In several of the post-Lotusphere discussions, I've seen a lot of comments from those unable to join us in Orlando last month.  The logic applied tends to say

  • Lotusphere is a great conference
  • We can't travel to Orlando
  • There should be a Lotusphere in [Europe, Asia, Australia, etc.]
I would love to be able to run multiple Lotuspheres again.  But making it happen is a challenge, and based on some of the data, not necessarily one that makes sense.

Let's look at the European scenario.  Lotus ran several Lotusphere Europe events, with the 1998-1999-2000 versions held in Berlin.  I am not sure if the attendance numbers for those conferences were published but it was in the 2-3000 range...far smaller than the US equivalent those same years.  A variety of reasons were cited for the lesser attendance...location, travel expense, time of year, depth of event, etc.  I don't buy all of those, but I can understand that the event's perception was different from the Orlando version.

If we look at 2006, there were about 6000 at Lotusphere in Orlando. It would probably surprise many of you to know that somewhere around 20% of that number were Europeans.  I was incredibly impressed to learn how large the European contingent was in Orlando.  I suspect there a lot of reasons for this -- Lotusphere being a premier conference in the industry, the "bootcamp" and other improvements in the technical depth of the conference, even the fact that off-season trans-Atlantic airfares are relatively low.  So, I'm officially no longer accepting the complaint that it's too [difficult/expensive] for Europeans to get to "the" Lotusphere.

But OK, there's a need to do some things in Europe.  The Lotusphere Comes to You 2006 events have started (check that link for updated dates/locations), and I know my Nordic colleagues are booking me up solid for the week of March 6 [and my Asian colleagues are asking me to extend my mid-April trip].  These events help.  

Upcoming, too, is the second instance of the joint venture between IBM and the Deutsche (German) Notes Users Group -- the May DNUG/IBM Lotus Technical Forum.  The 2005 event in Hannover was quite successful.  More importantly, I want to reiterate how much support IBM is giving to this event -- similar in scope to the support given to Lotusphere Europe back in the day.  The executives all attend and speak (in English).  Developers travel and do panels and labs.  Major new product announcements are made.

So, for Europe, there are options.  See the Lotusphere Comes to You events.  Come to Germany in May for the DNUG event.  Or mark your calendar now, as many of your fellow Europeans have, for Lotusphere 2007 in January in Orlando.  You may find that justifying the trip for any of these is easier than you expected, that you just have to ask.

For Asia and Australia, the Lotusphere Comes to You events are a great local option.  I know there continues to be interest in trying to "bring back Fusion" in Australia.... don't think it will easily happen, but keep asking.

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