Some Lotusphere thank yous

January 23 2009

I read Mitch Cohen's summary of Lotusphere this morning and thought it was a good format to copy.  In part, this is because I ended up running into Mitch a lot more this year than at prior Lotuspheres, and really came to enjoy his sense of humor.  Laughter is needed during what is at times a very intense and occasionally stressful week.

My all-star colleague of the week was Erica Topolski.  Erica conceived of and ran the Lotusphere blogger program, which by all accounts was a huge success.  From the opening session beanbags to "nachos & news" to getting bloggers a chance for some group or 1:1 executive interviews, she sent the message that the community involvement at Lotusphere was being kicked up a notch.  She also delivered a great press release on Wednesday that really helped put a second wind in the external world's view of Lotusphere, especially the way she tied a few different product announcements into a single theme.  Thanks, Erica.

Ed and Erica

Thank you to the contestants and winners of Lotusphere Idol!  I will blog separately about them all, but hosting Idol is a highlight of the week for me.  Having two college guys become winners on their first run out of the gate...unbelievable.  Nate and Matt were awesome, and Andrew from down under demonstrated that he has what it takes.   Thanks to the judges and to Kristin Keene for making it all happen.

My own staff had some real heroes -- in fact, every one of them put in an above-and-beyond-the-call effort this week.  I'm especially grateful to John Beck for thoughtful crisis management (yes, there's always one, and the fact that it's invisible outside of my team is the win), Jan Kenney for putting together a great reception for the Notes 8 and Symphony deployment reference customers, Krista Kahn for including our guests from SAP in everything from press to customer meetings and receptions, Jeanette Barlow and Eric Otchet for putting in countless successful hours at the Symphony Cafe and product showcase, while juggling sessions/press and everything else, and Dwight Morse for doing yeoman's work handling Notes-related press meetings.  Everyone steps up at Lotusphere and that's fantastic.

Thank you to the Lotus Notes Traveler team for making our ActiveSync support announcement real.  This was important and you showed the reality on big screens multiple times.  Bob Carlsen was a huge help on this as well.

Thank you to Jodi, Lisa, Jen, Mary, Patty, Rita, Rosalie, and all the other administrative support team for dealing with 27 different changes to my schedule and making it all work.  This was my first year on the "executive meeting" track at Lotusphere, and apparently I was quite a popular request.  We couldn't meet with everyone, but the team made it all work and I really appreciated that.  They kept me fed, too, at times when there was no other possibility of it.

Thank you to Tod Krewson and Fred White from the show production for handling last minute speed bumps with professionalism.  I've worked with these guys for eight or nine shows now and they are unflappable and caring.

Thank you as usual to Penumbra for inviting me along to your Saturday dinner; all the partners and sales teams that asked me to join their receptions, and whomever organized Wednesday night's impromptu dinner for 20 (Jamie/Francie/Paul, I believe).  The social aspect of Lotusphere is really the most important, and with a busy daytime schedule, the nighttime events are fun and sometimes even relaxing.

And at the risk of sounding like a suck-up, I want to explicitly thank Bob Picciano...not because he is my second-line manager, but on behalf of the Lotus community.  Bob did something special this week -- he immediately and successfully jumped into the waters of a 20-year-old product in a way that convinced everyone that the "1st Lotusphere" button he was wearing had to be wrong.  Every one of you who I talked to this week had something positive to say about Bob.  I learned a heck of a lot watching Bob in action out front and behind the scenes this week, and expect you all did as well.

Last, I want to thank the most important person in all of this -- my wife Deborah, who managed a difficult week back home with grace and understanding.  It would have been very easy for her to be upset or jealous of my time down here (well, maybe not jealous once she sees my schedule), but when it was a three-minute call walking between buildings or 2 AM after coming in from Kimono's, she understands -- and supports -- that this is my week.  I love you and appreciate everything you did for me this week and leading up to it.

I'm sure I've left out some people who deserve to be publicly recognized for amazing feats of beyond-the-call talent.  If I think of more, at the risk of going overboard, I'll add them here or on a new blog entry.

Meanwhile, I'm flying home later this morning.  I have lots of analyst reports and press coverage to comment on, and still need to post my own session.  Next week we dive back into the 2009 plan, and Lotusphere Comes to You starts in a few more weeks.  The lingering sense of accomplishment will last, and the memories are there digitally and otherwise forever.  Thank you all of you for reading, saying hi in the hallways, understanding when I didn't remember your name, offering me thanks or encouragement about the blog, and making Lotusphere my annual booster shot.  I'm eternally grateful.

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