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The View Lotus developer2010 - Learning, Speaking, and more!
05/18/2010 04:55 PM by Chris Toohey
I was very lucky this year in that I had the opportunity to not only attend but to speak (3 times!) at The View Lotus developer2010. My sessions, including the Birds-of-a-Feather on XPages, were as much a learning experience for me as I'm hoping they were for those who attended. I thought I'd take a few minutes to discuss my experience at the week-long event.
As you can see in my departure video, my trip actually started on Monday.
I thought I'd take the Amtrak Northeast Regional red-eye that left Philly just before Midnight and arrived in the Back Bay station, Boston at 7:30AM.
When people asked me how my trip was, I told them this: Have you ever seen a prison movie, where the evil warden puts the protagnonist in pitch-black solitary confinement for like 6 months. There's a scene where the evil warden or evil guard opens the cell window, and the burning light of 10,000 suns burns into the room -- of course -- directly into the eyes of our hero? Yeah, that was me. Every. Stop.
Once I arrived at Back Bay, I hit Google Maps for walking directions to the hotel. From there, I played Taxi-Frogger until I got to the hotel which, thankfully, wasn't that far away!
Exhaustion slipped away, replaced by a feeling of increasing excitement, as I walked into the hotel. I couldn't check-in immediately (I was too early), so I checked my bag and went to the speaker check-in.
Immediately after checking in, I walked over to a continental breakfast and started making conversation with the crowd of people - asking them which sessions they were looking forward to and such - while getting some much-desired food and coffee.
I even snapped a pic and posted it to Facebook with the caption Yellowbleeders -- my people!
They quickly started the first session, which was when I realized that I was actually at the wrong damned conference (and eating the wrong breakfast!). It explained why I did not recognize a single person over there...
The first session I attended was Paul Calhoun's Java Jumpstart. Absolutely brilliant stuff, and I would encourage/discourage any first-time speaker at the View admin2010 or developer2010 from attending one of his sessions: you can learn a lot/his skills scared the hell out of me!
I left the session, questioning my own sessions (let alone why they even had me speaking in the first place...) when I met up with friends.
I honestly forget the order, but I'm pretty sure I bumped into and talked to the entire attending PlanetLotus blogger list at one point, as well as the people behind New England Lotus User Group, where I was speaking that night.
After I was able to check-in, I made my way back to the speaker room which had a wireless router that was cranking off the fastest speeds I'd seen (or would see) the entire week.
I sat down and started tweaking my Custom Controls demo app and presentation for the New England Lotus User Group.
Before I knew it, I was in the backseat of a car racing toward the LUG. It was only then that I asked how long I should talk for that night. When the response was "an hour or two", I immediately wondered if my 15 slides and 2-minute demo would do it.
With quite a few people in attendance, I spoke for well over 2 hours. (who me?!)
The Q&A after my presentation/babble was covered here.
I had an amazing time at NELUG, and want to thank the people behind it! They're doing a lot of work in an attempt to better our community, so seek these people out and see where you can help. It should go without say, of course, that if you're in the area, start/continue going to meetings!
Special thanks to the guys at TeamStudio who attended (and even gave me a ride back to the hotel). They certainly didn't have to, as my impression of their latest product couldn't get any higher at this point...
The real kick-off to the week, and I found myself mostly hanging out at the product showcase. Met some great people, and got to finally put a face to the ... name and face I guess, of most of the people that I communicate with via email, IM, Facebook, et al.
Anything I learned on Wednesday though was lost on me after going out to dinner with Rob Wunderlich. He's an amazing and true friend, and just being around the guy makes you a better (and smarter) person.
If I didn't know he was from the Detroit area, I'd swear he's Canadian!
Rob, after prepping me that the place was horrible and no good and rotten and small and smelly, took me to a restaurant where we had this:
It was like Fat-man Christmas!
Afterward, when I could see again (SO GOOD), I hung out in the lobby and was witness to what happens when people stop being polite, and start being drunk... real drunk. Thankfully it was no one in our group (another conference was in town). All I'll say is this, the fallout from a drunk fool trying to use "I have a blog" as a pickup-line to women who have most likely written blogging software... yeah, it didn't go too well for the putz.
Later that night, Mitch and I walked the mall... where he showed me how I could have avoided even going outside from Back Bay (and Taxi Frogger) and went directly from the station to the hotel via the beautiful testament to consumerism.
I'm skipping over a lot, as I suspect that no one is reading this anymore... so I'll sum it up:
Great sessions, more great speakers... and my XPages BOF.
Sitting on-stage with Paul Calhoun and John Mackey is a little intimidating. I had a blast, and really enjoying taking questions from the audience.
Thursday evening, I spent the first part working on a project from the hotel lobby after appreciatively getting offers for dinner... but still needing to work. And, to be honest, I had my mobile session the next morning at 8:30AM!
Like an idiot (but an idiot who doesn't get to see his friends but once a year at best), I stayed up until well past last call.
When a ninja almost attacked Bill, we decided to all turn in.
For those of you who attended my sessions, THANK YOU!
My biggest fear was that no one would show up. I was speaking at 8:30AM of the last day (read: the morning after the last-night bender) and 2:15PM (read: the last session of the conference... on a FRIDAY) - odds were that no one would show... at least in my mind.
Thankfully, I spoke to a pretty full house, and really enjoyed myself. I can only hope that the attendees learned something that they could apply to their day-to-day to help them.
The day ended with a great dinner (the company, certainly not the service!) with Bill, and I was off -- thru the mall -- to board my 9:30PM to 5:00AM train...
I only had one slightly-negative experience during the conference, which was more a personality clash between me and one of the sales people at the product showcase.
Having worked a booth and attended enough of these things, I think I'm an expert in this area... so here's a small list of things that anyone running one of these booths should follow:
- When you meet someone, you maintain eye contact. You don't look at my chest so you can read my name off of it.
- Talk to someone, don't jump into your pitch. Ask them if they're having fun at the conference. If they checked out [this_session] because you heard it was pretty good. How will you know which session is good? You found out from the last 5 people you talked to... y'know, when you weren't going all used-car salesmen on them.
- Never scan someone without their permission. And absolutely never reach into my damned badge holder, pull out my ID, and scan it.
- When -- and I'll admit, I was being a bit snarky at this point -- ask how your product differs from core product functionality (such as, let's say, DAOS), do NOT retort with your hate-filled litany of how that product doesn't work, how much better you are then it, and so on. This is a small community, I might have been the DAOS program director for all he knew...
- When you spam me, after doing ALL of the above, please make sure you don't send me 3 personalized emails... at the same exact time.
The conversation at a particular booth went something like this:
- Him: Hi, [stare at my chest while I'm now looking at the top of your head...] Chris, what's Clearframe?
- Me: Oh, Hi -- we're a 2 person professional services firm. Don't mind us, we suck.
- Him: Do you have customers that have 1,000 seats or more?
- Me: ... uh, no, we're really in the SMB cro--
- Him: [cuts me off mid-sentence, reaches into my badge, pulls out my card, and scans it]
Other than that, I had an amazing and educational time!
I learned that you need to get your sessions delivered on-time. My procrastination combined with developeritis made me a PITA before this even kicked off -- major apologies and huge thanks to the WIS Publishing team.
I learned that I assume too much. I blame Tim for this. When one of your best friends is also someone who does things with a cutting edge technology that is literally beyond what anyone else is doing today... you tend to forget that this same technology isn't yet available to everyone. "legacy" is a term that I've thrown around here a lot lately, and it was only when I asked during the XPages BOF who had actually used XPages and only 3 of about 30 people raised their hands that I realized that I might be living in a code pr0n nirvana.
I learned that our community consists of some of the greatest people in the world. OK, that's a cheat... because I already knew that - but the interactions with my fellow yellowbleeders (and yes, from the actual conference this time...) re-filled my cup.
Onto more -- hopefully levelled content on the site (XPages as well
legacy traditional tips and tricks, projects, and
industry and community coverage. For starters, I've got a hankering to build an
XPages-based email template (no C&S) for IBM Lotus Notes Domino...