GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkHow Do You Top Neil Armstrong?
11:57:14 PM

The answer to the title question is simple: you don't. You don't even try. Neil Armstrong was the perfect guest speaker. There can't be more than a handful of people in the world who have such obvious worldwide fame and appeal, and to top it off he was a truly engaging speaker and the material that he tailored to the Lotusphere audience was right on the mark.

So, let's get this straight: it doesn't matter who Lotus engaged as guest speaker for Lotusphere this year. It was a sure thing that whomever it was, he or she would have been a let-down in comparison the Neil Armstrong.

Now, I've read some complaints, mostly from folks who live outside the US, about the choice of Bob Costas as guest speaker at the OGS. Yes... he is definitely best known to sports fans inside the US... but was he relevant and interesting? It seems to me that that's the much more important question than whether he was well-known to most of the audience. If I were to go to an IBM-oriented event in France or Germany, I would not necessarily expect their selection of guest speakers to be limited to those whose fame extends to the US.

I happen to like Bob Costas, and I think he really tried to be relevant and interesting, and did an ok job. He did a better job of that than some past guest speakers, like Rudy Giuliani. He could have done better though. If he hadn't used the New England Patriots and his observations about the "steroid era" in baseball as primary examples to illustrate the point he was making, I think he could have been more interesting to more people, and that might be particularly true for those attendees from outside the US. But, bearing in mind that he was no Neil Armstrong, was he good enough to be selected as a speaker for this audience? Was he relevant and interesting enough? IMHO, yes, he was.

There is one way in which Bob Costas, and the OGS in general did disappoint me, though. He made no mention, and nobody in the OGS made any mention, of the fact that Monday was Martin Luther King Day here in the US. I wish he, or someone, had found a way to work it in, and had yielded just a few seconds of their allotted time for a brief acknowledgement. I think that would have been very approrpriate -- even though that, too, would have been a very US-centric thing to do.

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Comments :v

1. Ian Randall01/22/2008 04:37:21 AM


I agree, you can't please all of the people all of the time, but an international audience expects to be presented to from an internation perspective.

Apart from the USA, Japan and Cuba, no one else really relates to Baseball and outside of the US football means soccer.

If you are going to pick a speaker for the OGS, select someone who at least understands that.

Even the integration of Notes Mail with the iPhone is of little real benefit outside of the US at the moment.

It is about time that some senior people in IBM/Lotus started to think about abanding their rather parochial view of the world.

That being said, I was rather dissapointed with what was disclosed during the OGS.

There is still a few more days to go, so perhaps there will be more announcements, and I am happy with the announced with the changes to Domino Designer, Gadget and Mashup tools, etc, but last year Lotus seemed to be more closer to releasing stuff and not just announcing things.

Even the "Atlantic" announcement fell flat for me, as they had already released some free integration capabilities between Notes and SAP, so an announcement of something that was three quarters away for some more features that users would be charged for, was less than spectacular. However, if it defuses the Microsoft migration to Exchange bandwagon, then this will be a good thing. However, in my small part of the market, I consider SAP to be a competitor.

2. Kerr01/22/2008 05:24:36 AM

"Monday was Martin Luther King Day here in the US. I wish he, or someone, had found a way to work it in..." "...even though that, too, would have been a very US-centric thing to do."

At least an international audience would recognise the significance and importance of Dr. King. I don't think anyone would have thought it inappropriate.

3. Mathias Pohl01/22/2008 10:07:03 PM

Richard, i totally agree with you about the OGS. Except the part about Rudy Giuliani. Giulianis speech was - at least IMHO - much more relevant to the subject of collaboration (and also much longer, ok), than to speak about football teams, which may win and why and trying to make us believe, that context aggregation tools helped him to find the right comment at the right time during his shows...

4. Bruce Perry01/23/2008 12:34:22 AM

A sports figure would have to work really hard to convince me he's got anything useful to say at a technical conference.

Ghouliani's speech about leadership wasn't bad. He just couldn't resist getting a little dig in at the Democrats though, even though the venue was totally wrong for it. Shows how petty he is.

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