PermaLink A Lotusphere Diary, 2012 - Day 501/21/2012 02:53 AM
In which we all go back to the places we come from

Yes, I know, I'm writing this way early Saturday morning after LS12 ended Thursday evening.

Or did it?

Thanks to nasty weather in the midwest, a lot of people spent an extra day at the Sphere.

Me, I drove out midday on Thursday and spent Friday driving under gray skies on Interstate 95.

But, as Arlo Guthrie said, that's not what I come to talk to ya about.

This year has been a watershed. Many old-school Sphereians came back. Some were missing. Some didn't speak on topics you'd have ever guessed they'd speak on. The people they interacted with weren't anywhere near the ones you might have seen here a decade ago. The specter of IBM redaction was an absurd new idea for people in the non-IBM-employee community.

We handled it all.

Even the first-timers.

I had missed this feeling for a few years, the idea that we are all gonna learn new stuff, be in different roles, have different customers and new interactions. For me, personally, I came damn close to getting in the diesel Monday night and driving home to be with the giant wabbits, because I was extremely disturbed by certain things I don't have to go into here.

But because it's the last in-sequence LS12 post, I'll absolutely go into some of the fun things!

I was seriously waiting for Zimmern to announce he was going to eat an entire Apple iPad onstage.

I wanted OK Go to do that treadmill video verbatim.

I kinda hoped Michael J. Fox would do "Johnny B. Goode" from Back To The Future. Yeah, yeah, I know. Yell at me offline, or buy me a drink next year and yell at me. If the doctor had announced he'd used Connections to cure Michael's Parkinson's, there would be 50,000 customers for Connections tomorrow. You can only hope for a certain amount of synergy, even at Lotusphere, but when I knew who the speakers would be (and yes, I did know but you know I don't spoil any more), well, I knew it would be cool.

Sea World: I didn't go. I liked it the two previous times we've been, but the Wednesday gig gets shorter and shorter every year and we get older and older. Remember the old days, when 8000 of us went to the Magic Kingdom at 6 and stayed till midnight, after the Doobie Brothers? Hhhhhhhh... Nowadays, I spend longer with my opthalmologist, and his snacks and drinks suck.

I also want to talk about something else.

A lot of us are getting very old now. This was, as I've told anybody who gave a shit, my eighteenth Lotusphere. Yes, there are a handful of people who rank me on that, and us veterans know who they are and respect them. But what I've been glad to see is just how many really enthusiastic first- and second-timers we had this year. I won't be telling any secrets to say that for some of them, the enthusiasm came from just how crazy the Sphere can get and how late they can stay out, but there isn't a damn one of you veterans who can tell ME with a straight face you weren't like that the first couple of years you were here. But then, around Tuesday afternoon, even the partiers realized, "this is great, this is a genuine home for people who love this technology, and these are some of the best people in the world who do what they do, and ofuk, maybe I should go to more sessions and ask more questions and trade some business cards around."

Yeah. It is. And they are. And you should, and you should.

We've all been there.

And damn, some of you are hot.

Enough about that for now (I will likely post my usual cryptic addendum tomorrow once I get caught up on all the notes I made to myself this week).

I will do this, though:

Great cheers to Andrew and Gab (several times over), to everyone at Ascendant, to everyone who helped break the record for Most Humans In A Two-Bed Lotusphere Room (Monday at 7:30; I lost count at 41), to Ed, to Kat, Kristin, Joyce, Holly and Marcy as always, to Dan, Bill and Mary, to Mat, to the Dukes, to Mark and Bruce and the video guys, to both Garretts, and to Abigail, who will be part of the next-gen nerd girls. Special thanks to everyone who was involved in producing or contributing to the Unofficial 2012 Cookbook. Also cheers to other people that don't need to be named here but know I love and respect them. This doesn't begin to cover everyone who made this year amazing; it just shows my limited memory in my old age, and (though some of you won't believe it) my increasing discretion.

Great flatulence to certain people at IBM Legal who shall remain nameless, who probably need to understand better what "social business" is about, since IBM has committed to it and spent a bunch of money to go in that direction. Great shouts of derision to Swan and Dolphin for the abysmal hotel wifi, to Starwood for dorking up the conference package to get people to pay for said crappy wifi by the day, and for whoever decided it was a good idea to not get even all the actual Canadians on the Canada Night guest list!

Yeah. We pay attention to things like that.

And great boos to whoever decided we can't have pizza after 3am in Dolphin any more. The TurboChef is an awesome tool; don't limit it!

Most of you are now home safe. Thanks to weather in the Midwest, some of you got to enjoy an extra day in Central Florida, and that's OK, too.

Wherever you are tonight, think about this: a week in Orlando, Florida, once a year used to be the only time many of us could meet up, but thanks to that one community-making environment that has stuck around for nearly two decades, we now have many venues in which we can all meet up and have what I think of as mini-Lotuspheres all year round and all around the world. Find a LUG and get to it, mates, and you will see immediately just how strong this community really is. UKLUG, ILUG, DNUG, EntwicklerCamp and AdminCamp; the VIEW conferences; MWLUG and IamLUG. SkiLUG, Tri-State, DC, Australia, France, or anytime you hear of a local tweetup when three or four of you find you're in the same city. Go. Take the fire with you. Rekindle it, and bring it back here in 2013. It's damn amazing sometimes.

I am home safe. I find I need the 940 miles of driving to adjust back to normal life, to talking to the wabbits, dealing with clients and trying to decide how to move back to a more normal job setup. It eases me back into the non-Lotusphere world without jarring me out of the good mindset I have when I look after and see the Carp and Chicken receding in the side window. I'm sitting here at nearly 4am, and I still feel Lotusphere.

That's how it should work.

I'll probably write one more followup (I have lots of random notes that won't mean anything, nor will they sound elegant when dumped onto this page), but then I will come back to write about more detailed issues that I know need some attention in our world, both the world of technology and the larger world. You don't have to stick around for all of them, but if you choose to, say hi. You can follow me on Twitter at @the_turtle, and many of you know how to find me on LinkedIn.

Let's go do fun stuff this year.

Love,

Turtle

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