I'm not there. It's so strange for me to not be at Lotusphere. The only person who is happy about this is my wife, especially given the 15 to 20 inch dumping of snow we're expecting to be ending right about the same time as all of Lotusphere is heading off to Harry Potter land.
It's actually not the first time that I've missed being at the OGS, though. I had an apparent bout of food poisoning on Sunday in 2006, and skipped the welcome party and watched the OGS from my room in order to conserve strength so I could start getting back into the swing of things in the afternoon. I have to say that this year's stream, supplemented by twitter coverage, was much better. There were just a few momentary audio drop-outs, The counter on the site showed over 1200 people watching the live stream at its peak, and I give IBM a lot of credit for getting the technology right. so that those of us who couldn't be there could share a bit of the experience.
Now I'm scanning the posts from various bloggers who have reported on the OGS. I haven't read them all yet, and there are probably many more coming, but what I've seen so far is confirming my first and strongest impression of the OGS: Nobody is reporting on Project Vulcan per se, and that is confirming my ipression that there seems to be a gap in continuity of message from last year. I don't think Vulcan was particularly well understood by a lot of people last year, at first. After taking in all of Lotusphere 2010 and letting it digest for a few days, I wrote "I see Vulcan as the logical continutation of what IBM was doing with activities," Ed Brill reacted positvely to my analysis, and he noted how the community had been going through a process of "iterative thinking" about it, trying to understand it.. I was hoping that IBM's message this year would have done a better job of explaining Vulcan, and pointing out how it is moving from vision to reality, but I didn't see that in the OGS.
Don't get me wrong. Vulcan was clearly there in the OGS, but having been to so many Lotuspheres, I tend to think of them building one upon another, like chapters in an unfolding story. It seems to me that in constructing the OGS for one year, continuity from the major themes of the previous year should be a major goal. That continuity should be explicit, and not some implicit clues left as a puzzle for the community to figure out. Explicitly following on last year's themes would certainly be in keeping with the "smooth sailing, full speed ahead" metaphor that I used in my post last year, which I think is pretty consistent with what IBM wants to convey to enterprise customers.
I know that there's only so much time in the OGS, and they went over by a good bit this year, but Vulcan really was the major future-oriented takeaway last year, and in light of that I think it just wasn't called out enough in the OGS this year. There was a lot of other stuff in the OGS this year that got a lot more time than Vulcan, and IMHO contributed a lot less to what the audience came for. Vulcan wasn't re-explained, or even summarized for those who weren't there last year. It wasn't clarified for those who didn't fully grasp its importance last year. And words like this were not heard: "Last year we introduced you to our vision of Project Vulcan. Here's what that vision has evolved into this year, here are the products and tools that you are seeing this year that are delivering on the Vulcan vision, and here's what we expect this all to be evolving toward when you come back in 2012 and 2013.".
I imagine that people who go to the right breakouts will get something like this, I hope it emerges clearly in the blogs, because Vulcan is there but, like I said, I'm not there.