For the past 7 years or so I've worked with Lotus Notes and Domino. There is such a passionate community of Notes/Domino supporters, users, bloggers, and innovators. Why not, it's collaboration and what better suite of products are there to collaborate about then the best tools to do it with?
So every year like a cult following Lotusphere in Orlando re-energizes this community with great speakers, hands on labs, and forums to speak with the makers of some of the greatest software available. Having been to a handful of past Lotusphere conferences myself I can say from experience it's the best conference I've ever attended. I've made many contacts there, learned a lot and had a blast doing it.
There should be a Tivolisphere. Obviously the Tivoli product suite is a bit less visible than Notes and Domino, but the best thing about Lotusphere is the ability to network and meet people sharing the same experiences. Tivoli Identity Manager and Tivoli Access Manager are not the simplest of products to wrap your arms around. It would be so helpful if there was a place like Lotusphere were Tivoli professionals could experience the various ways the product is being used in the real world, and work with the developers to find solutions to problems. Maybe someday there will be third party ISVs developing solutions using Tivoli and then hopefully a new cult following will develop.
For now, I don't plan on giving up my interest in Notes and Domino. While my professional role has changed a bit in the last year, I still plan to keep my hands in the Lotus cookie jar from time to time. This year at Lotusphere 2007 I'm sorry to miss one of the biggest years in a long time. (I attended Lotusphere 2002 just months after 9/11 and it wasn't a great turnout and each year after it got better and better). Who could miss Bill Buchan's 40th birthday? Or the 13th annual Turtle Party (not really sure if it's 13, but I think Turtle's been there that many times)? Or Ed Brill's presentations? The showcase floor is sold out. That's never happened in any of the years I was there.
Well, maybe next year I'll be lucky enough to attend. This year I'll just be lurking all the blog sites, watching Lotusphere Live and just imagining what it's like to be there.