After way too short a visit to Istanbul, I'm sitting at the airport ready for the onward journey. Yesterday's inaugural Turkish Lotus User Group meeting was a success, thanks to Serdar Başeğmez and to my regional IBM colleagues.

I learned my surprising bit of trivia for the day. A university study recently has proven that the Turkish make great developers. I was told that the likely explanation for this is that the Turkish language is itself a language of logic, without the exception cases found in Germanic or Romance languages. As such, many European multi-nationals base their programmers and developers here, leveraging both talent and economic conditions. Those developers at the event all expressed interest in or work with XPages, so I was happy to hear the technology gaining traction here as elsewhere.

I also did a couple of press interviews that centered around social media. Turkey has a relatively young population, and the use of social media in personal life is the norm. However, in business it is still an emerging thought, so hopefully those interviews will help establish IBM as a leader in this space. After all, we wrote our first social media guidelines five years ago, and have been living the dream ever since.

Some technology differences in Istanbul. Netbooks are common -- I saw them from the airport to the event to the hotel lobby. iPads, extremely expensive by local standards, are not pervasive, and Samsung Galaxy and other tablets are just starting to crop up. Also, my Blackberry was often eyed warily, with many comments about the expense of both device and overhead.

The event was not perfect. A number of universities were invited to participate, and we had even arranged to have an academic forum during the event. To our collective surprise, not a one showed up. In our debrief, the IBM team and event organizers acknowledged that it may be a situation of having to bring the story to the universities rather than the other way around.

I want to thank Jürgen Zirke from PAVONE for coming on behalf of the German Notes User Group and speaking to what makes a user group successful; sponsors such as Julian Buss from YouAtNotes, Per from Crossware, and the other sponsors for contributions, and again to Serdar and the IBM team for strong support. Serdar, Uffe Sorensen, and I punctuated the day with dinner at Ulus 29, overlooking the Bosporus in a stunning dining room, enjoying Ottoman specialties and excellent Turkish wine.

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