« Good news for IBM | Main| I plan to boycott the Olympics in my own little way »

How I came to Notes...


It seems the Lotus blogging community is sharing stories about how they came into Notes, to save time I'll just copy from my post of September 1st 2003  cue scooby doo fade...

My first time...
Someone recently asked me when was my first time...with Lotus Notes. So I thought I would share my story with you. My first time with Lotus Notes was April 1st 1991, and the story goes something like this...cue swirly screen transition to a younger version of myself... I had been working at IBM development labs in Hursley for approximately 1 1/2 years in the internal IT department supporting such exciting products as PROFS, BookMaster, 3270, 3194, Communications Manager on OS/2, and writing some OS/2 and REXX applications for Mainframes and PCs.

In this group, we got to play with the next big thing that was going to come out of IBM, yes you've got it "OfficeVision", this was going to fit into the holy grail of SAA and CUA (anybody know what happened to that whole SAA strategy?), anyway, I worked with some great people such as Don West, Sue Fundry and Phil Blake, but I was hating it, yes OfficeVision compared to PROFS was really exciting, it had bold and italic and could even do coloured text!! but the culture just wasn't suiting me, as far as I could tell people that were bad at their jobs would be promoted to positions where they would never have to interact with other people, and good people were kept down, as their managers were scared to lose them. So I started looking for another job. Now when I was looking for a job it turned out that recruiters were fascinated by IBMers, even ones that had only worked there 2 1/2 years and were 21; reason being that no one ever left IBM (this all changed 6 months later when IBM set the new world record for company losses, and there were a few thousand IBMers looking for jobs).

So after interviewing at a couple of places (Lotus and Microsoft), I decided to go work for Lotus, I would like to say that my reason for choosing Lotus over Microsoft was based upon some ethical reason, Lotus being bigger than Microsoft or down to a more interesting product line, but that would be a lie, it came down to two things, money and women (doesn't it always?). Lotus were offering to double my IBM salary and well Lotus had hotter women. It was an interesting job interview I can tell you, sitting there in an office with women constantly walking by outside, but it gave me a good feeling and it sealed my choice. The average age at Lotus felt like it was a 1/3 of IBMs, so that also had a huge impact on me.

So Lotus offered me a job as a Freelance Graphics and OS/2 customer support specialist, which I promptly took them up on, and left IBM on March 29th 1991. I should point out that back then, leaving IBM was not an easy choice, as people "didn't do that", from the day of arriving it was pretty much brain washed into me that people don't leave IBM, people love IBM, people stay here till they retire etc. etc. So it was no surprise when I went in to my manager, who had been a manager for 28 years, and resigned to have him say, "oh, I've never had this happen before, I'll have to find out what to do"

On April 1st I started my new life at Lotus, doing telephone support, this is when I was given an overview of some of the Lotus products , and given the 1-2-3 manuals, what the hell do I need these for I wondered, which is when I found out that everyone at Lotus supported 1-2-3 as well as their products of specialization, no one told me that during the interview! (For the first 9months of that job, I could tell you everything that was wrong with 1-2-3 and how to solve it, but I had no idea what the hell people were using it for).

In the afternoon I was introduced to the Lotus Groupware system "Lotus Notes V1", what the hell is groupware I thought, but it looked interesting I thought, a bright pink OS/2 GUI based PROFS, then someone showed me the mail, wo wo wo there horsey, go back a second, was that bold and italic text? was it underlined? wait wait wait, was that a different colour? Holy cow this is OfficeVision I cried out! Then the guy showing me casually goes, oh and let me show you some of our discussion databases...What what what, you have discussion databases like IBM forums? Sure he goes, and then shows me the discussion databases, I sit there in total shock blown away, when all of a sudden he pulls up a discussion topic, and the document not only contains formatted text, but wait, it contains a picture! and wait wait wait, it contains a file attachment!!!

Here it is the promised land, a document containing all the richness that IBM talks about coming with OfficeVision in the next few years, and it's here today, and Lotus lives by this thing, wow! Fortunately I missed having to use Lotus Express Mail by a few weeks, and I only had to use Notes V1 for two weeks before we were moved to Version 2, but I was hooked. I was knocking out Dbs left and right in no time, and this thing compared to programming in C was so so simple (thanks to Cali Clarke for being a great teacher on that Notes training way back when).

When version 3.0 came out with buttons on forms it just seemed such a jump forward, amazing how the small things used to impress us so much...and ever since then, excluding vacations, I think I have used Lotus Notes everyday, and to be honest I can't imagine life without it, and I'm not sure I want to.


Gravatar Image1 - So many Ex-Loti outthere I am surprised no one resurrected Lotus. Microsoft has the market to itself. Don't tell me Google tried and failed. Google engineers don't have the knowledge base that Ex-Loti have.

Post A Comment