Friday, July 1, 2011

The Dukes of Lotus

THE DOMINOPOWER INTERVIEW

By David Gewirtz

In this latest installment of our venerable series, The DominoPower Interview, I had the opportunity to interview Simplified Technology Solution's Darren Duke.

FIGURE A

We have absolutely no self control.

I also had the opportunity to meet Lisa Duke, discovered that STS was located in Georgia, and completely lost the ability to demonstrate any discretion. As a result, our interview began, well, you'll see. Kudos to Lisa and Darren for their patience, sense of humor, and ability to bring us (okay, fine, me) back to actual, meaty material.

David:

To start, I have one question that I'm sure you've heard before, but so help me, I can't resist. Please tell me you have a family member named Daisy? Bo? Luke? Named the family dog General Lee? Throw me a bone here, please.

Lisa:

Darren says before he came to Georgia he thought "The Dukes of Hazzard" was fiction, but now he believes it was the first ever reality show. I like the idea of getting a pair of dogs and naming them Bo and Luke, though. 🙂

David:

Darren, please introduce yourself and tell us your background.

Darren:

I am the technical lead for Simplified Technology Solutions, Inc (STS), a consulting company focusing on IBM Lotus, System X hardware, and social business. I graduated from the University of Teesside in England with a degree in Software Engineering. I've been in the US since 1996. I guess I've emigrated.

David:

How did you get involved with Lotus software?

Darren:

By accident. I was doing a software engineering degree in England, and we had a "year out" (internship in American). The company I ended up at was just rolling out a Lotus Notes application company-wide as a project tracking tool. That was in the heady days of 3.3 (no looping!).

David:

What personal values do you bring to your consulting practice?

Darren:

Integrity. Everyone says that, but I actually practice it. Makes the sales reps nuts.

David:

What is the most memorable or funny experience you've had as a Lotus consultant?

Darren:

Searching for a hotel near a client site in Missouri returned "Mamma's Staggering Inn" as a result. I decided to stay at another hotel, whose main selling feature was "recently refurbished ironing boards".

David:

What first inspired you to start blogging?

Darren:

I got tired of answering the same little questions over and over. This gives the sales reps the opportunity to just send a client a link to the answer, leaving me free for the more interesting stuff.

David:

How did the podcast get started?

Darren:

It's probably like a marriage. I'm sure if you asked Stuart he'd have a different story. I think it started when Jeff Jarvis on This Week in Technology (the aptly named TWiT) was giving Howard Stern a hard time about using Notes and Quickr. Stuart thought there should be a weekly voice for Lotus, and asked me to co-host. I'm pretty sure I was chosen after Stuart saw me singing karaoke while stone-cold sober at Kimono's at Lotusphere. I think he thought, man, if he'll do that sober, imagine what he'll do on a podcast!