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I always considered the annual IBM lovefest in Orlando in January as “Lotusphere” but after last week it is pretty clear it IBM Connect ain’t no Lotusphere.

The OGS (The Bad): Who are you talking to?

Short Version: I was not a fan of the OGS.  Here is the Good News if you prefer.

Long Version:

What can you say about an Opening General Session where people actually yelled “No” when asked from the stage at the end if they liked the demos and if there were enough demos?  Sadly, not much good.

No Tech Skills Required

Developers and Administrators: You are no longer IBMs target audience.  Similar to what you see in The Hunger Games, where people living in the Capitol go about their lives being “social” while the people in the Districts actually do the work and produce everything, the OGS was targeted at absolutely nobody with any technical skills whatsoever.  Disappointing since that is why I came.

Customer Stories

The customer stories were possibly interesting.  If you live in the Capitol and buzzwords is your thing.

Mobile Demos

The mobile demos were underwhelming and the Mail Next client demo, while excellently executed, was lost on anyone who performs the daily grind of delivering technological business solutions not to mention anyone who actually lives in their Inbox.  Don’t get me wrong.  The tech behind the demos is nothing short of impressive but they weren’t showing the tech.

Spot On Quotes

Two things I heard from people immediately afterwards really put a fine point on this:

“They didn’t say anything about any product I work with…” 

“Next year I’ll stay for the guest speaker and then head out…”

In a world where CIOs are often being reorganized in major companies to now report to Chief Marketing Officers (think about that for a second…the top technology person now reports to the Marketing person, not the CEO), the fact that no technical content of any kind was mentioned in the OGS should not be surprising.  Next year I won’t be surprised.
 A Commercial. Really?

One last gripe: The Actiance commercial during the OGS.  I understand that Actiance was a huge sponsor and therefore is invited to deliver some comments during the OGS.  No problem with that.  Now, maybe I just missed it in prior years but I do not remember anyone ever standing on the OGS stage and saying “…come on down to booth 34 to see our new product…”

So…what?  Now the entire OGS is just one long promotional video interrupted by an actual commercial?
My wife asked me about five years ago:

“Why would you pay money to attend a conference where they are just marketing to you?”

Why indeed?