My Take on the #LS10 Keynote Sessions and a word about TelePrompTers

When I first looked at the schedule for Lotusphere I was surprised to find seven keynotes on the schedule in the past there have been three (maybe four) but it was a pretty big leap from there to seven.  After the OGS and the different style they used this year I understood the number of keynotes.   I attended five of them, and oddly enough you can tell which five from my browser screenshot 🙂 A picture named M2 I live blogged all five that I attended, so my intent is not to recap them individually here, rather make a few general comments about each one before getting to the TelePrompTer issue. The Lotus Application Development Strategy, Lotus Notes and Domino, and LotusLive (Working Smarter Together) sessions were all well done in my opinion.  Well balanced between roadmap, customer or partner stories, and demos.   Unfortunately the same can not be said for the Social Computing and Unified Communications keynote.  The Social Computing keynote included five customer stories, only one of which was really told well.  Don’t get me wrong I think all five customers had excellent stories to tell, but one wandered off the script completely, and another got up with no script at all, and it was quite obvious in the delivery.  As has been the case the last couple of years the session ended with a spoof of a popular TV show, this year it was “Collaboration with the Stars”.  The session was already light on product content and demo, and perhaps it is time to retire the “Flarepoint” routine and invest the time in talking about the Connections and Quickr products.   The Unified Communications Keynote to be fair started about 15 minutes later then it’s 5 PM scheduled start time as the previous session ran late, and by this time I had already sat through the 2 1/2 hour OGS, as well as 2 keynotes, so I probably was not in the right frame of mind for it from the beginning of the session.  Additionally I had a 6 PM commitment so I knew I would not be able to see the entire sessions.  All that said the “Bruce the Magnificient” routine at the beginning while funny provided no real content value to the session, and once the customer came up on stage with out a script and proceeded to draw what was a good story out way to long I was done. Now lets talk about the TelePrompTer, there have been various exchanges on Twitter, and at least one other blog post on their use.  First this is not the first time TelePrompTers have been used at Lotusphere, they have been there all six years I have been there at least, and I suspect a whole lot longer.  Second at Lotusphere 2008 I had the opportunity to participate in the Social Computing Keynote, and in doing so use the TelePrompTer.  My experience was that it definitely is not the style of speaking I am used to, and took some getting used to. That said I do feel though that for the customer story portion of the keynotes they really are necessary, I will explain. The customer stories need to be focused, they follow a very familiar format – Challenges faced, Solutions Considered, Why we chose the Lotus Solution, How it has helped solve our business challenge.   When the stories are scripted they come off just like that, short, sweet, and making the point.  The ones that either deviated from the script or had no script did not get their points across.  You could tell they had a good story, but it did not come off well at all.   As for the IBMers on stage using the TelePrompTer – I agree they should know the script well enough that it should not come off as simply reading it (and for the most part I don’t think anyone came off that way) but the TelePrompTer is not going away.  In addition to there being a lot of content to remember in the OGS and Keynotes, the scripts are revised and revised and revised right up to the last minute, and in addition if I understand it correctly they all have to be cleared by legal as well.  Like it or not the TelePrompTers will be back at LS11.  For those presenters used to a more informal speaking style it is a challenge, but I thought most of the IBMers did a nice job. If you want more details on any of the keynotes here are the live blogs Live Blogging: Opening General Session Live Blogging: KEY104 IBM Lotus Notes and Domino: Strategy and Future Directions Live Blogging: KEY106 Social Collaboration Delivers Real Business Value Live Blogging: KEY102 The Future of Unified Communications and Collaboration Live Blogging: KEY105 LotusLive and Lotus Saas Strategy Live Blogging: KEY101 The Lotus Application Development Strategy

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