Back from ConnectED – some thoughts and a summary

I am back from ConnectED since yesterday morning – and I think things have mostly settled for me now and I think I ordered my thoughts.

In general, I really felt the Event was good, with all the bumps it had. But we reacted to it, may it be crowded rooms, may it be the drink coupons, where IBM decided to run open bar instead.
Also, I don’t think I really share the sad feelings of people that this might be the last event. I think it was – as every year – the gathering of the community, it was a great time. And changes are always around, so are they for IBM events. We are all not sure where it goes, but as it sounded like, there will be a place to gather next year. And maybe it is even Orlando. Who knows.
So, coming to the summary – I flew out on Friday, as every year. Flight was lengthy because of the head wind, but we made it over to Disney World.
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Highlight of Saturday was, as every year, the Penumbra dinner. As always it was the best dinner of the week and my hopes were also fulfilled on the main course. Boy, this was yummy!
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Sunday was for me the start of the work week. We had scheduled a Round table on API’s that I hosted. Was a good discussion and a good start into some new adventures for me this year. Luckily I had no sessions to check on on Sunday so it was a rather calm day. And the weather was also a little nicer than in Germany!
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Unfortunately we saw the first road-bumps of the event. Some of the masterclasses rooms were totally packed, as that was the only sessions running in the afternoon. Also people started to complain about the drink coupons that were given out with the badges. With all valid criticism, the problems got addresses rather quickly and for example all receptions were done as open bar. So, really no reason to complain here really.
Monday kicked the Conference officially of – with my buddy Scott presenting Verse in the OGS.
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Really the OGS felt better than in the previous years, well structures, good customer examples and another interesting guest speaker with Philippe Petit.
I also broke one of my own Lotusphere rules to avoid Jelly Roles – I made it for the first time there on Monday and attended the Australia Party – was great evening and also a nice occasion to have a drink with a couple of people.
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Also the things done to celebrate the 25th birthday of Notes was also great. For example they served a nice cake after lunch on Tuesday. Really nice idea!
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Monday and Tuesday really were the busy days for me – 4 Exec meetings, 6 sessions to check upon. With a few that really did overflow heavily. It makes me as a track manager of the event absolutely proud when attendees really love the content we have selected! Also, we got Steve McDonagh to attend his first Lotusphere / Connect / ConnectED ever – and even present!
Wednesday marked the last day – and maybe the last day in Orlando for the community. The day really greeted me nicely….
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For the rest of the day I had a lot of internally meeting – definitely our team meeting left me energized and looking forward to some great things. It will be a lot of work, but some amazing things are going to come!
The closing session was also great – especially the guest speaker who was a mathemagician. doing squares of 3 digit numbers faster than a calculator or a magic quadrant (Sudoko on steroids) on the fly – that is astonishing…. The speakers name was Dr. Arthur Benjamin. An impression of what he does from TED can be found here.
The final duty was the stop at the outback steakhouse at the airport – to have a descent dinner outside of the airplane – and the necessary “blooming Onion”.
On the flight back home, we had the first team of female soccer from FC Bayern München on the flight. Sat next to her.
So, as I said initially, I am not leaving sad – there will be change for sure, but why does it always need to be negative? As Liz Urheim said, IBM will communicate in the next 4 weeks where and how the event will be held. But I guess we will have an opportunity next year to meet up and have fun – and enjoy a few drinks together!
Talking about drinks – the highlight this year was clearly a mouthful of this. It was clearly wonderful! Thank you so much Henry for sharing!
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