The Product Showcase portion of Lotusphere 2009 was really great this year. We were fortunate to have MayFlower staff, business partners worldwide and three customers help out at the booth.
Lotusphere 2009 Product Showcase opened on Monday, January 19th on Martin Luther King's birthday observation. This year Lotusphere had another notable event - the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States - Barak Obama - on Tuesday, January 20th. The showcase paused while we all scrambled to pull up CNN or MSNBC on line to watch the swearing in at noon. I found attendees and exhibitors optimistic for the year ahead and grateful to be at Lotusphere 2009 and leaving 2008 behind.
The Lotusphere experience is a bit like the movie "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray. If it's Sunday we are at the MayFlower Welcome reception at the Crescent Terrace then over to the Lotusphere Welcome party at the Dolphin Beach. If it's Monday we are setting up the Showcase floor in anticipation of the days ahead, on Tueday it's our technical presentation at the bright and early hour of 7am! We tend to see the same exhibitors and customers which is like a reunion. We recognize faces sometimes wondering if we know each other or it's just simple recognition from year to year.
This year was exciting for MayFlower and SpamSentinel. Our motto was Rethink, Reject, Eliminate. These words we use to describe the way we manage the removal of spam. Our latest version 7.6 is highly accurate and forces us to "rethink" the need for the daily report. The daily report is a safety blanket of sorts where users can verify quarantined mail for accuracy. It is not easily given up, however most agree the need to verify spam is a waste of time. Our latest version will deliver a very small amount of "undecided mail " to the users Junk Mail folder in real time thus eliminating the wait for the daily report and limits what requires verification. Secondly we are now offering "Hosted SpamSentinel". This option was quiet interesting to our existing customers and new prospects.
We are very fortunate to have a core group of IBM Business Partners worldwide who promote SpamSentinel. This year partners that joined us at the Showcase to promote SpamSentinel were: Mats Jansson of Donova in Sweden. This is Mats 3rd year assisting us on the Floor. This year his family joined him to take in the fun of Walt Disney World. Frederic Rousseaux of Info2000 in Chile joined us for his 3rd year as well. Frederic is a master at details and is very good at taking notes on the old fashioned Palm badge scanner we use to register leads. Frederic brings us wine from Chile - the office is always happy for that ( that is if the bottles make it back to Boston)! John Schmidt of BusinessCom in Denmark joined us for the first time. John proved to be very clever in enticing prospects to the booth and is filled with ideas for next year. he threatened to start walking on his hands to bring customers to the booth - maybe next year John! David Provencher of Nashen & Nashen in Canada joined us as well. This was David's first year at Lotusphere. It was great to have him provide a reference to new Business Partners who are interested in promoting SpamSentinel.
Prospects very much enjoyed the ability to talk to a live reference at our booth as we were so grateful that 3 of our SpamSentinel customers agreed to join us at the showcase to promote and offer references for SpamSentinel! Rich Truex of Rawlings Sporting Goods was the first on board. This is Rich's 3rd year joining MayFlower at our booths 529 & 530. He is a great reference and 'idea man' at our booth. This year we invited Bob Warth of Milliken and Company and Dave Bailey of Imerys. Dave and Bob are both experienced Lotusphere attendees. It was great to have either of these 3 customers step into a conversation with a prospect and say " hi I'm a customer let me tell you my experience".
The Lotusphere showcase overall this year was different, as mentioned there were some factors: the inauguration or the economy. The attendance seemed low, the traffic on the Showcase floor was a ghost town on Tuesday due to the Presidential Inauguration, However, we did meet with many decision makers and our hope is that although the number of leads was greatly diminished the quality was not. We had the pleasure to meet the with new GM Bob Picciano. He casually stopped by our booth. I, of course, did not recognize him as I did not attend the opening session. Insert foot in mouth as I mentioned our solution was a "native Lotus Notes and Domino anti-spam solution" that IBM did not offer. Oops, maybe this was not the right opening. He was gracious and we talked about the showcase, lack of traffic on Tuesday and the Casino night that was offered at the same time as the Showcase party on Monday night from 6 - 8. This typically is a busy time on the showcase floor. Many of us exhibitors were surprised to hear IBM offered an event at the same time - this definitely took away our traffic. Maybe next year there can be some way to combine these events. Long story short Mr. Picciano was welcoming and interested in our feedback. We promptly provided him with some "Notes Floats my Boat" coozies for his wife, a 15 year Lotus Notes veteran!
Dave Bailey, John Schmidt, Mats Jansson, Nick McCann, Allison Cote, Frank Paolino, David Provencher