Sunday, August 23, 2015

MWLUG 2015 Summary and Beyond

As we wind down MWLUG 2015, I want to express a few thoughts.

My goal each year has been to create a unique and fun event that provides the best of the best in educating and collecting our community regarding our incredible technologies that we have built our careers around. Each year we try something different making the experience a memorable one. This year we had it in the Ritz-Carlton with the Thursday evening event at the Shakespeare Tavern Theater. Unfortunately, I went to the washroom when the best entertainment was on stage. Damn anybody have pictures.

Time to time again you will never see many of the MWLUG sessions at IBM Connect/Lotusphere/IBM Connect ED. The more out of the box from what IBM is telling you the better.  I don't care if you are new to speaking.  If you can communicate and have a topic that would be interesting to the community, then you will be selected. We all have to start from somewhere. Truly great speakers practice and learn from their experience.

Louis Richardson who spoke during the Thursday Keynote contacted me right after his session to see if he can see the video of himself so that he can improve on it.

For myself, I am not a good speaker because I do not practice enough and ad lip too much. But over the years I have improved. Starting from my first presentation in front of management where my knees where shaking so much that I almost fell down to speaking in front of all of you.

This has been the most successful MWLUG conference we have ever had.  This truly is the result of great support by the community. I want to give a special thanks to Lisa and Darren Duke for making this happen.  It takes a lot of work and risk to create such a conference. Each year I have to personally guarantee the hotel. So the support of others in the community is extremely important. Ray Bilyk and I worked on the secret surprise for close to a year and it turned out great.  Ray had to try a couple of times to get it right the way he wanted.

When Gregg Eldred and I conceived MWLUG in 2008, our goal was to create a local Midwest conference to help connect Midwest members of the ICS community together, learn, network, and have fun. Over the years I have connected to other community members that I would not have ever met many who have become good friends.

Over the years, participation in MWLUG has been growing outside of the Midwest region. So when we were looking at MWLUG 2015, we evaluated each city based on the voting and the possible participation and local support. The success of the conference relies on significant support by the local community members along with all the sponsors, speakers, and volunteers.

Many have commented on how come Atlanta was chosen this year for MWLUG.  It is technically not part of the Midwest region of the United States. Of all the cities we looked at not only did Atlanta receive the most votes, but the local support was truly solid.

The success of MWLUG 2015 I would say without a doubt was the result of receiving help from Lisa and Darren Duke. Without them, I would have not consider organizing MWLUG 2015.

So as I evaluated whether we should have MWLUG for 2016, local support was my number one priority.  My participation for MWLUG in 2016 needed to be reduced since I need to spend more time on other things. I provided feelers out there based on five cities and Austin was just a thought and was not even a significant consideration. However, as I talked to individuals from Texas, they were not only enthusiastic but they were willing to step up to the plate to give me the support. The same enthusiasm that Lisa and Darren Duke provided for MWLUG 2015.

So as we wind down this years event. We decided that MWLUG 2016 will be in Austin, TX. So if we continue MWLUG into 2017 and you want your city to be the host city, then start telling us why we should have MWLUG in your city and what you are willing to do to help.

I already have in my mind a few surprises that we have never done before. So stay tune.

Highlights of MWLUG 2015

  • Meeting everyone in the community, that is what it is all about
  • Fitting 54 sessions in less than 3 days
  • William Malichsky in a bow tie
  • Surprise on Devin Olson's face when we pulled out the secret gifts of MWLUG 2015, MWLUG Beer
  • The mystery flasher at the Shakespeare Tavern Theater
  • The mystery flasher at the CGS
  • Presentation by Professor Katherine Rhodes Fields and learning why uppercase and lowercase are called that way
  • Tony Holder and Ulrich Krause stepping up to help us to get non-urine beer
  • IBM getting us the additional funds that we needed to add additional attendees after we had no more funds
  • Ritz-Carlton have amazing bathrooms in the Ballroom
  • Meehan's where majority of us hung out in the evenings
  • Louis Richardson's presentation
  • And finally the most important thing being with my family. Without them it would be hard to get this off the ground.

See everyone in MWLUG 2016 in Austin Texas

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Business Partner Development Session at MWLUG 2015

If you are IBM business partner coming to MWLUG 2015, we are please to announce the BP session for Wednesday, August 19, 2015.  The session will start at 12:30 PM in the Congress room.  Our friend and community member William Malchisky will help start off this session.

Below is the abstract for this presentation.

The Business Partner Development session is provided in two cohesive parts allowing for significant feedback and learning. First, join Bill Malchisky and Prabu Ayyagari as they engage the audience in solution-based dialogue around hot topics within Voice of the Partner and provide your feedback directly to IBM. Be certain you will be provided the last information on that project.

Second, Larry McCants and Ernie Sutter from IBM's Social Business and Digital Experience Channels have plenty of product updates and demonstrations of IBM's Social Business product portfolio including IBM Social Messaging & Collaboration solutions, IBM Connections, and IBM Connections Cloud--IBM Verse inclusive. There will also be an update on the IBM Business Partner program plus an open discussion and Q & A session on how existing IBM Business Partners can make more money selling IBM Social Collaboration and Digital Experience solutions and services.

If you are a business partner, this is a key session during your time in Atlanta.

Note: To ensure that your voice is heard, we reserved the Georgia Room for one-on-one meetings with Prabu on Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday. Please make sure you book some time with him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Two Weeks to the Start of MWLUG 2015, See What You Are in For

It is two weeks away from the official start of MWLUG 2015, after the early bird sessions on Wednesday and a bit of fun, drinks, and food during the Wednesday Evening Exhibitor Showcase Reception, the seventh annual MWLUG 2015 conference will officially open on early Thursday morning. This year it starts a bit earlier. We have lined up an incredible list of speakers for you.  So join us in Atlanta for MWLUG 2015.  We still have a few slot left as I post this blog.  So don't wait, because there will not be any attendee slots left.

"Everything Starts From A Dot": The Elements and Principles of Design as the Visual Link to Innovation
Katherine Rhodes Fields, Professor of Fine Arts and Head of Printmaking - HCC Central

Historically, design, as a practice, is the connection point between the object and the user.  This lecture will focus on the foundations of design and how it has and continues to impact our world. The famous quote of Russian born artist and Bauhaus professor Wassily Kandinsky succinctly evokes the notion that all things begin from one point ( a basic element of design) and extend from there to manifest some of the greatest ideas of all time.

Establishing a New Culture of Design
Phil Gilbert, General Manager of IBM Design - IBM

In 2012, IBM reactivated its Design Program to spread human-centered design practices across the breadth of our portfolio. Hiring hundreds of formally trained Designers was only the start; now we are establishing IBM Design Thinking practices across the company—for our own product design and for our clients. First established in 1956, the reactivated IBM Design program is impacting every division and clients around the world.

IBM ESS Strategy, and Radar “A New Way to Work”
Kramer Reeves, Director, Offering Management Portfolio IBM Enterprise Social Solutions

With the announcement of IBM Verse, IBM has a wide selection of social software both on premise, in the cloud or in a hybrid configuration. In addition to IBM Verse, IBM delivers a complete portfolio of capabilities needed to help you become a social business, including IBM Notes Domino for messaging, calendaring and application development, IBM Connections for enterprise social networking, along with IBM Connections Chat, Meetings and more. This OGS will take you through the portfolio and highlight what IBM has in store to help you accelerate your social business journey. There will be plenty of interaction and a peek at our future plans, including how we see cognitive analytics fitting into our entire social platform.

The Greater Good of Social Collaboration
Louis Richardson, IBM Storyteller & Enthusiast - IBM

The Story Teller, Louis Richardson from IBM will be presenting the MWLUG 2015 Thursday Keynote Session during Thursday lunch.
Louis will be presenting "The Greater Good of Social Collaboration." This unique session brings to light the power of social collaboration.  So come to this Thursday session and have a great lunch, listen, and learn.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Announcing the MWLUG 2015 Thursday Social Event

We are please to announce that the MWLUG 2015 Thursday Evening Social Event is:

The comedy, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" in 2 hours at the The New American Shakespeare Tavern.  Dinner will be provided along with this comedy.  

The bus will leave immediately from the hotel after the last Thursday session.  The bus will make a number of trips to bring everyone to and back from the Ritz-Carlton.  Please note though it is not far from the hotel, but it has been advised that you take the bus to the theater and not walk.

So if you are coming to MWLUG 2015, come join us and learn and have a bit of fun.  Registration is still open go to:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

MWLUG 2015 Session Schedule Now Online

It took me most of the night until 2:00 AM, but the MWLUG 2015 Session Schedule is now online.

With 53 sessions MWLUG 2015 will be biggest MWLUG ever.  So get registered and we will see you in Atlanta.

With 53 sessions and a registration fee of $50 USD, that is less than $1 a session.  How we can do this?  Great volunteers and great sponsors from our community plus incredible speakers who devote their own time and resources to educate and help our community.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MWLUG 2015 - Wednesday Social Event

If you are coming to MWLUG 2015 and would like to join us for the Wednesday Social Event, we will be going to the Coca-Cola Museum which is 4 blocks away from the Ritz-Carlton hotel.  We will be meeting at the hotel lobby at 9:15 and walking over.  The cost of the event is $16 for 13 yrs old to adults and $12 for 3 yrs to 12 yrs.  The museum openings at 10:00 AM.  We will be officially returning at 12:00 PM.

For more information:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Announcing the MWLUG 2015 Community Outreach Recipient

Louis Richardson will be presenting on Thursday, August 20, 2015 the MWLUG Keynote presentation "The Greater Good of Social Collaboration." This unique session brings to light the power of social collaboration in helping yourself and others. As members of the IT community, we are also an important part of our local community. Through the MWLUG 2015 Community Outreach Program, we are raising money for organizations that help the local community. Each year we identify an organization in which our contribution would have the greatest impact on the local community of the host city.

Over the years we have raised funds for a number of local food banks and the Salvation Army.  I am please to announce the MWLUG 2015 Community Outreach Recipient is the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Thanks to the generosity of the Ritz-Carlton, we will be raffling off a weekend stay at the Ritz-Carlton Downtown Atlanta as the grand prize. Please take the opportunity to help the local community. Each raffle ticket is $10 and you can buy them at the registration desk starting Thursday morning. We will announce the winners during the lunch on Friday.

Atlanta Community Food Bank

The Atlanta Community Food Bank is one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast. We support a network of 600 partner nonprofits - community and faith-based organizations - across 29 counties in greater Atlanta and north Georgia. Together, we connect over 750,000 people each year with more than 60 million pounds of food – or more than 50 million meals. But our work isn’t just about food – it’s about community change. We engage, educate and empower the community to fight hunger. The transformational change we catalyze in the community leads to transformational change in the lives of our clients. In addition to food distribution, we also provide several programs throughout the community: Community Gardens supports neighborhood gardens around the city; Kids In Need provides free school supplies to low-income schools and students; Benefits Outreach assists people with public benefit eligibility; Hunger 101 educates the community about hunger and poverty; and our volunteer program provides the community opportunities to participate in local service events and onsite food sorting in our Product Rescue Center.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Louis Richardson, aka Story Teller Presents the MWLUG 2015 Thursday Keynote Session

MWLUG 2015 is becoming the best conference that we have ever organized.  We are happy to announce that the Story Teller, Louis Richardson from IBM will be presenting the MWLUG 2015 Thursday Keynote Session. The keynote session will happen during the Thursday lunch, August 20th, 2015. So don't skip lunch on Thursday or you will feel sorry that you did.

Louis will be presenting "The Greater Good of Social Collaboration." This unique session brings to light the power of social collaboration.  So come to this Thursday session and have a great lunch, listen, and learn.

Louis Richardson

Louis serves as an IBM Storyteller & Enthusiast around the topics of Social Smarter Work. In this role, he has the privilege to meet with leaders around the world who are interested developing a social business culture within their organizations. These conversations provide Louis with a broad exposure to the practical and business relevant impact that social software is having on today’s businesses. And while the topic of social smarter work can be complex, Louis uses his conversational and story-telling style to relate to non-technical audiences. He is often called on to share his stories and insights at conferences, workshops and through his social network.