January 26th, 2011
Living The Dream
Everybody remembers the first time right? The first time I attended Lotusphere, I had changed careers, was working for a bank where I was expected to take a lead role in moving from mainframe mail to Lotus Notes, I had bluffed my way into the job and needed to quickly learn what i needed to do. I made attending Lotusphere a condition of accepting a permanent position and there I sat in the OGS. I honestly couldn’t tell you who the OGS guest speaker was - nor can I really tell you who was onstage much at all. But the energy of the show was amazing.
I watched the speakers from Lotus - they had passion. they loved what they did . You could almost touch it. I watched a guy named Rob Slapikoff on stage. He was confident and passionate, funny and scary smart. Somewhere I thought, “That must be amazing to be up there and do that.” I also saw Gary Devendorf and Bob Balaban and many others speak that year. All were incredible.
Notes 4.6 was the new release that year. I attended sessions at every time slot, took dozens of pages of notes, got fabulous ideas. I went to parties, I rode rides, I took in the whole experience. I went back home and got to work building an email system that is currently running at version 8.5. Along the way, I felt the pull to work for the place with passion and fun and energy. I even dreamed of being on stage. If only....maybe....nah, probably not, but its a dream. I’m too old for that.
Flash forward to now. Life has happened. In 2000, not really long after my 2nd Lotusphere, I was hired by Lotus (yes, it says that on my letter). I was in Field Support, and went went to Lotusphere as a staffer a couple of years later. Later, I conned my friend Kathleen into joining the team I was on and we had the audacity to submit a session for speaking at Lotuphere and were picked. We were on stage for 2 hours for a jumpstart and went on to do many presentations in every Lotusphere since. We had fun, we got good grades. We loved what we did even when we were exhausted and overwhelmed. We even got to one of the big rooms one year - the type I’d seen Slapikoff in. We were terrified and excited and to this day I can hardly believe it - the room was nearly packed.
This year I was privileged to work in the planning of the show as a track manager. It’s hard unpaid work with long hours. Yet I love it. I will do it again if they let me. I read the blogs, I hear the negative, but I also see the passion. The ‘yellow bubble’ is a near cult-like experience, full of fans and cynics alike, George Carlin often quoted that cynics were disappointed idealists, and I truly believe that. But the passion is what drives me - the energy and the dream.
Several years ago, Maestro Benjamin Zander challenged us all to live our lives with passion. He also had a room that contained some of the most cynical, die hard geeks crying and singing Ode to Joy in German - loud!
This year, on Sunday afternoon at 1:30, in the Dolphin Hemisphere S, you’ll see me near the stage getting ready to present with my friend Bruce Kahn, then later that day with my friend Jess Stratton and later in the week with Francie Tanner. I’ll be miked up and pacing the aisles or behind the stage walking and muttering - that’s adrenaline - stage fright, even passion. I pace and chat and mutter to tamp it down to the level where I don’t freak out. Because when they lower the music and raise the lights and that spotlight shows ME on stage at Lotusphere 2011, I’m truly living a dream.
Come live it with me!
See you in Orlando! Safe travels, everyone.