You may have noticed...

October 26 2008

...that the rate and pace of blogging has slowed down here a bit.  In part that was a result of busy travels in the last weeks (which continue for the next few days), but also, obviously, I'm adjusting to the new role.  

After three full weeks at it, my primary observation is that expectations are high!  Almost every meeting or e-mail brings thoughts and suggestions for what I should try to accomplish as Director of End-User Messaging and Collaboration.  Whether that is a roomful of long-time Lotus business partners in Europe, or an individual e-mail from Brazil, or the ongoing introductory phone calls within IBM, I'm getting a lot of great ideas.

Those who follow my Twitter stream know that part of the slowdown on the blog is also a result of increased information flow.  No longer am I late in the information flow cycle.... being in product management means being a part of a slew of decision-making and strategy-setting interactions.  It's a challenge I've never had before in blogging -- there is much risk and not much reward associated with sharing partially-baked thoughts on the blog in their early days.  I continue to be a big believer in social networking and participation -- you'll find comments from me over the last month on a variety of topics across many other sites.  While my thoughts and decisions continue to be shaped by such interactions, I simply can't be as provocative or verbose as in the past, lest you, me, or anyone else start chasing down dead-ends or rat holes.

There are also more internal eyes on my weblog than ever before.  This presents great opportunity -- when we announced Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging last week, a lot of IBMers heard about it first on -- but also additional risk.  When I blogged about Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging the first time, it was because the channel announcement had been published, telling the world of the new news.  However, our PR team had decided that Wednesday was a better opportunity to announce Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging -- and I ended up pulling down the early blog, so as not to "spoil" the news.  When I was in sales, it was OK to be a bit in my own direction -- my marketplace audience was somewhat different.  But when an IBM executive starts blogging about something before reporters have been briefed, those reporters may be less interested in the story, or analysts may find that they aren't ready to be quoted by reporters, or field enablement may not be ready to tell IBM sales about the new announcement, etc.  

Perhaps I am starting to understand the challenge of having the product managers in my organization blog, or increased participation from the development community.  While those that do can show clear successes, there are times where something taken out of context could live on for a long time.  I'm going to keep blogging and participating, though -- you all give me a chance to shape my decision-making with a diverse set of customer, partner, and marketplace perspectives.  As long as nobody mistakes me for a politician, and says that I'm never allowed to change my mind.  Blogging is just one input -- it's still disproportionately the voices of existing, English-speaking, western market customers -- but it's one that has brought me this far.  If you keep riding along with me, I'll keep going.

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