Sunday, August 9, 2009

Was IamLUG worth it?


For years, many of us in the States have had to sit back and be envious of our brethren and sisteren, (if that's even a word), in Europe that have had the opportunity to attend one of the "national" user groups meetings in either Ireland or the UK. Starting this year, Chris Miller, Franziska Tanner-Whitlock and others organized and pulled off two fantastic days of learning in St. Louis.
IamLUG was very much like a mini-Lotusphere. Let's face it, you had people from IBM (Mary Beth Raven, Ed Brill) there to give an insight as to what is next for the product (Lotus Knows and 8.5.1). Well known and respected speakers that have appeared at Lotusphere were there giving updated material of sessions (Paul Mooney, Gabriella Davis, etc). Vendors were fantastically awesome enough to put up the money to sponsor this event so that cost to you as an attendee was FREE. And, you had the Lotus community there.
Like Lotusphere, the day was broken up into different sessions in different rooms. Ones that were centered on administration topics were held in one room, while developer topics were in another. But unlike Lotusphere, these sessions were more "layed back". Meaning that if during the session you had a question, it was much more open of an atmosphere due to the smaller crowds to stop and ask questions which made from some great dialogue and learning.
This was an event were the regular Joe Admin or Betty Developer got a chance to meet others who are just like them and be able to share stories and exchange...I mean, share ideas with each other. Face it, the Lotus community is a very unique bunch and whenever there is a gathering of them, good times usually ensue.
My advice to anyone who has ever been on the fence about going to Lotusphere to see what all the hype is about, is to attend an event like this. My main reason for going was so that I could get some up to date information on what the 8.5.1 code stream will look like and behave. From what I've seen, I am very much looking forward to the hopeful October release since there are no plans for a public beta as I had learned.
Let's face it. Lotusphere is an expense event for someone to attend. As I'm sure you've read on the blogs, tweets and Facebook updates, the Lotus community is very passionate about events like this. So if you get a chance, I suggest you attend the MWLUG event that is being held at the end of August. I'm sure that you will walk away from the event refreshed, renewed and ready to take on your day to day tasks in our Yellow world.
Here's hoping for IamLUG 2010!

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