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Connect 2013 – Expectations vs reality or how I couldn’t connect to the electronic session pdfs


Hurray! IBM Connect 2013 pdfs of presentations have arrived! One week after the event! Thank you thank you! Well… I had different expectations about this.


Connect-visitor takes a look at the agenda before the event starts. Connect-visitor sees some interesting sessions and has to make a choice. He opens the session details and sees a pdf with the content of the session attached.  After taking a swift look at it, he decides he wants to join the session.  He downloads the pdf on his iPad where he opens it in Remarks (or whatever app he’s comfortable with).  He’s now ready to listen and annotate in the pdf, to mark whatever phrase is important for him and writes down extra comments with the neat pen he bought for this occasion.

He saves his changes at the end of the session and has the comforting feeling of control over what he just learned.  When he’s back at the office, he just needs to pull out his iPad and review what he learned to use it in his job. It’s a perfect world.


I created my personal session agenda (thanks to the great app) before I got on the plane. I’m traveling intercontinental, so I bought some annotation apps for my iPad before leaving my country, so that I could test them out on the plane.  For my goal, Remarks was a great solution.  The user interface is simple, but nevertheless I gave myself some time to practice the toolset, so that I didn’t need to learn the features while trying to listen to a session.

Once arrived at Connect, to my surprise the pdf files of most of the sessions weren’t available.  When I asked an IBM responsible, they said they should be there “by the end of the week”.  I asked if they’re not available on good old paper, but “IBM is green now”, he responded.  Which means in practice: “We don’t have any pdfs, not on paper nor electronically.”  It’s like telling to my customer: “I don’t have documentation for my application, I’m green now.” ;-)

I tried to take old fashioned paper notes, but… if there is no way of connecting them to the specific slides, they’re just loose notes, nothing more.  So I gave up taking notes.  Others took pictures of the slides.  When I don’t take notes, I tell myself just to listen and pay attention, but for me it is harder that way.  I get distracted easier.  When I will look back to the session slides within a couple of months, they are as easy or difficult to me as they are to a person who wasn’t there.

Future expectations

What I expect from a company like IBM, is that we can at least download a session right before it starts.  This is 2013 and Connect was all about sharing, spreading, passing information,… but in practice we had it all too late.  I really think it’s a pitty and it surprises me there wasn’t a lot of fuss about this.  Don’t get me wrong: I think Connect 2013 was a great event, with tons of interesting information and speakers… I just wanted the information sooner on my iPad.  Anybody out there who shares this opinion?


  1. I share your opinion. I also would have expected a better iOS app. Had too many hangs with bad network connectivity.

  2. We felt the frustration and see it on evals. As a speaker we submitted our presentations back at the end of 2012 yet were suprised to not see them in the online system or even the .zip files just released. So we are busy pushing them out via blogs and SlideShare.

    I created a special database open to all with tags and track sorting to at least find them in one place.


    • Chris, that’s a great initiative! Glad you people know the real meaning of collaboration and sharing :-). It still feels a little like at work, when your boss doesn’t provide you the right tools, and you go looking after them yourself though ;-).

  3. I have a sneaky suspicion that IBM Legal may have something to do with IBM’s reluctance to share. Just a gut feeling.

    • JG: “If we share too much, people won’t go to Connect 2014, because everything is online” ;-) – something like that maybe…


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