• Share your story - ’Wild’ Bill Buchan

    December 22 2008


    The third in our ongoing series of interviews with Lotusphere organisers, speakers, bloggers and attendees. This time we have one of the most highly-rated Lotusphere speakers ever, 'Wild' Bill Buchan, who is one of the stars of every Lotusphere eventl. Take it away, Bill:Is this your first Lotusphere? If not, how many have you attended in the past? Phew. I think this is 13 or 14. I've only missed two or three - the first one or two, and one at the start of the millennium. Every time I walk into the Dolphin atrium, I feel I've arrived 'home' again. Its a very strange and comforting experience Why are you attending Lotusphere in 2009? Our company - HADSL have a product - FirM - which we resell to large corporates and service providers. And since they're all at Lotusphere in one capacity or another, its a very intensive week long sales call for us. It also lets us catch up on the technology, certifications (which I've fallen behind on - the nd8 exams are *hard*), and catch up on our business contacts both within Lotus and in our customer base. Those of course are the official reasons. Unofficially - and don't tell my business partners - well, I like to party with my Lotusphere buddies - people I only see in other conferences during the year, or people I only see on IM. And since I've celebrated my birthday here for the last *cough* years, its became rather a habit. If you've seen a fat hairy man in shorts climb onto that piano on Jelly rolls, it was probably me. What has been your best experience of Lotusphere so far? I think presenting worst practices with Paul Mooney. Worst Practices was a presentation built upon a fantastic night in the pub when I first met Paul - I think it was outside the big river brewing company on the boardwalk. For some reason, the craic was flowing, everyone was laughing and we started telling our various war stories over the worst things we'd ever seen customers do to Lotus Notes. I remember howling with laughter, tears running down my face, as I listened to Paul deliver punchline after punchline. And so worst practices were born. And not to unduly flatter the wee Oirish Man, he is one of the best presenters I've ever listened to. He and the infamous WES MORGAN would read the telephone directory during the OGS, and we'd all be howling with laughter. So yeah, for the last few years we've stood on stage and abused each other and the audience. The waves of laughter coming back at you is like a drug - really. And people actually respond to it - "Oh - yeah - we did *this*.. ". Great material. Last year Duffbert stood on stage and abused Paul and I for breaking *all* the rules during iLug. And it was a good thing - because the audience has to understand that the folks on stage are just like them, and human like them and make mistakes like them. Lots of other things - watching Rob Novak propose to Liz on the deck of the Foultons Boat. He tried to do it secretly, but we'd spotted him... We all held our breath till she said yes... The best presenter ever for me was Neil Armstrong. That man really *is* a hero among men. And he related his story in such a straightforward manner - "I was only the delivery driver". It would be difficult for anyone else to better that performance - just because no other person could possibly say that they were the first person to step foot on the moon. How can a 'merely fantastic' presenter like John Cleese compete with that? BlackBerry/RIM throw a mean party. Tuesday is a blur to me, Wednesday mornings are *hard* What has your organisation gained most from your attendance at Lotusphere? We of course get our business presence topped up - important for an ISV. We also get to see everyone else's stuff - what's hot and what's not. This is the only place and time each year you can get a complete overview of the Lotus Notes business in one room. Okay, its a very very large room, but it's an overview. Some fantastic stuff down there. We also get to ask folks about the latest announcements. Lotus always has and always will announce a lot of product and capability at Lotusphere. Its what we want them to do, and its what they will always deliver. But from an ISV point of view, what do we invest in from our limited budget. What's hot and what will be dropped? And you get that level of knowledge by collaborating, talking, drinking with a wide range of people and forming an opinion based on that. And where else will you get the vast majority of Lotus Notes guys ? And we've gained a tremendous amount of knowledge of bar bills, restaurant bills, taxi bills, as we've entertained our customers around the various eating and drinking holes on campus. How about you personally? Personally, till 2003 or so I didn't speak on stage, and wouldn't have considered it. During the '90s I worked for a consultancy firm in the UK called Mica - ironically it was swallowed up and lost the *first* time IT factory imploded. We were there for a very specific reason - to learn the newest technology, who it should be used, what was hot - and then impart that back to our customers. And we did that very well. After I left Mica, I sat in an extremely technical session, cringing each time the presenter stumbled. and thought "I can do better than this". Please bear in mind that usually the folks on stage are subject matter experts on what they talk about - very very bright people. They just can't communicate well to a room full of bored, hung over, tired geeks. And so I put myself forward to Bob Balaban and Rocky Oliver - whom I owe a great debt to - and they got me on stage to talk about Object Orientated Programming in Lotusscript. Something that would be exceptionally dry and difficult to follow, but I think I kept everyone awake. And so the 'Wild Bill' Speaker personae was born. What are you particularly looking forward to seeing or hearing at Lotusphere2009? This is tricky. I work closely with Lotus (along with a large group of business partners) providing feedback on new stuff. To a certain extent, I've opened my Christmas Presents early - and have some insight into what's hot within 8.5 and 8.5.1. Basically, 8.5 is the hottest new release I've ever seen. See *all* of it. It'll blow your socks off. If your'e a developer, check out the new editors in 8.5.1. And remember to shout 'RON!' when Ron gets on stage to demo it during OGS. I'll be keeping half an ear on that stuff, and keeping attention on Foundations - finally Lotus attempt SMB - and keeping an eye on the AD integration. On sites where Domino and AD coexist, its important that Domino is a good citizen in the AD world, to break down the barriers with the Softies. This technology will be *hot*. And we have a new Lotus CEO, with a very different agenda and style from Mr Rhodin. I want to look him in the eye and see how he ticks - We've not heard much from him so far. Ed Brill has been promoted to a mysterious new position and I'd like to see how much we can beat Ed up these days.... What would be your top tip to someone coming to Lotusphere for the first time this year? Its not a holiday. Its a six days, 18-20 hours a day, lots of walking, listening intensive training boot camp. Think you'll see much of the Mouse ? Think again. Come with a list of questions to get answered, and come with a list of topics you want to deep-dive into. Bring two pars of shoes (or socks) per day, and keep grabbing water and coffee. You dehydrate quickly in those huge Floridian ballrooms. Every time you stand in a queue - say Hi. Every time you sit at a table. Say hi. Everyone else is *just* like you. And remember to have fun. If you find yourself sitting in your hotel room afterwards watching TV, you've failed. (Not least because American TV is crap) So get out there, talk to people. Learn. Waken up in the morning, fully dressed, smashing the alarm against the wall because you've only had four hours sleep, wondering how your going to do it all again.And of course, Bill being Bill, we couldn't restrain him to just the standard questions, so over the fold we have some bonus opinions from Bill on subjects such as where best to party:

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