I’m winding down the week of Lotusphere 2012 trying to fight off the usual post-conference plague/cold. The last few years I’ve been fortunate to add a few days to the end of the week to spend some time in Florida before heading home to the grey and cold winterscape of home. Winters in Virginia are nothing like what lots of Lotusphere attendees experience; we don’t usually have much snow. But we do have cold spells, occasional ice storms, and days of gray cloudiness. So the opportunity each January (over the last 14 years) to spend some time in the Florida sun has been most welcome.
As I was reading Tom Duff’s post last night. I realized that in many ways my own life situation is similar. Lotusphere attendance for me may be a thing of the past. But as many people have said, “never say never.” My life has taught me that over and over again!
But because of the uncertainty about the future it was a different sort of Lotusphere. I was excited to see some of the new shiny “toys” demoed in the OGS. And in past Lotuspheres I would have been have been immediately thinking of how I could implement that in our environment.
Instead I would have to say that they most important items I’m going home with are: inspiration, the importance of friendship and community, and the importance of your life’s journey. Those three themes seemed to repeat over and over whether it was in the solidarity of friends/colleagues who attended Gab Davis and Andrew Pollack’s Security session for #OccupyPelican or the truly inspiring talks in the Nerd Girl Spark Session. And finally after spending an day with a friend whom I hadn’t seen in in years, and after listening to her life story and how cancer affected her, I was overwhelmed by how the threads of the week all came together.
I shared Mitch Cohen’s Spark Session (Get Cancer Get Social) with her. And she pointed out that in some ways women with breast cancer today are fortunate not only because of the progress in curing the disease but because of the internet and the online communities and information sources – these were not available to her when she was diagnosed. It reminded me of Dr. Burns discussed in the OGS how he and his team were able to share their experiences with pediatric hospitals all over the world – through the internet. How wonderful that we as technologists might have a tiny part of being able to help save someone’s life as we push to make the collaboration software technology to run faster and better and in more creative ways.
So no matter what you took home from this year’s Lotusphere, I hope that you are as inspired as I am to connect with colleagues, to explore new technologies, to push ourselves to see how we might help others and most of all have fun in the process!
Best wishes for a sucessful year ahead!