Lotusphere stops for Obama

Published: January 21st, 2009

By Jeff Jedras

My colleague Shane Schick blogged yesterday about how the inauguration yesterday of U.S. president Barrack Obama drove productivity in many workplaces to a halt, and pondered the impact workers across the organization watching streaming video of the inauguration might have on network performance.

While network performance wasn’t an issue at IBM’s Lotusphere conference in Orlando yesterday, the conference did come to a halt at noon for Obama’s inaugural speech.

In the lobby of the conference area at the Dolphin Hotel where Lotusphere is being held, a few hundred people huddled shoulder-to-shoulder around a large plasma display that would normally be showing Lotus product information, but was today tuned to CNN’s inauguration coverage. And many more were probably up in their rooms watching the coverage too.

It was fascinating to see the crowd grow exponentially minute-by-minute as more and more people stopped to join the crowd watching the inaugural address, putting aside education sessions and networking meetings, and delaying lunch, to stop and witness a moment in history. IT workers, business partners and IBM employees from across the U.S. and around the world joining in spontaneous applause throughput the speech.

A momentary drop in productivity perhaps, but an interesting moment to be a part of.

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