So it is mid January 2012, somewhere in Orlando, deep in the Dolphin hotel – Gurupalooza is ON. It was my first ever Lotusphere (and last ironically in name at least) and I have to say I was pretty bored of the whole conference by Thursday morning. I was extremely naive about everything which was going on at the conference over the last 4 days. I had attended many sessions but had not learned a whole lot, I had been in bed by 11pm most nights and honestly it was just not what I had been looking forward to for 14 years!!
So I stood up and asked a question of the Gurus – “Why should I come back to Lotusphere next year? I thought this was a developers conference and I didn’t learn anything I couldn’t have learned by reading OpenNTF. Tell me why I should come back next year!” (That’s me middle on the right)
There were some awkward pauses and some comments about how come I didn’t meet new people and experience the conference – and quite frankly I didn’t “get it” – but also hadn’t put in the effort.
Carl Tyler was really the only person with anything positive to say – he was sat right on the left hand end of the stage nearest me and he said “you’ll be here next year because you will be presenting”. Sarcastic or not (I don’t think it was) that was one of two things which stuck out in the conference for me.
The other thing which stood out was my first experience with Social Media. The work colleagues I was with encouraged me to get on Twitter so that we could communicate with each other and see how sessions were going during the day. Earlier on that final day (I think) I happened to be in the session run by Ed Brill with other IBM product managers on the stage – Ed asked for questions from the room and questions from twitter – so I wrote a question on twitter asking if the new web based plugin to run notes client apps spelled the end of the notes client….and amazingly ed picked it out and read it to the room and then he followed me on twitter….my third follower and 1st real one after my work colleagues.
AAAARGH HOLY CRAP ED BRILL IS FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER !!!! – which lasted for at least 5 minutes until I realized Ed Brill follows thousands of people on twitter. I had pretty much the same reaction about 10 minutes later when Bruce Elgort started to follow me on twitter – HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP – Bruce…….Elgort…!!! *faints*
So I came away from the conference with a puzzled determination – I really hadn’t enjoyed the conference – but somehow that last morning had unleashed a fire in my belly – I wrote this article as my first blog entry (oh yeah it made me start blogging a few days later)
And it started – I made a conscientious decision that I was in control of my destiny and I was going to take it back. As much as I hate to admit it – I like writing, it is cathartic and I love sharing, love teaching – I would be a teacher if it paid half decently. I set myself two goals for the year – to better learn XPages and to speak at Lotusphere next year.
Since this time last year I have:
- Learned XPages (well a decent chunk of it anyway)
- Changed jobs to now work for one of the most well known XPage consultancies in N.America
- Written over 60 XPage related blog articles (this post will probably push me over 50,000 hits in 11 months)
- Presented a session at MWLUG in Pittsburg
- Done two Notes in 9 videos (and been mentioned on two others)
- Been on the Taking Notes Podcast (with Bruce and Julian…OMG OMG OMG) – twice !
and most importantly
- >>> I am presenting two sessions at IBMConnect 2013 <<<
So first of all I have to say thank you to Carl Tyler for challenging me to stop whining, get off my ass and do something about my career (paraphrasing of course).
I then have to say thank you to Ed Brill (who I am yet to meet) for following me and making me realize the possibility of social media.
I also have to say thank you to a multitude of people who have accepted me into the community with open arms and have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and have become really good friends – to name but a few: Paul, Russ, Dave, Bruce, Declan, Mike, Jesse, Mark , Mark, Mark, Thimo, John, John, Paul, Paul, Roy, Thomas, Tim, Nathan, Jeff, Colin, Andrew, Imran, Wil, Steve, Brad, Per, Niklas, Ryan, Martin, Graham, Toby, Devin, Frank, Kathy, Troy, Serdar and everyone else I have not listed and clearly offended by forgetting.
Thank you – every single one of you. I am presenting at IBM Connect next month – WOW !