Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When my dad first showed me Lotus Notes

My dad and i always seem to enjoy many of the same things. We like to play golf, go fishing, and play with any kind of gadget we can find. We were sitting around talking last week about all kinds of technology related stuff and i remembered when i first saw Lotus Notes.

I was pretty young at the time, maybe middle school, so think late 80's early 90's. My dad was a manger for Texaco, and he had a laptop that he brought home from work. We were both very interested in computers, i remember our family having a TI, an x86, 286, 486 etc. So when he got new stuff at work he would show me what they used, and how it helped them to do whatever they were trying to accomplish. So one day he showed me this software called Lotus Notes. It had a tabbed interface and workspace, probably version 2 or 3, though he tells me he remembers version 1. It had the icons scattered across the workspace, and he would open one up and tell what they used it for tracking and how it helped them communicate about this or that, little did i know i would be using the SAME icons many years later, please update them! He seemed genuinely excited about the possibilities the software had. He could open it up at home and replicate it at work the next day. Strange, i had seen my future and did not even know it!

Fast forward many years later, i graduated form college and got my first job with an IBM business partner which started my career with Lotus Notes and similar products. So i guess that makes me a second generation Lotus Notes user, i wonder how many others out there have similar experiences.

At that time my Dad was managing Knowledge management at Texaco, and talked about team rooms and people working together across great distances, so i showed him this brand new product called QuickPlace. Texaco started using it shortly after, so whoever got the sale from that purchase - your welcome!

Now i have been administrating and developing with Notes for about 10 years, and my son who is three and a half will see this software in the near future, with me saying look at this - see how useful it is. This saves or company x many hours per week. He will be the 3rd generation to see it, and one day may use it in his work.... who knows what will happen in 20 years.


Carl Tyler said...

You make me feel very old. Workspace was in 1.0, if you remember a bright pink workspace, then you were looking at version 1.


Tim Tripcony said...

Mark, your story sounds so familiar: my father was a Domino administrator, and was the first to show me Lotus Notes, though the version he showed me was 4.5 and within a couple weeks we were coworkers.

We worked together for a couple years and had many wacky adventures, but possibly my favorite memory from that time was when the union employees of the telecom we worked for went on strike for several weeks. My father was listed as "critical staff", and therefore was not shipped out like the rest of our department to become temporary pole-climbers and directory assistance operators, and would have been left to singlehandedly support 20,000 Notes users... except that all the contractors (including me) were told they could stick around and work 84-hour weeks if they wanted or could wander off to wherever they chose until the strike ended. Pre-approved paid overtime being a rarity, I chose to stick around. We had the place entirely to ourselves for three weeks.

When everyone got back, they found that the two of us had plowed through approximately 6 months of project backlog, because all the usual interruptions were absent and we had twice as much time to fill. What could have been extremely stressful and exhausting turned out to be some of the most fun and productive time I've had in my entire career.

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