Genii Weblog

From the "Americans don't do irony" department: Lotusphere presentations

Wed 30 Jan 2008, 09:57 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Well, it was a great Lotusphere, and it seemed that IBM had finally gotten some of the Web 2.0 spirit - openness, collaboration, mashups, enlisting the community rather than going it alone.  But alas, not in all things.  I have been asked to stop sharing with the community the links to speaker's presentations and samples in my Sessions db, because IBM wants to control and limit the distribution of such content.  Despite the irony of IBM's request, and despite the fact that all I do is collect links to already public blogs and websites, and despite the fact that the majority of people who write to thank me went to the conference and just want updates or samples or slides to sessions they could not attend, I am not going to fight this.  I won't remove any links already in the database, and I won't stop speakers who want to post their information as comments in the sessions db, but I won't add anymore myself.  I hope that IBM follows through and posts content to more than just attendees, but otherwise you will have to get links yourself from or Google or any of the other ways to access public information... publicly.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

666.1. David Bailey
(01/30/2008 07:45 AM)

Amazing. Utterly *UC^*%#$ amazing!

I cannot imagine why they would want to do this. They should be doing exactly the opposite!

666.2. Eric Romo
(01/30/2008 08:00 AM)

My organization blocks most ports...I can't replicate your db.

Can you post an updated zip file with the current contents?


666.3. Volker Weber
(01/30/2008 08:08 AM)

Stupidity and irony are not the same thing. :-)

666.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/30/2008 08:11 AM)

Problably not, Volker, but I am American, after all.

666.5. kerr
(30/01/2008 08:13)


666.6. Ben Poole
(30/01/2008 08:32)

Oh dear oh dear. It's a shame when all the good work by Bob, Maureen, Mary-Beth and many others gets stymied by the lawyers eh.

666.7. Paul Mooney
(01/30/2008 08:42 AM)


Ben, will this stop you doing your great work next year?

666.8. Charles Robinson
(01/30/2008 08:52 AM)

I'm gobsmacked. This is one of the most wrong-minded and all out stupid things they have ever done. I hope this doesn't deter you from continuing to offer your sessions application to the masses.

666.9. Turtle
(01/30/2008 08:52 AM)

Argh. I can see why they'd do this, in that they don't wanna give goodies away to non-Lotusphere attendees, but at the same time, why does that content have to die on February 22 when LSOnline shuts down? There's no MONEY to be made in making the slides available, so I don't really see what the problem is. And does this cover ALL speakers and whatnot, or just IBMers? After all, lots of non-IBMers already post their slides on their own blogs and sites...

666.10. Stuart McIntyre
(01/30/2008 09:02 AM)

For goodness sake IBM, can you not see the impact that this kind of decision has on the community that supports you?

As I've said elsewhere, there is real value in making the MP3s, videos and presentations available to everyone, not just those that can pay the $2000 or take the week out of their schedules? Ideally, do it for free, else make it available for some reasonable fee ($200?) a set period after the conference finishes. Educate the advocates and evangelists, they will sell the products and technologies for you...

Ben, don't stop the terrific work you do.

666.11. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/30/2008 09:03 AM)

Ben - Q: What do you call 1000 lawyers lined up next to each other at the bottom of the ocean? A: A good start.

Paul - There is nothing in this to stop me from doing the Sessions database next year, although it is harder to get up the enthusiasm.

Turtle - The speaker agreement we sign clearly notes that all rights and copyright are maintained by the company for which the speaker works, so only IBMers are covered officially. I was asked to stop soliciting from any speakers and so will stop adding any links, but there is nothing to prevent non-IBM speakers from posting to their own websites and blogs. I am less clear on copyright law when it comes to IBM speakers, who may well retain copyright over their own work, but also may not.

666.12. Alan Lepofsky
(01/30/2008 09:42 AM)

Ben, speaking on my own behalf, NOT as my employeer, I can't believe this. You do SO MUCH for Lotusphere with this database. I have personally benefited from it for years, as have hundreds of other IBMers. I don't know a thing about the decision, but I'm very very very sorry to hear it. I hope the thanks you get from the community outweighs the hassles you get from IBM.

666.13. Timothy Briley
(01/30/2008 09:48 AM)


666.14. Julian Woodward
(30/01/2008 09:52)

This is the occasion for which the phrase "ludicrous nonsense" was invented.

Dear IBM,

a little joined-up thinking is required.


everybody else

666.15. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/30/2008 09:59 AM)

Alan - I certainly don't blame you. In any case, I do the sessions database as a gift to the community, not to IBM, so I'll probably keep doing it. This is just one of those foolish things that seems to make sense to sombody in a beauracracy, and nobody else can really do anything about it. Frustrating, but what can you do?

Everybody else - Thanks for the support.

666.16. Pete McPhedran
(01/30/2008 10:08 AM)


Not that I am *agreeing* with IBM, but if you look at your own comment: "If you didn't make it to Lotusphere, here is a chance to get those slides anyway." and compare that to what IBM is trying to accomplish, i.e. demonstrate a value in actually attending Lotusphere, as well as using their provided mechanisms to get the conference materials into the hands of the people that plunked down thousands of dollars to attend, I can see them wanting you to stop your project.

Again, to reiterate, I don't necessarily agree with IBM, but I think they have a valid point. Now, what they could have done, as others have mentioned or implied is to work with you and bring your project into the fold, allow them to get some marketing stats etc...

Thank you for the work you have done.


666.17. Alan Bell
(30/01/2008 11:02)

I think IBM might have a sliver of a valid point if they actually did anything useful with the presentations themselves, like flog a CD of them or something like that. I wouldn't mind paying quite a bit of money for the presentations, videos, MP3s etc. if they did. Even if they did charge for it I think they would make more money (by more people attending LS2009) by giving it away for free. IBM should concentrate on getting this material which promotes their product and their conference out to as many people as possible. I have never ever heard anyone attending any conference on any subject say that the availability of presentations devalues the ticket price of the conference. There is a value in attending Lotusphere. The very best way to demonstrate that value to non-attendees is to publish the presentations en mass so that people can see what they missed out on seeing live and will pony up the cash for LS2009. Frankly this kind of thinking from IBM belongs in 1988 not 2008.

666.18. Colin Williams
(01/30/2008 11:25 AM)

What say you Brill? This sillyness demands an explation!

666.19. Don Mottolo
(01/30/2008 11:53 AM)

Yes, IBM makes money from Lotusphere attendance, BUT... they make much more money when people are empowered to USE AND PROMOTE THEIR PRODUCTS!!! Ok, they make a few bucks from the videos, but how much is IBM losing because people are lacking the knowledge of how to use their products to their maximum potential.

666.20. Carol Anne
(01/30/2008 12:08 PM)

What's IBM's business model: Selling Lotus products, or making money on Lotusphere? If you want to sell more products, make all the fine information from Lotusphere available for the people who couldn't attend...and for the future interested parties who didn't know Lotusphere exists, and are now considering the product (say, six months from now).

Bureaucracies are characterized by people with myopic, narrow view, claiming everything within their domain as "Mine, All Mine!" That's just plain antithetical to everything IBM claims it wants to do to enhance profitability. It certainly doesn't help the Lotus customer community, or the Business Partners.

Who's gonna have to be drug, kickin' and screamin' into the 21st Century?

666.21. Newbs
(01/30/2008 01:27 PM)

Ben: I love your comment "as a gift to the community".

Giving is the essence of collaboration. By giving those who collaborate get benefits anticipated and unanticipated ways. It is your "pure naked capitalism" at work.

Not giving is anti-collaboration. As a result of not giving the non-giver will not get in many anticipated and unanticipated ways. Most of which are not good for the non-giver and the non-receiver alike.

Sadly lawyers are most often found to be the catalyst of non-giving, anti-collaboration activities.

666.22. Sean Harris
(01/30/2008 01:49 PM)

IBM just made the jump to Ludicrous Speed with this decision.

I really hope all the presenters who have their slides on their own website/blog will update the Sessions dB with the information, thereby giving everybody what they want and not getting Ben into trouble.

Thanks a lot Ben for all your good work!

666.23. Roberto Boccadoro
(01/31/2008 12:07 AM)


I second Alan's thoughts @12. Not that he or me can do anything about this, but you should know that within IBM there are many people that appreciate what you do with the sessions db.

666.24. Sean Cull
(01/31/2008 01:13 AM)

in my naivety I never realised lotusphere was all about making money from attendance fees

666.25. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/31/2008 03:07 AM)

Sean - Volker was just being clever, realizing that there was no security set on the HTML directory where the zip files were stored. He decided to act as if that was intentional, but since there is no link to those files outside of Lotusphere On-Line, it is quite clear this is jut incompetent security rather than intentional sharing. But sometimes, if you act like a thing is so and nobody comes along to argue, it is so. So far, nobody has come along to argue.

Of course, even if IBM intended this, it doesn't stop the fact that they have asked me to NOT share links to updated slides, samples , etc., and non-IBM speakers have lost the chance to provide context and access to their other sessions, content, etc. Sigh!

666.26. bob balaban
(01/31/2008 04:34 AM)

Damn shame, in my personal, non-official, not-representing-ibm-here opinion

666.27. George Chiesa
(31/01/2008 11:11)

IBM, please, CARPE A F'ing clue !!!!


666.28. George Chiesa
(31/01/2008 11:12)

IBM, carpe clue, please, carpe an f-ing clue, please. The marker is demanding a different behaviour

666.29. Rod Stauffer
(01/31/2008 12:00 PM)

So is IBM's next step to ask Google to remove Lotusphere from their search results? Or Lotusphere sessions? Those steps make about as much sense what's actually happened to Ben. Telling Ben to stop adding links is beyond ridiculous as every was already publicly available. Since when is aggregating links to public pages a copyright issue? Seems eyeglasses help only a certain type of myopia.

666.30. Bill Malchisky
(01/31/2008 11:38 PM)


Thank you for the work you do here. Good meeting you at LS08 as well. Anything I could add to the IBM decision has been discussed, and therefore would be redundant at this point. Please keep up the good work.

As promised, I definitely added a few points of the value you provide in my LS Conference eval. IMHO, IBM should contract with you to handle the electronic version of the session information. For not your efforts, the numbers of BOF attendees this year would have tanked further; you helped keep them from being a complete failure. Much thanks to you sir.


666.31. Ben Poole
(01/02/2008 04:32)

@16 I would argue that the value of Lotusphere lies not in a bunch of PDFs but in actually attending the sessions in question and meeting the people there. So giving away the presentations to non-attendees, after the event, is no biggie

666.32. Wes Morgan
(02/01/2008 12:53 PM)

Gee......perhaps it's time for me to start a blog. At first glance, this seems to border on the ridiculous.

666.33. anonymous
(02/02/2008 11:55 AM)

Ben, can you give me information on who contacted you? I would like to talk to that person....

666.34. Paul G
(04/02/2008 05:16 PM)

Ben, your db sometimes is the ONLY way I can get a centralised, local Notes replica of what's happening on the OTHER SIDE of the world, at an event I will probably NEVER get to attend.

Frustrating . . .


Melbourne, Australia

666.35. Jérôme Deniau
(06/02/2008 01:15)

The funny part is that you pay to go to LS, thinking the slides will only be accessible to you. And less than 2 months after all slides are accessible onto the IBM Web Site (not all, but major ones).

Please keep on maintaining your DB!