IBM Innovate 2013 is long gone. And so is IBM Innovate 2014

Some of my colleagues have been diligent and have already provided technical summaries of their IBM Innovate 2014 activities. I’m writing only a few days after the show has been packed up, and still think there’s plenty of time for that. This was the year I thought I’d make better use of social media. I had expected to be tweeting about the wonderful things I spied on the show floor, the cool stuff my colleagues were talking about and demonstrating, and maybe, just maybe, hype the sessions I took part in. It didn’t happen.

Innovate can be a whirlwind. We’re totally immersed on our topics, and we’ll enthusiastically chat with customers at every occasion. Ask me a performance question and you’ve got my undivided attention. There’s really little time for self-marketing. Well, for me there wasn’t, probably because I hadn’t made it a habit before. Yes, I could have preloaded TweetDeck (way before that XSS blip). I jokingly suspect most of my colleagues who were more active realtime had a few pre-written remarks ready to go. Maybe they were on their phones and iPads running into people. I mean, literally, running into people. Personally, it’s not a habit for me to switch gears so quickly, trying to be pithy for the semi-anonymous crowd, and then trying to be attentive to where I actually was.

I tried a few new strategies this year:

  •  I tried to listen better. Really, when someone was talking to me, I tried to pay better attention. Really I did.
  • I tried to take better care of my voice. This meant more tea + honey + lemon. The only problem is that I cut back on coffee which had a YAWN detrimental effect on my YAWN ability to stay awake as the YAWN day went on. At least I slept soundly on the flight home.

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For many of us IBM Innovate is a family reunion. The first week in June might be the only time all year to see colleagues and customers we work with throughout the year, winter and summer, rain or shine. There are those I only see at Innovate even though we talk nearly weekly. And there’s always someone with whom I have collaborated with for years, but will meet for the first time at Innovate.

IBM Innovate usually coincides with my birthday. My family thinks I spend the week eating cake and lounging poolside, but given the long hours in the halls, all I get is a fluorescent tan. My pedometer surprised me by revealing that I climbed zero stairs (changes in elevation were achieved via elevators and escalators) and hardly walked at all. But for next year, all this is set to change. After many seasons in Orlando, Florida, Innovate moves west to Las Vegas, Nevada, February 22 to 26, 2015.

See you next year?