In 2014 we were all convinced that this would be the last Connect nee Lotusphere. There were some tearful goodbyes from people who didn't know wether they would meet again. But then IBM announced another conference, on a much smaller scale, held almost entirely in the Swan. So in 2015 many of us convened again, and while the exhibition space was too crammed, the sense of community was actually up from 2014. 2015 was the year I took a ton of photos all over the Swan & Dolphin area. IBM had fulfilled their contract and again, we were sure this would be the end of it. And in a way it was. It was the only show I ever got on the stage. Try to find me in the picture above.
IBM wasn't going to give up. In 2016 the conference moved to the Hilton next to the Orange County Convention Center. No balconies, no windows to open, just a big box. I hated the place when I arrived. But then, within a few hours everything changed. Q (you know who you are) made me feel at home by preparing my room with some cold beverages, many familiar people arrived and the event was off to a good start. The next day I had a strange briefing with the GM who basically told me everything he was going to announce the next day, avoiding any questions.
On Monday the show kicked in full gear and by Wednesday, a day shorter than previous conferences, I thought that was both a good conference and great location. The hotel complex had felt cold when getting there, but during the conference it created a good atmosphere with the open courtyard in between sessions and the pool area in the late afternoon or evening. Was this the last one? We didn't know. In the last hours of the conference the news broke that Inhi Cho Suh was to replace Jeff Schick as the GM.
Inhi made the decision that the conference needed a fresh start. It was going to leave Orlando behind and move to the West Coast. Connect 2017 will be held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco to celebrate the new. It will showcase IBM partnering with other big players. This is not a hotel complex with a convention center. It's a whole city. That is bound to change the atmosphere completely. IBM needs to prove they are still relevant in the collaboration space. And this time, there is news. Verse on Premises shipped. Watson Workspace will hopefully reveal itself. And then there is Project Pink. Who knows, maybe something about app modernisation on Domino?
How about you? Are you excited? Are you going to follow Inhi to San Francisco? IBM apparently shoots for 4000 attendees. Six weeks to go.
I miss the community very much, but sadly, no. It's been five or six years since my last Lotusphere.
Yes, I'll be there, after missing the past couple.
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