The same procedure as every year …

Every year the same old story. On LotuSphere we are the greatest bunch of girls and guys who are the cornerstone of IBM’s success.
But the Lotus Foundations Disaster speaks another language for us BP’s.

Going social, social here, social there, social everywhere.
I didn’t get it today. I wonder if IBM does. The products are cool, but do my customers want it? I don’t think though. Way too complicated. And what the heck do I need social analytics for, if I am a 20 people company? If you want to use the Notes Next client, as they showed it today, you need a lot of additional tools. Where is the Out-Of-The-Box-Value?

Marketing is so important to IBM!
Ahem … sorry … what?

We could start a fun thread. IBM’s marketing is … (like, … the solution of the drug problem, if they are legalized and IBM is doing the marketing)

Impressed by LS 2011? Nope, not really

I just watched the Opening Session of LS 11 and since I am a real fan of Notes I expected something incredible. Unfortunately, they talked more about social analytics and other stuff I don’t really get, that I was a bit bored after a while. Notes Next may be a nice new client, but I doubt it. The screen wasn’t very good, though.
I just hoped for more. For the SMB market this is too heavy to digest. It is neither easy to set up nor easy to maintain and not enough out of the box stuff.

I am going to get the beta. That’s for sure. I hope the darn thing convinces me of a good future.

The real funny part was, when Sandy Carter talked about marketing.

Concrats to the winners. Good Job.

More Information from IBM on Lotus Foundations … yeah right.

This morning I found an announcement from Bob Jewell, Director of Business Development for Smart Business, about LF:

More Information from IBM on Lotus Foundations

I would like to make this community aware of announcements regarding Lotus Foundations made late last year. They were posted elsewhere but we apparently neglected to highlight them in this forum. Enzo Frati did add some information in this forum in November, so I refer you to his comments. I will try and clarify what we announced on October 26, 2010 and November 9, 2010.

The Lotus Foundations hardware appliance is no longer available for new orders. The Lotus Foundations software products will be removed from Passport Advantage and will not be available for new orders after February 8, 2011. We will continue to make Foundations software available for partners in North America with the Lotus Foundations VAR agreement in place. Of course we will continue to provide support for existing customers through the end-of-service date for their support contracts.

IBM received substantial feedback pointing out that the Foundations specialized hardware was attractive, but limiting and often not worth the premium price. Likewise, although the Foundations Linux operating system was attractive, the focus of small and mid-size organizations is on solutions, not core technologies. IBM has shifted focus to complete solutions that include the operating system and middleware capabilities of Foundations and run on a wide range of Intel based servers.

Our solutions will be branded Solutions for Smart Business. You can find out more about them at

More details on what I described above are available on the Foundations Portal ( or in the two IBM US Announcement Letters below:

– For Lotus Foundations Appliance (

– For Lotus Foundations software products (

Several members of the Smart Business team will be at Lotusphere. We will be happy to discuss this topic further with you there.

Now isn’t that funny. The hardware was too expensive. That’s the reason.

What happened? Nitix was less expensive, why? One reason was probably there was no specialised hardware. Go figure, the latest release of LF runs on a variety of Intel servers. They fixed that problem really quick. Wouldn’t be a factor anymore today … hmmmm.
Another factor was certainly that most companies would like to keep Outlook as their mail client. Killing DAMO was blow for LF but IBM could at least have kept ExchangIt. I thought it was a Nitix product anyway. But there are other possibilities like Zaraffa and OpenExchange out there. With a little bit of work, they could have run Domino and -Enter your preferred Non-MS-Mailserver here – on the same machine and make everybody happy … oh yes, sure, IBM strategy (Oh, did I tell you that we are working with Collax to do exactly that, sure I did. No? Now you know!)
If IBM would want to make it less expensive for the markets outside the US, they could have respected the real exchange rates. IBM still uses 1.6 Swiss Francs for 1 US Dollar. Right now the real exchange rate is about 0.95 Swiss Francs for 1 US Dollar. Would have made quite a difference in my market. But you know what, the people we talked to always thought it was a very good deal with all the bells and whistles it had.

LF will only be available for VARs in the US/CA after February 8th. For all those LF Partners who thought they could continue to buy LF licenses through the LF desk, this will come as a shock.

When I remember the time I spent to figure out how to integrate something on LF to become a VAR. The time I spent writing mails and talking to people to get the technical information I needed … and never got. The money I spent for a completely useless telephone marketing campaign organized by IBM and for catering at an IBM facility for presenting LF to IBM partners (we got the bill AFTER the event, quite a surprise). Sure we made mistakes, too. We thought, Notes/Domino isn’t that big of an obstacle, as long as you get a good value with other applications, but SMB don’t want a very sophisticated DMS or CRM system (and PAVONE has excellent products but they need a bit of training).

Something that really annoys me is that they just changed their mind so fast. At LotuSphere 2010 Ed Brill announced Traveller for LF. Will not happen. IBM could have at least given us and our customers the latest 8.5.x Domino/Notes releases and Traveller. Would have been a nice „We are sorry but we have to say goodbye“ gift. Would have been easier for me and others, but hey, I am just a lower life form for IBM (within IBM there is certainly a discussion going on, if partners are actually an intelligent form of life).
BTW, I tried to upgrade the Domino Server on my test box. No complete success yet. I was able to install Traveller on top of it, though, but it has been a while, since I had time to play with it.
Anyone else working on it?

Book Review … 22 Years later

Recently I was in Munich for some training with Collax. In the evening we walked through the city center and I found an old book shop. Since I am a book junkie („My name is Christian and I still don’t have an iPad“) I spend some time looking for second hand books and found the following: „Who’s afraid of BIG BLUE?“ by Regis McKenna. The author is still known as an IT marketing expert. The book was printed in 1989. It talks about IBMs role in the computer market and there are a few, no, a lot of things, I did not know and are quite interesting. For example: I didn’t know, that IBM used FUD very, I mean very heavily to keep the competition out. When I think how many times we complained about Microsofts FUD strategy against Notes, I can only come to the conclusion, they learned from the best, from IBM. But, FUD wears of. The longer you try it and it does not come true, the less people are going to believe you. IBM’s FUD strategy failed in the end and Microsoft’s will fail, too.

There were some things I asked myself, if they still stand true today.
„Entrepreneurial and independent thinking have always been discouraged among the blue-suited army of IBM managers.“
When I recall what I had to go through with most IBMers that I worked with during the Lotus Foundations era, I would say, they still hate to take decisions.
If there is not a process for it, they can’t do it.

Another interesting part was the story about the PC and PS/2. Apart from the logo there was nothing from IBM in the first IBM PC’s and many believed that the Micro Channel in the PS/2 was a marketing ploy. And I thought IBM invented the PC.

In chapter 3 McKenna talks about „Big Blues for Big Blue“* and mentions a few points, where IBM has problems.
Problem #1 – A Mind-Blogging Bureaucracy. YES, still valid today, Passport Advantage was invented by a sadistic bean counter and process manager and the lead management tool must be from another century. They certainly run it with a steam engine.
Problem #2 – Installed technology. Nope, that isn’t a problem.
Problem #3 – Incompatible Products. I don’t think that this is a problem today.
Problem #4 – The Arrogance of Success. Interesting. What do you think?
But what is certainly still true, they only fight for the Fortune 1000 accounts.

The book reads, as if it wasn’t written 22 years ago. McKenna mentions many things, I was convinced they came much later. I talked about electronic mail and a lot about networks and sharing information. Somehow I have the impression, we haven’t made a huge progress since then. Sure, the word „Internet“ wasn’t mentioned in the book, but something like that was looming on the horizon. We are still using Folders to organise data and we still use the mouse and a keyboard. I am a bit disappointed about our achievements in the last 22 years. Look at Notes. Ray Ozzy had such a wonderfull idea and everything we have today called social software has been here for two decades.

Can we have something revolutionary please!

*BTW did you know that IBM does not want you to use the term „Big Blue“? Their marketing departement found out that this is too close to „the Blues“, meaning depression.

What I want to see at LotusSphere 2011

I will not be there, but believe me, I will follow as closely as possible, what is going on.
But I have a wish list.

  • I want the Notes 9 Client as soon as possible in a public beta. It worked with Notes 8, why not with Notes 9.
  • I want Quickr for Domino Express or even better, bundled with Notes 9.
  • I want better iCal support for the Notes Client.
  • I want a marketing campaign for Notes that is visible
  • I want one more thing … something revolutionary with a WOW-effect.

… what do you want?

Notes on Mac … it‘s getting worse

I have been using Notes on the Mac for more than 18 month … and I begin to hate it.
I started with 8.5, got 8.5.1 and now I have 8.5.2 FP1 which is the worst.
I upgraded the memory, that helped a bit but not a lot.

When it starts up I get this absolutely useless window „Lotus Notes is starting“ and it comes all the way to the front. But I don‘t need to see this window, as long as the Notes icon in the dock jumps up and down… which isn‘t needed either. Most other applications just don‘t care.

Boy it‘s slow. Notes in Windows 7 in Fusion is a lot faster.

It has the annoying habit to refresh a view right when you switched to another application and it comes to the front again after a few seconds. Can you imagine when you are typing something in the google search and suddenly you look at Notes again. That just sucks.
FP1 made my CRM (Pavone Enterprise Office 9, the best I know) unusable. I had to get an lss file to  fix it. Imagine that problem with a normal user without a Designer?
My menu bars are full of buttons who appear at least twice. I can‘t get them fixed, because in the settings you don‘t see any button at all. It‘s just broken.
There is an issue with big views. You can‘t scroll them normally. It just stops somewhere. The only possibility left is scrolling slowly with the arrow key and then after a moment it stops completely and you have to close and reopen it.
If you want to have Notes up front again, you can‘t just can click at the icon as with any other application and it comes to the front. Not Notes. You have to use Exposé.

I really like Notes (I always like the underdog), but if it wasn‘t for Pavone, I would probably switch to another mail client. I really begin to understand users who get annoyed by little things that just don‘t work or are awkward. For years and years I never had these big problems other users report. Notes just worked but after 18 month of using Notes on a Mac I am just about loosing my patience … and my wife says I have a lot.

Update: Thanks Julian. Deleting the bookmark.nsf helped. Why I use the FP1? I hoped it would fix some of the things I don’t like. Silly me.

But I forgot another thing I don’t like. Often when I switch from Notes to another application like Firefox, the Mac menu bar – the one with the apple – keeps showing the Notes menu. I have to move the cursor over the Menu bar to make appear the Firefox menu.

I admit it. I don’t have a smart phone

I feel bad. Yes, I admit it. I don’t like mobile phones. I don’t send many SMS or MMS. Most of the little gadgets of the darn thing I never used. Unfortunately, I will soon have to get a new one, because after 5 years the battery is just tired. What now? Is it time to move to something smart? Do I want to read my emails on a screen not much bigger than a stamp? I think the iPhone is pretty cool, but too big. I does not fit in my hand. I wouldn’t know where to put it when I am away without my backpack. You won’t catch me with one of those belt pouches. Neither with a blue-tooth headset.

Next problem, I am greedy. I hate to buy things that are industrial waste as soon as you buy it.

I like and I can read maps. I don’t need, or rather I don’t want to use a GPS for navigation on the ground and I don’t want my car to talk to me (but you can give me a Garmin 1000 any day or an iPad with sectionals, weather and SID/STAR).

I must be mentally retarded. I just can’t get exited about mobile devices. I could get warm with an iPad, but that’s because of the books. But if I continue to buy my books at amazon I can buy a lot until the iPad makes sense. I like to have books lying around. I like to have manuals on paper (OK, here the iPad would make sense, since we don’t get any manuals on paper today) but I can not imagine to read a book on a smart phone. No way.

But I could announce to the world, that I am doing an experiment:

„Living and working without a mobile phone“

Why not. Have to think about it.