In a comment, Jonathan Walkup writes:

However, I was surprised in retrospect that so many speakers seemed to pop up again and again.  Not that I don't enjoy Bob Balaban's talks immensely, but it almost seems like you could have gone to the Sphere this year and only been in sessions he presented :-)

I'd like to put in an early vote for as diverse a set of speakers as possible next year.  I can't imagine that someone who has two or three presentations to work on can devote as much time to getting them right as someone who only has one to give.  I'm also curious about how many of the speakers this year were new to Lotusphere.  Do you track that?
So, I suspect Rocky will chime on this as well but here's my take.

We made a major effort to select many new speakers for Lotusphere 2006.    In the innovations track, about half of the sessions were net new speakers.  In the infrastructure track, I worked with a track with about 40% new speakers.  In the Best Practices track, Rocky selected a number of Lotusphere "virgins" -- Devin Olsen, Paul Mooney, Warren Elsmore, Chris Whisonant, and others.  Put another way, when we had "Gurupalooza" on Thursday, I wasn't able to call on all the speakers by name -- because many of the faces were brand new to me.

Yes, there were a few frequent speakers like Bob Balaban (seven sessions), Chris Reckling (three sessions plus repeats) Bill Buchan (three sessions), and Peter Janzen (four sessions).   On the other hand, there were 313 speakers at Lotusphere 2006 overall.  There were 328 speakers overall at Lotusphere 2005.  So while there was a minor drop in the number of unique voices year to year, it's still over 300 total.  Plenty of diversity.

As for having enough time to devote to getting them right -- I think you sell the speakers short.  I may have "only" had two sessions during Lotusphere 2006, but I had just as much (or more) competition for my time (sessions at Software University the week prior, press and customer meetings during Lotusphere, etc).  The January balancing act has just become like "tax season" for many of us -- we know how to put it into overdrive and get it done.  For my two sessions, I drew content from the work I did for the IBM meeting the week prior, from my Lotusphere presentations of previous years, and from my weblog.  For some of our speakers, their Lotusphere content is essentially their "canned" pitch from the last six-twelve months of road shows and training events.

At any rate, as a track manager, I pay careful attention to ratings from years past when selecting speakers.  Even in my track, where I have little choice over speakers (due to subject matter expertise), I made adjustments and rejections based on feedback and reputation.  That's why the overall conference ratings have gone up sequentially the last four years.  I'm expecting that trend to continue when we get the ratings for LS06.

Post a Comment