Saturday, July 1, 2000

Something fishy at DevCon 2000

TRADE SHOW REPORT

By John Roling

The name's Roling. John Roling. I'm a special operative for DominoPower magazine. My mission: to infiltrate the Lotus DevCon 2000 developer's conference. It wouldn't be easy. I'd have to undergo days of knowledge absorption as well as risk permanent damage from carrying too many vendor giveaways. Was it worth it? Was I successful? See for yourself.

6:25 AM, Tuesday, June 20

It was early morning at the San Francisco Marriott. I thought I'd get a jump on the crowd and register promptly at 6:30. To my wonderment and surprise, I happened upon a line of people even geekier than myself. Blast these infernal peasants, pictured in Figure A, for beating me to registration.

FIGURE A

The true hardcore Lotus faithful register early! (click for larger image)

12:00 Noon, Tuesday, June 20

As midday approached, it was time for the first breakout sessions. Typically, first days at these events are filled with technical JumpStarts to familiarize attendees with the latest in technologies. I was able to gain access with my high-level security badge. I drank in knowledge from sessions ranging from JavaScript to Domino Workflow. As I stealthily took notes in these sessions, I heard rumors of a military camp being staged in the second level of the hotel. It seemed that many Lotus agents would be attending. I quietly filed this information away for later use.

6:00 PM, Tuesday, June 20

The rumors were true. Within the small encampment, hordes of hungry and thirsty conference attendees stormed the escalators and ravaged the buffet tables and makeshift bars. It was a strange sight to see in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, pictured in Figure B.

FIGURE B

The Welcome Reception: Alan Alda would be proud. (click for larger image)

I'm not sure why Lotus chose this olive drab. I can only imagine that it was to hide the secrets of its powerful software from competitors. Or they could have been comparing their attendees to surgeons, able to stitch together secure collaborative applications with skillful precision. Either way, the mission was a success. I retired for the evening, ready to attack the next day of the conference.

8:00 AM, Wednesday, June 21

This day started as any other, but soon I found a crowd milling about a large conference room. As I entered, loud music and laser lighting told me that the camouflage of the previous evening had been cast aside. Whatever was about to be said would be said with aplomb. The lights darkened and the fearless leader of Lotus, Al Zollar, took the stage. See him, off in the distance, in Figure C.

FIGURE C

Al Zollar delivers his opening keynote address. (click for larger image)

He started his speech by uttering the immortal phrase, "Wassssup?" This got a huge reaction from the crowd, who obviously enjoy their beer commercials. The levity aside, Al spoke of the world of e-business and collaboration. "Collaboration provides the competitive edge for most successful e-businesses," said Zollar. "I submit to you that fostering the right conversations with the right people at the right time is now, more than ever, a critical success factor. Improving digital-human interaction is what we, together with you, do best."