Branding and Re-Branding

On user community day here at IBM Think I was asked to fill in for a presentation that was originally going to be presented by a social marketeer who would talk about how to brand yourself.  Unfortunately I’m not a social marketeer or any kind of marketeer however I have recently been putting a lot of work into changing both Turtle’s brand image and my own personal brand.  With that in mind I thought it would be useful to talk through how I ended up with a brand at all and my thought processes that took me through the recent changes.

I hope you find it interesting.  A big “thank you” to Chris Miller of “idonotes” fame who read through and sanity checked this with me with only 1 days’ notice.  He’s far more of a marketeer and I am and can speak to how to use those social tools to promote yourself, which I really can’t and so didn’t try 🙂

IBM Think so far – well that’s interesting

Curse you Vegas.. you’re not meant to be cold, and by cold I mean I have to wear a light jacket everywhere.  I’m very disappointed in you.  I’m also not doing well with the massive crowds here at the conference, but that’s because I struggle in crowds.  Anyway that’s all the bad stuff out of the way.. now the good stuff

DJs everywhere – music everywhere.  I find it hard to be sad if there’s music to dance to. Lots of snack foods and healthy snack foods like veggies with dip. Purell stands everywhere because 30k sweaty people create a lot of “ew”

This conference is BIG – in every way BIG.  Breadth of sessions, number of sessions, number of attendees,  range of topics, amount of walking. Much of it feels way outside my pay grade but that’s a good thing – I get excited, energised, confused, scared and a little bit intimidated all at once.

First the “excited” stuff – Domino, Notes, Sametime etc v10

Much of the Domino v10 news was announced in the webcast on Feb 28th which I talked about here but the really really big news is Domino Apps for iOS.  Know what that is?

It’s a Notes client application deployed on iOS that is able to run your Notes applications directly from your Domino servers with no programming changes required.  Lotuscript, formula language, ACLs, reader fields all of it works even replication to the device.


Not only can you use your existing Notes applications on an iOS device but you can use Notes application development and the Domino servers to deploy new mobile applications

After that my presentation with HCL talked about changes to the Notes client, Sametime and Verse on Premises coming in v10.  The presentation is linked below but some highlights

  1. Delayed mail send – allowing you to choose a time for the server to release a mail message you create
  2. Invite others to meetings – controllable by the meeting chair to allow invitees to invite others, invite others with chair approval or not invite.  This can be changed for an appointment anytime and that kind of granular control is not something any other calendaring tool has
  3. Team calendars – where every member can equally create, manage and edit the invites. It can also be used as a team inbox
  4. Pre send mail hooks – allowing the administrator to determine via policies warnings that are shown to the user pre-send for example “attachment size is too large” “subject is missing” etc
  5. Sametime entitlement extended to mobile devices
  6. a commitment to a smaller client footprint, an upgrade from FP10 to v10 directly

The speed at which HCL are developing Domino and Notes (and there’s much much more to come before v10 releases in Q4) is a big change from where we’ve been in the past few years.

The beta program for v10 starts in April

Now the energised and intimidated stuff 🙂

Some of the best and most brain hurting sessions for me were recorded and are available for live replay (they don’t seem to require registration or login).  I can even catch up with ones I missed

Some of my favourites that I recommend you viewing..

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Think Week – With More Than A Little Help From My Friends

IBM Think starts tomorrow for me in Las Vegas.  So obviously here I am in a LV hotel room drinking lots of water, trying to plan the sessions I want to see, when I’m going to be free and and then sign up for several of the labs.  This year as well as my technical sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday,  I will be moderating and contributing to several “soft skills” sessions that are not about technology but about how we work.

Thank you in advance to all the people shown below for joining the panels.  Here’s where I’ll be this week.

Technical Sessions

Monday 19th @ 1.30pm
A Guide To Single Sign-On for IBM Collaboration Solutions
Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 Surf B
Single sign-on, single identity and even password synchronization—in this session, we will take you through all the options available to minimize or eradicate logins across IBM’s Collaboration Solutions (ICS); whether it is a Domino web server, IHS, Notes client, Traveler, Sametime, Connections or Verse, on-premises or cloud. The discussion will cover security certificates, password synchronization, IWA, SPNEGO and SAML Federation. I will explain what you can (and can’t) do, and how to do it.

Tuesday 20th @ 2.30pm
Deep Dive: What’s New in Notes, Sametime and Verse On-Premises for Users and Administrators
Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 Surf B
with Ram Krishamurthy of HCL
Join this session to understand the recent advancements in capabilities for mail users and administrators. Learn about what to expect with Notes, Verse and Sametime Chat V10 on the server, on the desktop and on mobile devices.

Soft Skills Sessions

Sunday 18th
User Community Day including IBM Champion Day @ MGM Conference Centre

10.35 (#9219)
How to create, maintain and change a personal brand

11.15  (#9268)
How to become a different kind of Champion – reaching across the aisle
with Wannes Rams of Ramsit and Social Connections

11.35 (#9241)
Roundtable on managing the noise and home working
with Florian Vogler of Panagenda
Sandra Buehler and Andreas Ponte of Belsoft AG
Rob Novak of Snapps

Monday 19th @ Mandalay Bay Conference Centre

Think Academy Soft Skills Pop Up – Remote/Home Working: Creating a Balance
with Adam Brown of ISW
Sandra Buehler of Belsoft AG
Julian Robichaux of Panagenda
In this presentation the panel will share ideas around how to best manage remote working (if you miss working directly with a team), home working (over committing and temptations) and working for customers on different timezones. There are many approaches we all use and we can learn from each other which ones would work best. There are also many tools available to both manage tasks and time and stay engaged with others but which ones prove the most useful for different types of work.

Tuesday 20th @ Mandalay Bay Conference Centre

Think Academy Soft Skills Pop Up – Managing the Noise
with Theo Heselmans of XCeed & Engage UG
Francie Tanner and Tony Holder of Panagenda
Maria Nordin of Infoware Solutions & Social Connections
Many of us are in multiple real time chats in Watson Workspace in Slack in Skype in Sametime i addition to all the online forums we need to at least monitor if not participate in. How can we best manage all the noise generated around us whilst we work and how can we contribute effectively. Also aimed at owners of those communities, what is it reasonable to expect of participants and how do you stop people from failing to join in just because they blinked at the wrong time and missed a discussion.

Wednesday 21st @ Mandalay Bay Conference Centre

Think Academy Soft Skills Pop Up – The Imposter Syndrome
with Maria Nordin of Infoware Solutions & Social Connections
Jon Schultz of Prominic
Tony Holder of Panagenda
Impostor syndrome affects nearly everyone in one way or another and results in feeling intermittently underqualified or even out of place in our work. No matter how successful you are there are multiple ways it can sneak up on you. In this session hear and learn from our panelists about how they each deal with different with their own aspects of it. 

I will also be joining some of the round table discussioms taking place at the IBM Champion desk @ Mandalay Bay Conference Centre Bayside D including one on GDPR on Tuesday @ 1.30pm


That Scream You Just Heard? Thanks Apple

<still screaming>

I take screenshots probably 30x a day every day. Sometimes to a file (CMD-SHIFT-4) and sometimest to the clipboard (CMD-CTRL-SHIFT-4). Imagine my delight when I got my new Macbook Pro and discovered I could add the “screenshot” icon to my touchbar.  No more key combinations, just press the touch bar.  After presssing the touch bar it shows me options of clipboard, desktop, documents etc and remembers what I last used.

What a great feature.  Until it wasn’t.

Apparently Apple “thought” that those touchbar settings should always and with no warning override the keyboard options.  Here I was in a presentation this morning taking about 100 screenshots (laptop closed using external monitor) CMD-SHIFT-4 only to discover none of them NONE OF THEM were on my file system because apparently Apple now use the touchbar settings (which I can’t see with the laptop closed) to override any keyboard settings.

There’s no excuse for that terrible assumptive UI behaviour.  None.  Hopefully this saves someone else the same pain and I’ll revert to using Skitch where I need to be certain.

My Favourite Things From Yesterday’s Call – What’s Coming …

Yesterday IBM and HCL hosted a call introducing some of the changes on the way with Domino, Sametime, VOP, etc, as a result of the worldwide Domino Jam sessions they have been running this year.  I attended an earlier Domino Jam in London in January which was jointly hosted by IBM and HCL and was very pleasantly surprised by how receptive they were to really unusual ideas as well as honest criticism so I was looking forward to hearing the results.

To start with it’s worth knowing that the strategy is continually evolving, what we were told about and what HCL are committing to is just a first step on a multi-year multi-release journey and that’s good news.

  • Modern development tools and frameworks
  • Easier and extended authentication and admin options *
  • Core performance improvements *
  • Slimmer, faster, better looking Client *
  • Adding mail and calendar features
  • Improved integration for mail and productivity with Microsoft Office

The items with asterisks were those I certainly raised (ok, went on and on about) during the Domino Jam and it’s great to see others did too and pushed them onto the priority list. I was also pleased to hear them talk about Domino as the original NoSQL database server which it was and remains – I honestly believe customers need to be reminded that before NoSQL was what everyone was doing, Domino was doing NoSQL 🙂

The application development innovations include support for Node.js integration and the ability to deploy applications on an iPad – we saw some code but it’s early days for a release due in Q4 and involving such huge amounts of work. There was a definite amount of “teasering” (made up word)  going on and a promise of hands-on access to beta code at Think in a few weeks as well as at user groups like SNOUG (in Switzerland), Engage (in Rotterdam) and Collabsphere (in Ann Arbor).  If you can make it to Think there’s going to be a lot to hear about and get your hands on, but if you can’t then there will be continual opportunities throughout the year before everything hopefully ships in Q4.

One very interesting thing that came out is that a lot of enhancements were already developed by IBM but never released into the product (for whatever reason) and HCL have been able to use those to leapfrog forwards.   Things coming to v10 of Domino include:

  • automated database repair (fixup is nice but wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to do that at all)
  • removal of the 64GB limit and a new 256GB limit (which suggests a lot of efficiencies in database structure)
  • investment in Domino docker images to be made available with installs
  • update of SAML (to SAML 4) and improved integration with AD

Obviously this isn’t everything, there are more things appearing every day and much is still under NDA but we’re months away from release and there’s a feeling of a team pushing hard and breaking through old models and definitions to modernise and breathe oxygen into these products.

I have always believed that Domino is the best NoSQL database server and mail server out there and it seems HCL believe that too and are going full out to prove it.  Not to mention some of the most exciting stuff being produced is in the area of application development which I’m not best to comment on but still like what I am hearing.

If you were on the fence about attending Think I would suggest climbing off it – not just so you can benefit from learning whilst there but to grab the multiple opportunities to feed back your own ideas.  There are people behind these products who want to hear them.  If you can’t make Think then sign up for whatever user groups you can.  I will be doing the same.