on ibm.com's press release listings.  The announcement of Notes 8.5 at MacWorld was #6 on this year's list.
  • Busiest single day: October 6, launch day for Notes/Domino 8.5.1.
  • Top five countries visiting edbrill.com is unchanged from 2008: USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada.  Sixteen countries had exactly one visit to edbrill.com this year, including Vanuatu, Niger, and Malawi.  There were two from the Åland Islands; whatever happened to Olaf Björklund?
  • Consistent with prior years, about 1/3rd of all hits to edbrill.com came from Google searches; 32% directly to edbrill.com, and the rest from referrers.  Top referrer was again PlanetLotus with 13.26% of all edbrill.com visits.  ibm.com is sending me more traffic than in the past, as a result of our new "Your IBM expert" call out boxes.
  • Browser/OS profile: Firefox: 51.23%; Internet Exploder: 34%; Safari: 6.93%; Chrome: 4.75%.  85% Windows (down 5% from 2008); 10% Mac (up 3% from 2008); Linux 3%.
  • Over 3000 tweets; over 2700 followers; listed 109 times.  Though I sometimes am in fits and starts on Twitter, overall this has turned out to be a great tool for interactive discussion, learning, and relationship building.  I suppose by next year I won't even need to say that, it's pretty obvious.  I fight hard to make sure the signal to noise ratio remains relevant for me on Twitter, but I appreciate all the tweets and dms and responses.  Thank you.
TribLocal.com/Highland Park:
  • In the early part of this year, local editors for the Chicago Tribune's new hyperlocal sites found me on Twitter and asked me to start writing for the Highland Park edition of TribLocal.com.  I made my first "Brilliant Flashes" (yes, I've been keeping that straphead around for some kind of eventual use) contribution in April, and have written 30 times since.  About half of these have made it into the print edition of TribLocal, which appears on Thursdays in the locally-delivered editions of the Chicago Tribune.  Writing for TribLocal has been a positive outlet for me to talk about personal topics that were not as relevant to a worldwide audience here on edbrill.com.  It's an entirely voluntary effort, with no compensation and no commitment.  What has been surprising to me is how the addition of a print version changed the dynamic.  Suddenly I was a "contributing columnist", and many of my friends and neighbors were reading -- even though online, my average TribLocal contribution gets about 100 pageviews.  I receive occasional emails from readers with comments or storylines, but I think it is far less interaction than a "traditional" journalist receives.  Still, since there is so little "voice of the community" for the suburb where I grew up and live today, I'm having a good time filling that role.

2009 highlights
  • The birth of my 2nd daughter, Chloe Frances, on October 21.
  • The birth of Notes/Domino 8.5.1 on October 6; releasing Domino Designer as a freely downloadable tool and simplifying the packaging/licensing for Lotus Notes and Domino products.
  • Releasing Notes/Domino 8.5 at MacWorld Expo
  • Realizing the first Lotus brand advertising campaign in many years ; Lotus Knows that this message is hitting the mark, and will expand in 2010.  The Lotus Knows IdeaJam helped provide guidance to IBM, and a push to the market, to get this campaign going -- thank you all for participating.
  • Bringing out Symphony 1.3 in June; our deployment in IBM is essentially complete and like many IBMers, I am happily running a completely Microsoft-free desktop environment
  • Shipping Notes/Domino 8.5.1 including iPhone support in Lotus Notes Traveler
  • Release of Alloy from IBM and SAP in March
  • In just two years, the majority of Notes/Domino customers are deploying 8.x -- at year end, nearly 70% of customers contacting IBM
  • Beating Exchange in a head-to-head review on mail...even when they got credit for Exchange 2010
  • Seeing "Bluehouse" become LotusLive, and establish the most complete cloud-based collaboration offering in the market
  • User groups, user groups, user groups: IamLUG, TriStateLUG, LotusUserGroup.org, BLUG, Brukkergrupe Norway, MWLUG, NotesNet.DK, and many others.


This year it is much easier to summarize -- I used TripIt.com to track all my travel and it came up with some interesting statistics.  Of course, with the birth of my second daughter in October, my travel was way down this year... I also did a lot more e-meetings and fewer face-to-face.  Primarily, my travel was to events versus individual customer meetings.  Overall, not a particularly impressive travel year, though the miles still added up with three trips to Europe and an Australia visit.
  • 88,000 travel miles -- half that of 2008 flying-wise.  
  • New countries: None!  Overall I visited only eight countries this year: Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Norway, Denmark and Belgium.  I guess you could say that Belgium was technically a new country; my only previous visit had been a 15 minute drive from the German border into eastern Belgium and back just to say I had been there.  Otherwise, this was my first year in many where I had no new countries.  The planned South Africa trip fell through and I didn't have time for side trips on European visits.  As I said somewhere recently, getting to my first 50 countries was easy; the next 50 will be much harder.
  • New cities: Brussels, Tønsberg, Edinburgh, Hamburg, Lincoln, Bowling Green OH, along the Great Ocean Road in Australia, and Salzburg.
  • New airlines and airports: Widerøe, jetBlue ... TRF, TPA, LNK, HAM, EDI, SZG.  Oh, and my Cessna-150 adventure out of PWK -- flying a plane for my 40th birthday.

Looking ahead to 2010

The expectations are high for what Lotus as a brand will bring to the table in 2010.  I am already starting to consider vacation timing in relation to expected offering release dates, speaking engagements as announcement opportunities, and how to balance offense vs. defense in the 2010 playbook.  Regardless of what happens to international travel in 2010, I know I will be back on the road for Lotusphere Comes to You and user group events around the world.  At every stop, friends and colleagues -- the human interaction -- will be the value that pays for the pain associated with the journey.  Electronic meetings, webcasts, and similar vehicles are likely to continue to increase in prominence -- the result of better connectivity, bandwidth, reliability, and comfort with digital transformation.  For this is truly what has happened over the last few years -- in many parts of the world, the change has gone from "will I have internet access" to "how much bandwidth will I have".  New technologies and solutions will arise to tap into this pervasive power, and I intend to be right out front.

As with every year since I started this blog in December, 2002, I want to thank all 200,000 of you for stopping by edbrill.com.  I do not write this site for myself, but for every one of you who derives value out of being here.  Hopefully through words and actions, I have continued to earn the right to have some of your time and your voice.  I may not always do what you ask, but I read every single comment, email, DM, IM, and ping that I receive, and I absorb all of them.  Your willingness to continue to engage is what makes this site successful, and for that, I am unendingly appreciative.

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