As you read this, I’m on the road. Why the tears? I’m a little verklempt because this show will be my last Lotusphere, my last IBM show as an IBM employee. After 15 years and more conferences that I can count, I’m retiring from IBM by the end of 2015. IBM knows this, we just haven’t set a date yet.
Funny thing, though – I am an American baby-boom generation person, so I’ll never be able to actually retire unless I win the lottery, but I will be leaving IBM. On my own terms, and we’re both happy about it.
For 15 years, I’ve met you and many other IBM customers and partners while representing IBM. I was a road warrior as part of two different flying fix-it teams and I spoke at a lot of conferences. If I met you at a non-IBM conference, it was because the conference sponsors or I paid for me to get there. I’ve never been an “official” IBM conference speaker, except at this January show, so this is truly the end of an era for me.
For all of you who know me – you have an assignment – you must find me and hug me in Orlando. I promise to cry all over you, but you better say hello – and goodbye.
And if you’re thinking that this is the last Lotusphere. It is not. I have most of the staff shirts since 2002, and I know that the last Lotusphere was in 2011 – the black polo-style staff shirts said Lotusphere and IBM – with no other Conference names anywhere on them. That was the last one in my opinion. I also have one of these shirts still in the original packaging. Maybe I should auction it off to help with my pension fund.
So, with the car headed south from North Carolina – with a couple of stuffed monkeys and a friend, I’m headed to Florida to speak, to work and to play with friends. I’m hoping to see a lot of you.