I know you're all dying to hear what went on at IBM ConnectED so here is my take!
We flew down on Thursday before Connected to have some time to prepare and to meet-up with customers and friends. Our hotel was not Disney this time and it felt somewhat strange, but also positive. As always, American hotel rooms are so large that Mats Ekman said that we could easily fit all 10 of us in the same room if needed.
Friday and Saturday flew by with shopping, sightseeing, meetings and preparations for the upcoming conference week. We enjoyed large American breakfasts with everything included, a good steak dinner, a delicious lobster dinner, numerous pizza slices, pool time, lots of good discussions, and most of all the ever shining Florida sun. We all concluded that this was going to be a great week!
On Saturday night we hosted our annual Infoware Collaboration Reception at Texas de Brazil. The event is a perfect way to start off the conference and to welcome customers and resellers from all over the world. This time for the 10th year in a row! We had a fabulous evening with friends, good food, lovely desserts, laughter and fun. We are also happy that we can connect our customers with each other in a steadily growing network. It always feels very good to welcome everybody to us.
And Sunday! A day of sessions and booth preparations. 7 of us are here to focus on covering all the session tracks and to gather knowledge about all the latest from IBM and other business partners. So they were off to different kind of sessions. Me, on the other hand, Daniel Svanström and Fredrik Söderquist, were busy in our booth in TechnOasis getting everything ready for the evening’s Welcome Reception. We checked our demo environments, the leads scanner and of course our t-shirts!
Every year our t-shirts make a bit of a buzz among the visitors, and also this year! The word is spreading. "Aaww, you guys have the coolest t-shirt!". "I want one of those!" and so on. Some visitors dress up wearing our shirts and our message is visible here and there. Our kick ass ninja warrior that guards all our customer’s environments and also let’s everybody know that we offer the best solutions for every IBM customer!
Infoware is exhibitors and sponsors of IBM ConnectED for the 10th time in a row! That’s something! Infoware is a true blue IBM Premier Business Partner, and has social business as one of our main areas. This year we focus wholeheartedly to promote DomainPatrol Social, our administrating tool for IBM Connections.
Luckily we got ready in time, since the TechnOasis filled up to the brim at precisely 18:30! We realized quite soon that the rumors we heard were right. The organizers had expected around 1,500 attendees, but at least 1,000 more has registered. Excellent news! This resulted in a packed TechnOasis, and also a more intimate feel of the whole conference. The atmosphere was full of expectations and everybody had happy faces.
So the reception! Refreshments were served and it was busy in the booth right away! Our well-oiled machinery chugged off and we did demo after demo. We talked about our new release, social business and a new way to work according to Infoware etc. We noticed immediately that almost every visitor were using IBM Connections one way or another. A positive trend! And of course good for us, since our tool cover the needs of an organization using IBM Connections.
We worked hard! And after opening in the TechnOasis, the Welcome Reception continued outside on the Swan Lake terrace with food, drinks and DJs who played far too modern music according to Mats Feretti. 🙂
The next day after breakfast: OGS! Exciting! What would happen? How will this conference turn out? It was big expectations in the air and good music was playing when all the people were gathered. Jeff Schick opened with a bang. Talked about taking on Google and Dropbox. About the collaboration with Apple. Go IBM! Scott Probes did a live demo IBM Verse! Very cool. Scott smiled like a kid on Christmas Eve on stage. And we smiled with him! The whole concept of IBM Verse is "A New Way to Work". IBM Verse will work for you, and not vice versa. The mail has jumped to the next step and is now a tool to sort, categorize and prioritize all the information flowing over you on a normal working day. He also showed cool Watson features. The look of Verse is totally fabulous and I for one cannot wait until I can try and use it! Then Luiz Benitez showed us the new Connections interface which seamlessly waves into Verse in a very nice way.
The week went on in similar fashion. Three whole more days in the booth with non-stop networking and connecting with new and new friends. We decided that every member of our booth crew needs to have the same amount of tattoos as Fredrik. Well, we’ll see about that.
We caught up with our resellers that attended the conference too. Very good to show them our new release of our product and talk business, but also just to spend time together over a beer or two.
I also took the opportunity to meet my friends from Social Connections! Both Lars Samuelsson, Brian O’Neill, Jan Waldman and new friend Doug Morrison. All happy faces!
Notes/Domino turns 25 this year, which raised some attention during the week. Small happenings popped up here and there at the conference to celebrate the youngster. For example bubbly champagne, cakes, and not to forget temporary tattoos handed out by Matt Newman. We all got branded!
The evenings was of course a great deal of fun too! Every night we had something to look forward to. One small disappointing thing though was that there was no theme park booked for the ConnectED Party this year. I who, love roller coasters over than many, many other things had to settle for some drinks and food at the Dolphin Hotel instead. Although, there WAS indeed a very short ConnectED Party, with food and drinks in the Atlantic Hall at Dolphin. After we had eaten, we thought it was time to start the party! We went up on the huge empty dance floor and started dancing, and soon the dance floor filled up with others. 🙂 It’s always like this!
The week went on and soon it was Wednesday, and time for the Closing Session. Somewhat tired we went into the darkness of the session room to hear IBM say thank you and goodbye for a fantastic conference week! And we agree.
Last night with the gang. The week has been long and full of hard work, rest = zero, so we decide to do something simple and just for us at Infoware. A short trip down to Downtown Disney and a burger at the House of Blues. Great place with the music scene and American good food. We had a long table where we could take a break and rest and have a good time together. When the clock was 0:00, I was at home in the room, received a glass of whiskey from a colleague and started packing my bags. #yawn
Then it was over .. the end? 🙁 The feeling when we close the booth and say goodbye to all our friends and acquaintances cannot be described. I strolled by the Dolphin fountain and listened to its noise one last time and then went out waiting taxi to take us to the hotel. For several months I have breathed #ibmconnected with all the planning and hard work. And now it's over? Impossible. But there is also joy. An incredibly joy that has spread among us throughout the week. The buzz to have scooped a number of leads, talking to "everyone", said hello to "everyone". The IBM ConnectEd Community is not like others. It’s magical and captivating. And once you have walked over the bridge between Swan and Dolphin, you know you want to do it again and again and again. Because the reward for all the hours you invested is amazing!