You better Think!

Think 2018

It is early February .. and cold in the UK, normally we would be just returning or just preparing to go on the annual ICS exodus to Orlando for the beloved Lotusphere / Connect  conference ..but not this year. This year IBM have boldly gone –  in the way of the Starship Enterprise – to another world for their annual conference this year. BUT not just for us ICS people!

With a  potential 40,000+ attendees this year all the IBM standard conferences – Connect (Lotusphere as was), InterConnect, Amplify, Edge, Vision, World of Watson and PartnerWorld are all merged into what can only be described as a MEGA conference. IBM THINK! Which is in Las Vegas – which is as close to another world as we can get  🙂

Discover what the world is thinking at Think 2018, IBM’s first business event to go beyond IT conference, exploring cloud technology, data analytics & security.

Yes its going to be big, and that can be a little daunting, but I was pleased to see that Collaboration isn’t going to be swallowed in the sea of sessions, keynotes and events that are scheduled. Collaboration Solutions has its own Think Microsite which details sessions, keynotes and all the good stuff that we would expect at Connect or Lotusphere. There is even a handy PDF which details all the collaboration sessions at a glance with a key, making it super easy to find sessions that will interest you without having to wade through the hundreds that are scheduled. 

Also new for this year is the event site. Much better layout than we have seen in previous years, lots of quality information about the event and watson is embedded now to help you find sessions of interest and to make recomendations. HUGE improvement on previous years so thank you IBM for that.

The IBM Champions will have a big part in Think too, as its a mega conference covering all the software brands the IBM Champions will be mega too. There are now almost 650 IBM Champions world wide across the IBM portfolio and many will be at THINK. I am very much looking forward to getting to know some of the Champions from the other brands and see it as a fantastic opportunity.


Speaking at Think

If attending Think isn’t exciting enough …. I will also be speaking with my fellow IBM Champion and good friend Roberto Boccadoro. Our session will be covering troubleshooting IBM Connections 6 (and previous versions) and its supporting software and lightly touching on the new Pink technology.


A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Troubleshooting IBM Connections

Monday, 12:30 PM – 1:10 PM | Surf B | Session ID: 1409A



If you want to learn more about Connections Pink troubleshooting you need to be at fellow champion Nico Meisenzahl‘s session – as Nico will be taking you through all the new Pink feature troubleshooting in his amazing session:

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right—Troubleshooting IBM Connections

Monday, 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM | Surf B | Session ID: 1574A


Attenting Think? Would you like a discount

Want to attend Think and would like a discount – talk to an IBM Champion


I am SO excited about this new big conference – I will be reporting from Think, Tim and I will be hopefully be grabbing some interviews and soundbites for ICONUK – more info coming soon.

If you would like information on BCC’s products and services, be sure to catch up with Tim and I at Think – or schedule a meeting with us. See you there.


Want to go to IBM Connect .. be nice to a Champion for a discount

Being an IBM Champion is great and it does come with some benefits.

Today all IBM Champions are happy to announce that we can offer YOU a discount of $100 for IBM’s upcoming ICS event – IBM Connect in San Francisco

So what do you need to do – just reach out to an IBM Champion tell us why you want to go to Connect and what your expectations are and as if by magic we will give you the dscont code.

Now is a great time to register .. and I wish I was going to be there with you all (but I will be in Orlando – on a very long awaited family holiday) – so ping a champ and get the code 🙂

Can you spare an item to help raise money for two amazing causes?

Friends, Geeks, Costumers, fellow Disney fans, lovers of star wars, friends of friends, basically everyone ….

As some of you know I am part of a team behind a charity convention later this year (August 7th).

Our aim is to raise much needed funds for two amazing causes

Demelza Hospice Care for Children – a charity supporting children and young people (0-19) who are not expected to reach adulthood, and offer support to their families across Kent, South East London and East Sussex

Feel the Force Day (registed charity – 1st sensory legion) – Feel the Force Day is an accessible film and TV event designed for visually impaired and disabled people. Days include tactile costumes, props, vehicles, TV and film related smell jars… plus a few new and original ideas at each event.

All proceeds from Invictacon will be split between the two charities above – as you will agree both great causes.


So how can you help us?

The Invictacon team are looking for donations from you .. not in the monitory sense (although cash donations are lovely) – we are looking for items that we can use in our raffle and blind auction.

It can be anything related to film, tv, sci-fi, comic books, gaming, sport, any fandoms etc… that will help us raise some funds for Demelza and FTFD


How can you get it to us?

  • IBM/LOTUS/Conference people – we are at Connect 2016 in Orlando and Engage 2016 in Einhoven – bring it along (as long as i can fit it in a case)
  • Costuming friends – we will be at a few sci-fi / comic cons this year – let us know where you will be and we will come and collect or arrange for a friend to accept it on our behalf
  • Anyone else -You can contact us to arrange pick up (if you are local to the southeast of the UK) or postal / courier


Any donations will be gratefully received – and we would love to tell the world that you have donated a prize (if you don’t want us to do that, that is also ok)

We are also looking for category sponsors for the costume / cosplay competition (or for the whole comp) – a small prize, trophy and certificate will be presented in each category

  • Kids under 10
    Kids 10 – 16
    Adults 16 and over
    Best Group

The competition is being judged by the lovely Alan Flyng – Star wars (ESB / ROTJ – storm-trooper and imperial officer) who is an amazing costume maker / wardrobe master who has worked on thousands of TV, film and theatrical productions.


Thank you

So my plee for help ends .. if there is anyway you could part with something no matter how small to help us raise funds for both causes the whole team would be so so grateful.

The team and I can not thank you enough – we are all volunteers and get nothing but a warm and fuzzy feeling for raising some well needed funds for two amazing causes.


So thank you

Sharon, Sam, Nathan, David and Nicky


flyer_back FlyerCharityFront

so I DID make it to Connect

So thanks to some very good fortune and help from an old and awesome friend I was able to make the Connect conference in Orlando last week.

I will post my full round up later in the week – but the highlights

The Good

  • SPEAKING for the first time with my good friend Christoph Stoettner  I am not ashamed to say I was extremely nervous about speaking at Connect for the first time, but if I have the opportunity to do so again I will grab it with both hands
  • The flow for the first two days with Jay Bayer hosting the opening sessions, flowed really well, he followed the twitter stream and was interacting as we went along.
  • Craig Hayman the new ICS head honcho wearing yellow sneakers when he came on stage got a massive roar of approval from the Champions den.
  • The Champions den was great again – thanks to those who run the program for looking after us for the week, for the breakfasts with the IBMers, for the lunches, for the opportunity to hang out with the cool kids.
  • The newly revamped Design Studio (UX lab) spent a good few hours giving feedback, and checking on some things I spent time on 2 years ago to find they have improved a billion %
  • Closing General Session – stroke of Genius .. Mars Rover, Nasa dude, room full of geeks  – best CGS ever – thank you IBM

The Bad

  • Lack of technical info in the OGS – even though I am still a newbie to this conference (this was my 4th year), it has got worse in the 4 years I have been attending. The demo’s are generally awesome .. but we have little or no idea what makes up the demos. I don’t expect a full break down but a slide with an overview that the segment of the demo for instance may contain Connections and Sametime with domino as the back end mail system would be enough to suffice – Customers, HR people, our bosses and less technical types may see that demo and say *WE NEED THAT* – wouldn’t it be great if we knew what *that* was made up of 🙂 I know the OGS is for the press and marketing people etc, but a small pander to the technical community would go a long long way.
  • There seem to be a loss less late night socialising this time round, maybe we are getting older, maybe we were tired because the days felt fuller – its not too much of a bad thing from a sleep perspective but it was from a spending time with people perspective – there are so many in our ICS community that I only see once or twice a year, just wish I had more time with you.
  • Some of the session scheduling was a bit crazy – even with re-runs there were 2 I wanted to make but missed, its hard to jam all the great sessions in the 4 days, but sometimes it seemed that there was Connections sessions up against other Connections sessions and Domino against Domino when they may have been a bit more staggered – just my opinion – may be it was my bad scheduling.

  • I didn’t make it to any BOFs this year 🙁 again that was bad scheduling on my part.

  • I also missed the Great Geek Challenge as I wasn’t feeling great – gutted as it sounded like so much fun (as it always is) 

The Ugly

  • Well there wasn’t much ugly to be honest .. they could have done a better job with the staff shirts, but they were a lovely shade of blue 🙂


Full round up coming soon – we have the best community on the planet (or Mars 😉 )

Alas I will not be at Connect this year

Due to circumstances out of my control, I will not make the IBM Connect conference this year.

To say I am devastated would be an understatement – as I was due to speak with my friend Christoph.

I will miss the great sessions, the opportunity to catch up with remote colleges, visit the user experience lab (which I have done every year I have been), chat with the product managers and developers and participate in the Champion activities.

I will mostly miss catching up with the great people of this community, the networking, the meeting new people, making new friends and seeing the people I only get to see once a year.

I am absolutely gutted 🙁 I hope everyone that is going has a good time and I will be watching twitter for the updates on what is going on


Speaking at Connect 2014 what an honor

It is an honor and a privilege to have been chosen with my friend and community peer Christoph Stoettner to speak at this years Connect / Lotusphere conference.

This will be the 4th Connect / Lotusphere I have attended but the first I have spoken a full session at – in previous years I have helped run a BOF and have spoken at speedgeeking.

We will be speaking in the Best Practices track, sharing our admin and scripting tips and tricks to help make a Connections Admin’s day a little easier 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 12.58.57The full article can be found here on the IBM social insights blog

See you in Orlando 🙂

Connections demo from the Lotusphere OGS

As kindly shared by Mr Luis Benitez, the portion of the Lotusphere 2012 OGS of the lovely Suzanne Livingston demoing what is coming in IBM Connections version 4 and beyond.

For those of you who didn’t managed to catch it live or on the OGS replay – if you are interested in Connections it is a must watch.

More information about the newest version of Connections will be available at the next Social Connections user group – see for more details.

Lotusphere Saturday 14 Jan

After a not bad nights sleep, I was up at 7 and off to breakfast at 8 with Mick Moignard.
Disney do lay on a good breakfast and I  enjoyed my eggs and bacon followed by mickey mouse head pancakes 🙂
After breakfast I met up with Darren & Stuart and wandered outside to see part of the annual hog ride.
Our community has a few bikers so Paul Mooney, Bill Buchen etc. organise a hig ride on saturday & sunday. Hire a bike and see Orlando.
Stu headed off to do his outlet shopping so I grabbed myself a Dazza, we bought a day park ticket each and headed off to Disney Hollywood studios. We caught up with Sam & Mike and the others  and hung out inthe park for a few hours.
Muppets were seen ( darren does a fantastic swedish chef), scary rides were ridden (but not buy me) & star tours ride 3 times was awseome. You will notice in this pic of us outside the Tower of Terror below that I am loaded with coats and bags and jumpers – this is becuase the metal people went on ToT to drop in an elevator and sensible me went to ride star tours (again)
After 4 and a bit hours of fun, Darren and I said good bye to the other guys about 3 and headed back tothe boardwalk via a mickey mouse ice cream.
Once back at the boadwalk we headed for Big River Grill where B.A.L.D ( bloggers annual get together) takes place.
We said hello to loads of people, caught up with the yellow legend that is Mat Newman – which of course involved a Tim Tam Slam  and finally ate a real meal.
I caught up with some old friends and made some new ones – we have a great community. The usual plan after BALD is to head to the espn bar where the Turtle has a get together – due to much sport occuring they were not admitting anyone else, so we  headed over to a favourite haunt Kimonos.
Kevin had only just arrived and missed dinner & we finally caught up with Femke, so they had sushi – much more chat was had, catching up isn’t a huge thing as we talk almost everyday on skype so the conversation turns to Lotusphere, Karaoke and software ( an ocasional reference to an iseries or power system may have occured too) 🙂
After Kimonos we wandered out to the dolphin lobby bar – chilled out on the sofas and chatted some more, all in all a good start to setting up a busy week

Lotusphere Friday 13 Jan

Friday is a bit of a blur.
I got to the airport met up with My friends Sam & Mike, their son luke, and 2 of sam’s sisters (yn & charlie) who were going to Orlando as they were getting maried on Monday 23rd January.
I also bumped into mr Paul Withers and his wife and the Cardiff boys.
Once at the gate it was like a reunion, lots of community people heading out to orlando for the annual pilgrimage 🙂
The flight was good, watched movies, ate food, drank juice & generally tried to chill.
When we finally got to MCO it all started to go wrong.
Our plane was late, so it arrived the same timevas 2 others and it took me 2 hours to get through immigration.
By that time pretty much everyone else was through. Thank the maker fellow brit (and witer for domino power magazine) Mick Moignard waited for me.
By the time we’d collected baggage etc the Virgin holidays bus had left without us – if Mick hadn’t waited I would have been on my own! After much grumbling and cussing the Virgin Holidays rep we jumped in a cab.
It was just a 20 minute journey to the Swan /Dolphin resort and it was great to catch up with Mick and have a good old chat.
Once at the Swan it was check-in and quickly unpack. I also had the quickest shower known to man (or woman) as 9 hours on a plane is kind of sticky.
Then went to meet Stuart, Lisa and Darren. We headed out for some food at the Big River Grill which was exactly what I needed. Much chat about what we were hoping to get from the week was had. I then stumbled back to my room for some much needed rest.

Back from Lotusphere 2012

I am back from Lotusphere 2012 and I must say it was all that it was hyped up to be

The OGS was very good this year, IBM actually listened to the audience from last year. Opened with a band (OK-GO), then Michael J Fox who gave a very inspirational speach on the use of community around PD, then product demos – and they were good demos, the awards – Champions den whopped when anyone we knew won an award – especially the Applicable one – some great talks from the execs, the IBM champions got a shout out (which is always nice) and to finish the fantastic Doctor – with his stories of how being social is helping to save childrens lives.

I spent a very rewarding 3 hours in the User Experience lab

There was a lot going on in the UX Lab this year – I spent a good bit of time giving somefeedback on the new IBM docs feature (formally known as lotuslive symphony) – like google docs IBM docs enables mutliple collaborators to work on a document, assign a block for an author to work on – infact it is a great tool. As well as being available in the cloud, IBM docs will be embeded into Connections to allow online file collaboration and viewing. This will enable users to view files without downloading and to edit on line with multiple authors – exactly some of the feed back we have been recieving in the connections user community

I also spent a good bit of time discussing some of the look and feel and metrics around Connections. Ethan Perry the lead on the connections 4 design was in the lab gathering feedback on metrics, the homepage and communities sections – I know Ethan well and sat with him and two other guys from the community to discuss some of the ideas the UX lab have. I hope to continue wotking with the UX design team to help provide quality feed back.





As well as all the great connections sessions which i will blog about later – there was some fantastic sessions on sametime, lotus notes, lotuslive (smart cloud for social business as its now called) and some great BOFs (Birds of a feather sessions) – I tried to fit in as many sessions as i could as well as attending the Champion events, being a social host in the social cafe and generally wandering around the conference with my Applicable polo shirts with the huge @Appl1cable on the back (thanks Elaine they were awesome 😉 )





I was lucky enough to be part of a great BOF with Simon Vaughan from Cardiff University and our friend Stuart McIntyre of CollaborationMatters around Connections Enhancements – we have the community in the lotus greenhouse (mentioned above) – Connections Users – we were lucky enough to be joined by product manager Luis Benitez, Mike Roache who is chief architect and Fred Raguillat solutions architect both from the dublin lab – to answer any questions relating to the direction of the product. It was a packed room, standing room only and a great discussion was had by all – the feedback will be going back to the product team. It was well worth getting up at 6am to start at 7am for.

I am shocked at the amount of people who leave Wednesday night at Lotusphere – Thursday has so many good things, sessions, we recorded a This Week in Lotus podcast live, then went on to gurupalooza where everyone that presented was on stage for an hour to answer questions – which is brave of them after a late Wednesday night party. Then Ask the Product managers and Ask the Developer sessions are fantastic.


After the Closing General Session which was an experience – a seperate blog enty is required – the annual blogger photo was taken for all the bloggers who are on planet lotus ( – fantastic to be included this year and to stand beside so many experts many of which I am now friends with. On that note it was also good to catch up with all my community friends – experts in different parts the ICS world from TDI, to Lotus Notes, Sametime, Connections, iSeries and Power systems through to running IBM/Lotus software on Linux platforms.

Thanks Mark for sending me and I hope I can get a session and speak next year – that would be as good seeing my picture on the main screen in the OGS with my fellow IBM champions 🙂