Posted by: Brian | June 7, 2010

IBM Innovate 2010: Did you notice?

The Rational Tester has attended and been involved in the last 15 SQA / Rational / IBM User Conferences. Yes 15…don’t make me list them out! Much has changed over those years. Obviously the company names have changed a couple times, we’ve even in the past changed locations (and hopefully will in the future), and this year we’ve changed the name…but this year, there are few telling small changes that caught my attention.

1. The staff shirts. After 5 or 6 years of the same shirts, staff this year got some new duds. Amen! The lucky ones got the black shirts, the unlucky stayed teal blue. (The difference, btw, is blue for staff, black for expo hall demo’ers). Anyways – if you look closely, you’ll see this is the first conference shirt that doesn’t have the words “Rational” on them. This subtle omission reflects the change winds at IBM where focus is shifting away from “the brands” (Rational, Websphere, Lotus, Info Mgmt, Tiovli) and on to the mother ship, IBM.

2. Scott Hebner didn’t wear one during his keynote. Every year until now, the host of the keynote, the VP of marketing, has always worn the staff shirt. Scott Hebner, and before him Roger Oberg, Tom Bogan and Eric Shurr all wore team colors. This morning Sir Scott walked out with a long sleeve button down. It’s a glimpse into the shift in the conference away from a geek show to a business show. Next year, I’m betting he wears the IBM manager uniform of shirt and jacket.

3. The GM keynote didn’t disappoint. It has been a tradition at the conference that the GM presentation has always been “uncomfortable”. Be it Dr. Dan or Paul Levy & Mike Devlin, before him, it never felt right. Like a shirt that just didn’t fit. There’s probably a million reasons why – the least of which being it’s a damn hard thing to do – but unlike previous years, this morning, Dr. Dan was on. Was it just a good day, or has Dr. Dan now fully taken the helm, and driving his vision? He spoke like he knew and cared what he was talking about….like he was in charge. Maybe he now fully is.

Whether these are insignificant small nuances, or a sign of changing times – I guess only time will tell…

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