(Note: I wrote this on Friday, didn't get around to uploading the presentation until Sunday evening...thus the date/time on the posting. ERB)

After three straight days of presenting the overall Lotus story, I've been thinking a lot about the messages that are in the Lotusphere Comes to You keynote presentation.  It's a little bit different than the Lotusphere opening general session, in that there's a bit more market-level overview included.  Four sides from the current Lotus strategy presentation have been good food for thought and conversation.  Today I'm writing about the first one...I'll tackle the others next week.

I'm sure the presentation is posted somewhere on ibm.com, but I want to focus on these four slides, so here they are from slideshare:

Perhaps these thoughts seem obvious to some of you.  Globalization, faster cycle time -- yep, sure, we know about that.  Some, though, may not have been as top-of-mind.

"Customers, and even competition, are better informed."
 On reading it, you as a blog reader probably react with a "duh", but only because you are living that one already.

When I had my first competitive marketing team at Lotus in 2000 -- only seven years ago -- the game was played quite differently.  We had to install competitor products, read documentation, go to conferences, talk to analysts, and occasionally obtain a morsel of knowledge from talking to our own customers who used or had looked at the competition.  We had a great team that played the game fairly and ethically, but it was tough stuff.  It was made tougher by the fact that our primary opponent -- then more than now -- seemed unafraid to hit below the belt.  Anyone remember the ZD Labs POP3 performance study?  That "January surprise" (I think it was Lotusphere 2000) was like having BMW and Mercedes race it out for best 0-60 speed -- on the Mercedes test track, with low grade fuel in the BMW tank, and with a driver who had never been in a BMW before.  With a stock BMW car that nobody had a manual for.  No wonder the other guys "won".  

Back then, there was no way for the community to rally around such a sucker punch.  I couldn't tell the play-by-play in front of the entire market.  Nobody heard the guffaws of laughter coming from the Lotus building when Redmond offered to re-run the study, this time actually including us in the process.

Anyway, today, you -- customer, partner, competitor, journalist, industry observer -- have access to far more information (TMI?) than ever before.  And when a similar thing happens, a lot more people know --and can shoot holes in it.   I think one of the reasons why social networking software such as blogs, wikis, and shared bookmarks are so important right now is that we need, more than ever, someone to help us figure out what information is useful in the whole scheme of things.  This conected-ness leads to the responsiveness that is now more important than ever in most organizations.  

Now we just have to keep from overdoing it, and as such, I'm going offline for the weekend :-)

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