I have to admit - I went to this Lotusphere firmly believing it to be the last. The sudden inclusion of a 'teeth and cufflinks' business conference - Connections 2012 - alongside, the last minute rush for content in December, and so forth.
Its nice to be pleasantly surprised. The last statement from Alistair Rennie during the Opening General Session was to announce Lotusphere on January 27th 2013. Sorted.
The OGS itself was a lot snapper. No more 4-person panels - just a 5 minute infomercial from 4 customers during the OGS. Main stage speaker ? Michael J Fox - talking about how social networking helps Parkinson sufferers such as himself reach out to others. Very powerful message.
90 minutes in - we finally saw a Lotus Notes client and Domino server demo. Expect to see the 'waterfall of activities' display from connections embedded in your notes client. Lots of social add-ins to be provided during 2012.
This year I made a point of actually going to lots of sessions, for a change. When you're on a stand, or when you have sessions to present, its very easy to skip all sessions and focus on those activities. So what did I see? Well, lots of xPages stuff, obviously. And very lovely it is too. I saw Wouter Aukema give a brilliant competitive session with Mr Dudding on main stage. Main takeaway? When the IBM Competitive team get involved, they have a 97% save rate. Expect more from these chaps this year.
I even went along to Ask the Developers this year - and they kindly let me ask for PST Import and Export for Notes clients, to make Exchange to Notes migrations far easier (and cheaper!) for customers. As soon as I had sat down, an IBM chappie thrust his business card in my hand and I have an action to continue dialog with that person. Good stuff.
Closing general session? Well. Some self-important American chef (unknown to me) blathered on about how important he was, about how everything was about himself. I took about 30 minutes of it before departing early, and throwing myself on the tender mercies of the Dolphin Rotunda bar for a few beers. And very nicely they slipped down too, as other attendees dribbled out, nauseated by the speaker and his blowtorching of some live sea thing on stage.
After that, a monster session in Kimonos where I was persuaded (by Mat Newman himself!) to perform the 'Timewarp' with him. Given I cant sing, and I cant dance, its something perhaps best left to the imagination.
I got to Edinburgh Airport around 8:30am on Saturday morning, slept all weekend (with a horrible hacking cough) and awoke, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am. Another Lotusphere - something like my 16th - in the bag.