The Inaugural GTD Summit...Did It Change The Way The World Works?
After attending the GTD Global Summit
a little over a week ago, my mind is still swirling with all kinds of thoughts. I wanted to write a final post to close things out earlier, but I hit the road to visit customers literally a couple of hours after I arrived back from San Francisco. Now that I've been back for a day, it's time to process my inboxes, update my lists and get some things done. One of the main items was to write this post, so here we go. First, I'll try to distill down some of my notes from the opening keynote, then wrap up with my overall impression of the event.
The conference kicked off on Thursday morning with the opening keynote session, although there was a social mixer the evening before. For those who could make it, it was a great treat. As Eric Mack told me it would be, it was a classy affair. Nothing fancy...just nice. A jazz band played while people mingled and introduced themselves to fellow GTD enthusiasts. There was great food and drink available as well, and the atmosphere was very casual. It was kind of funny to see so many people with capture tools (pen, pad, etc.) in one place, scribbling things down to remember later as people talked about books, other GTD tools, etc. I met more than a couple Lotus Notes customers and people from around the world, which I found exciting. My wife and I met a guy who had come up from Chile while we were in the elevator, and during the evening event, we met folks from Hong Kong, Antigua, Spain and other exotic locales. I think it speaks to the power and efficacy of GTD that even in a tough economic climate, these people felt it was beneficial to come to San Francisco to attend this gathering. The Wednesday evening event set up a promise of a great two days to come.
Thanks to the David Allen Company
(and to Eric, of course), I was fortunate enough to attend the GTD Summit as a guest blogger. While I endeavored to live blog the breakout sessions, there was just too much info flying during the keynote to do it justice. I was given a press pass and took advantage of the area they had set aside for us to capture the action.
David is an unassuming, yet compelling speaker. Its interesting that in our society, our expectation of a "celebrity" (and he certainly is in this circle) is one who is standoffish and self important. David spoke with an ease of one having a conversation with the audience rather than presenting to them, which was really refreshing. He also has a great sense of humor. During his opening remarks, David talked about the phenomenon that is GTD. His original book, "Getting Things Done"
has been published in 28 languages and has sold close to 2 million copies. There are over 150 software applications to support GTD. It truly is a global phenomenon. He jokingly shared that "Getting Things Done" was published during the dot bomb phase and his new book, "Making It All Work"
, was introduced at the height of the sub-prime crisis, prompting him to promise "For the right amount of money, I'll guarantee I will never write another book". He also shared stories of groups using GTD in their lives and work. The Simpsons writers, for example, are big advocates of GTD. Many other corporations are evaluating GTD and determining how they can inject it into the organization.
When David started putting together the ideas for this Summit, he generated a list of speakers, panelists and moderators that he wanted to attend. He figured only a small number would commit, but 85% of them said yes to the invitation, all coming to the conference on their own dime. I think that speaks volumes to the respect that this community has for David and his ideas. These speakers are all masters in their field, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. In the end, even with the best systems and best intentions, however, we can all be victims of circumstances beyond our control. David was very candid and chose to share that he had to lay off 40% of his staff recently due to the huge drop in training budgets from companies. I was impressed by the fact that he shared this. It implied a trust with his audience that even amidst all of this trouble, he believes that all of us as practitioners of the GTD methodology are on the right track. In fact, David believes that the tools of GTD are more important than ever now that we are in survival mode. To quote David as he finished his opening remarks, "Now is the time that this is in it's time". Very interesting times indeed...
For the second half of the keynote session, David introduced Guy Kawasaki
, serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and founder of Alltop
. David invited Guy to serve as moderator and to interview David for the remainder of the session. They dove right in to a frank and open discussion. It was obvious that nothing was rehearsed ahead of time, which was another refreshing touch you don't see at too many conferences. Of course, this also meant the conversation took some unusual turns and tended to meander a bit, but overall it was a stimulating conversation. I loved how one of Guy's first questions was about Twitter and he asked David if Twitter gets in the way of our productivity. David's reply, which probably comes as no surprise to the GTD crowd, was that Twitter doesn't get in the way at all if Twitter is what you want to be doing. :-) At this point, David commented about the phenomenon of Twitter, how intimidating it is in some ways to be "followed" by 75,000 people (now over 126k!) and that he was fascinated by the number of people who were using Twitter. It was at this moment that he pointed out my blog post in which I was gathering a list of people tweeting at the conference and asked "where's my IBM guy" (which I thought was totally cool). I was sitting at the press table in the back and told him we only had about 30 or so names on the list. He asked the audience who was using Twitter and at least 1/2 the hands went up. It seems we have a way to go to get the GTD community following one another, much like we do in the Lotus community.
Guy and David had a great rapport. Guy is an unnaturally good moderator, combining humor, self-deprecation and fun questions to keep the audience's attention. He had a lot of great soundbites, and I could see during my peeks into the #gtdsummit Twitter stream that people were enjoying capturing them. He ribbed David about not using a Mac, asked if the key to getting things done was not having kids, and suggested that claiming e-mail bankruptcy is perhaps key to being productive! I do think one of the more humorous quotes to come out of the whole conference was when Guy told David, "I don't see how anyone that thinks they are going to get things done uses Windows". After the initial playful banter, Guy settled into some more serious questions. He asked David what he felt was the greatest barrier to GTD. David's replied that it was "addiction to stress". In order to solve this problem, according to David, it is necessary to get your mind clear. By being more aware of the stress, you will be much more interested to alleviate it quickly.
The conversation continued with a few more questions and answers before moving into the second half of the session, the plenary panel. One additional comment was made that I think was worth mentioning before moving on. David noted that he believes small communities have the best chance of having GTD take hold. If we could build this up as a mind swell, we could start to have a big impact. I think this is very true, as I've seen GTD work very well as a grassroots effort and spread by word of mouth. It's my hope we'll start to see these ideas introduced to kids in school. In fact, I'm starting to work with my son this week to give him the GTD basics.
The plenary panel was up next, and this was a special treat. The panelists represented some of the top thinkers in their field and it was a pleasure to listen to each of them. The panel consisted of Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart
, James Fallows
, Paul Saffo
, and Marshall Goldsmith
with moderators David Allen and Guy Kawasaki. Each panelist took a bit of a different approach, talking about various topics from the work they do to a general overview of how they "do" GTD. Of particular interest was Marshall Goldsmith's talk on the idea of peer coaching and the concept of "daily questions". As a way to stay accountable, the two peer coaches ask each other a series of questions every single day. Each question is structured to be answered with only a "Yes" or "No" and is designed this way to make you focus on living your values. I heard more than one attendee express interest in this idea and I expect we'll be hearing more about this from other GTDers in the coming months. (For more information, I found this great document at the Marshal Goldsmith Library
The remainder of the two days of the GTD summit were filled with some amazing panels. You can find my thoughts from some of these sessions in my earlier blog posts and entries on Twitter. I found it pretty amazing that so many of the attendees were sharing their thoughts in real-time via Twitter. Most were using the #gtdsummit hashtag, so you can go back through and get a feel for how the GTD Summit unfolded through their eyes. The conversations in the hall between events and in the exhibitors hall were all equally stimulating. I hope that we'll see this event repeated in the future and that it will reflect by it's growth the corresponding growing awareness of GTD in the public at large.
Of special interest to me was the fact that I found many people who were surprised to find that David Allen uses Lotus Notes to manage his own GTD system. In fact, he has been using Notes for about 15 years in all aspects of his business. For his GTD implementation, David uses the eProductivity
template developed by Eric Mack. I know that based on some of the conversations I had, people who were unaware of Lotus Notes are going to be taking a look at it. I think this is a great opportunity for us in the Lotus community. We have a champion in a well-known figure, a person being followed on Twitter by 126,000 people and counting. It's natural for people to want to use the systems their "heroes" are using (sports stars, musicians, etc.) and the same is true for GTD. On a personal note as an IBMer (but certainly speaking for myself), I hope that IBM/Lotus can figure out a way to team up with David to get the word out about both GTD and Lotus Notes. I think it would be a win-win for both sides.
Another cool aspect of the GTD Summit was the vendor exhibit area. All of the exhibitors there were focused specifically on GTD or personal productivity in some way, shape or form. I was very pleased to see that the eProductivity booth was usually busy. Eric and his daughters Wendy and Amy did a fantastic job demoing the software and I saw many people walk away very impressed by how it all works. Special shout out to my friends at Mindjet
...it was great to meet you all in person!
The GTD Summit was all about "Changing the way the world works". I think that it certainly met this promise and started to instigate the change needed to bring this methodology to everyone. It's up to us as attendees to now take it as a next action to propagate these ideas in our circles of influence. In doing so, we'll help keep the spirit of the GTD Summit alive.
Labels: conferences, GTD, GTD Summit, Lotus Notes, productivity
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Lotusphere 2009 - Getting to WOW
Yesterday was the deadline for Lotusphere
abstracts, so I hope you got your ideas in. I'm really excited that there seems to be such a buzz around the conference this year (even more than normal, it seems). One of my former colleagues submitted a couple of ideas too, so I'm hoping he gets a chance to get up there and show off his stuff.
I actually ended up with two entries thrown into the hat and one Birds of a Feather idea. Both of the session submissions are with a couple of fantastic speakers, and as always, I'm honored to have the opportunity to present with them. I'll hold off on announcing one of them until I know he's cool with it, but I'm thrilled to tell you that the first session abstract was submitted along with Tom Duff
! Tom has a great, casual speaking style and has become a beloved presenter at Lotus conferences. I hope if we get picked that I can live up to his expectations! This session will actually be quite complimentary to one of his other ideas. I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing the Moving From Plumber To Painter
Our proposed session is entitled: Getting To Wow...Interface First Design For Lotus Notes Developers
. If you'd like to check out the abstract or help influence whether or not we get to do this session, please click the link above and vote over on IdeaJam. Many of the other proposed sessions are there and the fearless leader of the Best Practices track, Mr. Mac Guidera
, is watching this space with interest. Looking through the list of ideas submitted so far, I think we are in for an incredible round of sessions in 2009!
Hope to see you there...
Labels: conferences, Lotusphere2009, speaking engagements
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Lotusphere 2009...Should I Even Try?
time is upon us again in a few short months and people are getting all hyped up and excited since registration opened yesterday. This is always a fun time, as the folks in the blogging community start talking about some of the sessions they hope to submit, while others keep their thoughts very close to the vest.
I'm currently wondering what, if anything, I should submit as an idea this year. Are there any topics that you'd specifically like to see at Lotusphere based around the stuff I do here? If you think of something, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail
One idea I had (pretty vaguely defined at this point to be honest) is to walk you through the process of doing an application redesign. There are *tons* of applications out there in Notes land that still work great going on 10, 15 years old (or even older!) but the UIs of these applications leave much to be desired. It's important to keep the UI up to date in order to meet the ever increasing demands and expectations from our end users. It might be beneficial to show one of these applications and the methodology you can use to update the UI without a lot of rework of the underlying code. I'm thinking best practices, short cuts, quick wins, etc. It's a balancing act, really, as sometimes many people think these UI things are too "touchy feely" and that we should only be talking about writing code. I don't know...what do you think?
Also...if you've got any really cool ideas and would like to possibly team up on something, let me know that too. As I said yesterday on Twitter
, I'll even let you do all the work! ;-D
Labels: conferences, Lotus Notes, Lotusphere2000, speaking engagements
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ILUG...The Question of the Day
So...the question of the day is:How do I convince my boss to let me go to ILUG?
In my current role at IBM, I'm in technical sales for the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas. Thus, it seems a little hard to justify that heading over to Dublin in June
will help me sell Lotus software here at home. Then again, I would be "expanding my thought leadership". :-)
Hmmm...what do you guys think? Perhaps I could give out his address and we could all spam him! ;-D (Just kidding...I know he's started reading my blog now).
Well...either way, it's going to be one heck of a conference this year. Go if you can!
Labels: conferences, ILUG2008, speaking engagements
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Hey...Get Some Free (inter)Face Time
As mentioned by Chris
and Mary Beth
today, the UX lab is doing something very cool and very unique at Lotusphere this year. Read on for details...
The Lotus UX Lab is going to offer a one-time opportunity for our customers at Lotusphere 2008 - "The 15-minute Usability and Design Evaluation" - in the User Experience Lab, Rm. Asia 4. We'll only be doing this from 1-5 pm on Monday afternoon.
Here's the deal: you can bring in one application, working, and with data ideally, (Notes, Web, Sametime, Portal, Quickr, Connections, Expeditor, any Lotus product) and we'll have someone look at it and make suggestions for 15 minutes. The benefits to you are threefold:
1. You can get some quick feedback with practical suggestions from our expert user experience design team.
2. You can take away a handy list of "things to look for" in the form of a guide with some knowledge about how to apply them at home.
3. While you are in the lab, you can sign up to provide US with feedback about many of our products.
Now, to be honest, there's only so much you can do in 15 minutes, so don't expect a complete re-design! However, our aim is to set you on the right path by showing you how to approach the process of creating satisfying user experiences in your applications. The best thing to do is to be ready to show us your app in less than 5 minutes and keep an open mind. If it's a large application, then you might want to narrow down the area that is giving you a particular problem.
What: The 15-minute Usability and Design Evaluation
When: Monday, Jan 21, 1 - 5 pm. First come, first served. Time strictly enforced.
Where: Dolphin, Asia 4 - Lotusphere 2008
Why: Take home some quick tips to make your users happy and productive.
Since I'm not a designer, I'm going to be on hand as the resident tech weenie. That means I'm the killjoy who says "Nope...can't do that in Notes". ;-D Just kidding...I'll really be there to help confirm that it CAN be done in Notes or offer suggestions from the technical side of things. Should be fun and a great opportunity for you to meet with the folks with the real talent, the UX team.
Thanks to Chris for asking me to participate and my manager Gary for letting me get out of some sessions! ;-)
Labels: conferences, Lotusphere2008, User Experience
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Lotusphere 2008...I'm A Returning Alumn
For the second year in a row, I have the honor of speaking at Lotusphere and in this case, presenting with two excellent gentlemen. If you find some time in your schedule, please join me and Bruce
or me and Nathan
Sharp-eyed readers will note that the Interface Matters sessions are back to back. That's right...2 whole hours of UI goodness! :-) Nathan and I are getting the old team back together. We've reprised some info from last year and will be showing several new techniques and ideas.
BP214 with Bruce is new and of course based on the venerable "Worst Practices" sessions introduced by Messrs. Buchan
. I can't promise we'll be nearly as funny ('cause let's face it...their accents just rock), but Bruce is a great presenter and I'll learn a lot from him. The session is chock full of good information about what *not* to do when designing your interface, so I hope you can stop by.
As I mentioned last year, if you catch me in the hall or sitting in the lobby or something, please stop by and say hello. I love talking about all aspects of Notes development (as well as all other sorts of geekery), so don't be shy.
17 days to go. I can't wait! :-)Update:
Whoops...forgot that the BoF from last year is back again too. Hopefully Nathan and Bruce will join me in co-moderating.
Labels: conferences, Lotusphere2008, speaking engagements
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IBM WebSphere Portal Technical Conference - Orlando
Hi all...I'll be attending the IBM WebSphere Portal Technical Conference
next week in Orlando, Fl. If you are going, please try to find me and say hello.
Should be a lot of great information to soak up! I wonder if there will be any UI sessions? ;-)
Labels: conferences, WebSphere portal
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Man, I'm Beat! (Or...A Post Of Miscellania)
, Lotus Developer2007
, jet lag, and basic lack of sleep for the past two weeks, I am done for. On top of all that, my oldest turns 13 today, so I am now officially the parent of a teenager. THAT is a scary thought! Plus, that means I am getting old!!! :-(
What follows is just a bunch of random thoughts from the past few days...
Thanks to all of the people who attended my sessions at the View conference. I really enjoyed talking with all of you and hope you got some useful content out of it. I think the most fun was my Advanced Interface Techniques presentation on Monday afternoon. It must have been pretty successful, since I got several people to stay around an additional 10 minutes after the end, showing them some stuff I didn't have time for. The kicker was that it was 5:30 and there was FREE BEER available and they still stayed. Way cool! :-D
The conference as a whole was amazing. So many talented speakers and attendees that really seemed happy to be there. The WIS staff does a super job of making things run smoothly. It's always a pleasure to see them all. The one weird thing about the conference...how it just ends. They don't have a closing session of any kind. You just get out of your last class and that's it. I think a short closing session just to wrap things up might be nice. Hanging out after hours is always fun too. I hope to see you all again next year!
I got delayed flying from Cleveland to Boston, so I had time to write part 1 of my "intro to usability testing" article. Look for that as soon as I get a chance to type it up (yes...I actually used the ancient art of writing on paper...really nice to do that sometimes, especially in a nice crisp Moleskine
with a good pen).
Some very interesting items came to light in the last few weeks that I haven't had a chance to comment on but are certainly worth reviewing from a collaboration perspective, most notably Microsoft Surface
and Google Gears
. Surface looks amazing...I hope to get some time to jot down my thoughts on this innovative interface. Speaking of "jotting", I love the Jott
service. Being able to use my cell phone while driving (with headset, of course)to deliver notes to myself via e-mail has been invaluable. More on that later as well.
I am really drooling over the iPhone and its UI but I am still unsure of a device without physical buttons of any kind. Unless they've got something else up their sleeves, the iPhone is certainly a two hand device, which in some ways reduces its utility. Perhaps this could be rectified with bluetooth-based voice controls or something similar.
Best thing about coming home (besides seeing my family, of course): The new Dream Theater
album (see, I'm showing my age by using that term) was waiting for me. The special edition packaging looks sweet and I can't wait to hear the 5.1 version down in my home theater!
Well..I guess that's all the ramblings for today. Almost time to kick off the weekend. Have a great one!
Labels: conferences, General, Lotus Developer2007
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As I'm putting the finishing touches on all the chores around here and hanging with the fam before I head to the airport, I thought I'd get my schedule for Boston ( LotusDeveloper2007
if you didn't know) out here in case any of you want to come by and razz me. :-)
I'm actually really looking forward to Monday, since I get to do two of my interface sessions. The morning one ends up being a great introduction to the general concepts I talk about all the time, while the afternoon one takes those concepts and runs with it. We'll look at many advanced techniques which I think can add a lot of value to your applications. It's all about simplifying and improving the user experience, and I'm excited to present this one.
Anyway, here's where you can find me the next few days. If you get a chance, please stop by and say hello...Monday, June 4
9:45 am – 11:15 am: Interface Matters: Design Your UI for the Ultimate User Experience (Gardner)
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Advanced User Interface Techniques for the Notes Client (Hampton) Tuesday, June 5
10:15 am – 11:45 am: Advanced CSS Techniques for Domino Web Applications (Gardner)
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm: Overcoming User Interface Design Issues and Challenges (Back Bay D) (This is a Birds of a Feather session)
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Securing your Domino Web Environment (Hampton)
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Ask the Experts (Constitution Ballroom) Wednesday, June 6
Labels: conferences, Lotus Developer2007
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ILUG 2007 Recap
Well...it's 10 PM here in Dublin on Saturday night and I am sitting in the lobby thinking back over the crazy last few days. ILUG 2007
has truly been an amazing experience and one of the best conferences I have ever attended. The entire ILUG staff (Paul
) are to be commended for a job very well done. From the looks on the faces of the attendees as they exited the closing session Friday afternoon, I think the conference was a resounding success. I have to thank the ILUG team for the opportunity to present my little session. It was truly an honor and a privilage to come to Dublin and speak to the attendees. I met a lot of great people and I look forward to chances to meet again in the future.
I always feel like the dummy in the group when I'm looking over the speaker list and I'm still amazed I'm even up there. It's really energizing, though, when people tell me how they've been inspired by my techniques (or even better...they show me a db where they are trying them out)!!! I started this blog because I like to write and I like to teach, so I thought it would be a good outlet for those interests. That it has translated into the opportunity to get up on stage and speak about this topic I'm passionate about with the community that I love so much is really special and I thank everyone who showed up for giving me the opportunity!
As for the conference itself, it was just amazing from start to finish. Alan
and Mary Beth
kicked off the show with an inspring look at IBM's strategy and with some of the ideas about decisions for Notes 8 and how they were made. From there, the sessions started. The technical content was brilliant and indeed we were very lucky to have the opportunity to see this stuff...AND FOR FREE!!! Tom Duff got the ball rolling with an introductory AJAX session that set the stage for a couple of other AJAX sessions later in the show. The technical level was perfect for the beginner and Tom has a great, relaxed delivery style that's fun to watch. While Duff got the "jazzed up on caffine after coffee break" crowd, I was up after lunch. I was afraid I was going to send everyone into the post-lunch food coma much quicker than normal, but we had a packed room and I didn't see anyone nod off. It must have been the dancing nuns! ;-) Bruce
were giving an OpenNTF
presentation next door and were able to successfully throw me off with a rousing cheer of "Hi Chris!" from the room next door. I decided I couldn't even try to compete with that, and after frantically trying to remember what I was talking about, we got back on track. I had a great time...thanks if you came by!
Other excellent sessions I attended included Rob McDonagh
and Bruce's OpenLog talk, Deborah Latter's
decision-making presentation (complete with ringmaster costume and real bull whip!), Sean Burgess'
Domino blogging template overview, and Grégory Engels'
"Pimp My App With Ajax". Last but not least, the man who went the farthest to buy the delegate love...Mr. Rob Novak's
Free Code and Beer session, where he placed an order for 80 pints of Guiness(!) to be delivered and enjoyed while we watched him and his Ajax code magic. You all did a spectacular job! The only bummer was the fact that I couldn't get to the other equally deserving (and I'm sure just as excellent) presentations that were going on at the same time.
Speedgeeking was a blast! I've never had to talk so fast and so much in such a short time, but everyone seemed to love it. The open bar from IBM probably helped here too! :-) I presented 5 techniques with layers staring Shrek and the gang ('cause onions have layers, ogres have layers and Notes has layers!). If you are looking for the sample database, I have to get it ready for download...keep an eye out in the next couple of days. Rocky
did a great job as MC. I hope I have the chance to participate in Speedgeeking again sometime soon.
Thank you also goes to the sponsers and ILUG team for all of the off hour events, such as the drinks reception, Geek Dinner and so on. The Geek Trip was a perfect way to wind down the event, although it looked like most of the people on the bus were ready to collapse due to lack of sleep! :-) It was very nice to meet so many of the delegates to the conference as well. Thanks for saying hello.
Finally, to Mr. Bruce Elgort
, my hat is off to you sir. You truly are THE MAN!
Now just a few days rest and it's off to Boston for Lotus Developer2007
Labels: conferences, ILUG2007
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Interface | Matters World Tour 2007
Conference and user group season is in full swing, so here's an update on my upcoming speaking gigs. Of course, we kicked off the year in style at Lotusphere, where I was very honored to be chosen to present in the Best Practices track (thanks Rocky
!) and it was doubly cool since I got to do it along with Mr. Freeman
I forgot to mention the Northeast Ohio User Group Meeting on Feb. 22nd. Thanks for all who attended and listened to me drone on. In case you were looking for it, my presentation can be found here.
This Wednesday (03/07), the good folks at the Central Ohio Notes/Domnio Users' Group asked me to come down to Columbus to give the modified version of BP101 from Lotusphere. I say modified since it combines elements of my sessions from the View as well as the Lotusphere one, minus the really cool demos that Nathan showed (proprietary client stuff). Check out the full agenda for more.
In May (24th-25th), it's across the ocean we go for ILUG 2007! I'm sure most people know about this by now, but if not, hurry to the website and register while you can. This is a FREE event featuring some of the best speakers in the Notes community. Somehow, through a gross error, I got included on that list as well! :-) It's like a mini-Lotusphere in Dublin...how cool is that!!!
Finally, at least for now, is the Lotus Developer2007 conference in Boston June 4 - June 6. This is another excellent event and is being held in conjunction with Admin 2007. I'll be presenting
I hope to see you all at one or more of these events. If you make it, please stop me in the hall, at the dining tent, in the elevator, etc. and say hello.Update:
I'm combining two of my sessions into one for Lotus Developer2007, which leaves me with four sessions total.
Labels: conferences, speaking engagements
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