Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘lotus’ Category

Connecting At IBM Connect 2013

leave a comment »

IBM Connect 2013 and Lotusphere are the same events this year, which kicked off this morning down in Orlando, Florida.

IBM is carrying extensive live and on-demand coverage via its Livestream channel, and this year the event is following three “streams,” including “Creating A Smarter Workforce,” “Creating an Exceptional Customer Experience,” and the “Lotusphere Technical Program.”

If you’re interested in keeping apace via Twitter, the official conference hashtag is #ibmconnect.  To get a good gander from a variety of smart folks (many of whom are attending the event), you can follow this “Team Social” Twitter list.

Speaking of Twitter, there are a couple of Tweetups, one on Tuesday from 4:30-6:00 PM EST in Dolphin Suite #10-110 (and co-sponsored by Avnet).

Tonight’s Tweetup is from 7:00-7:30 EST PM in the Showcase Social Cafe, and will feature a number of IBM Champions.

You can also follow the IBM Connect action in the blogosphere, including in the IBM Social Business Insight Blog. 

Of course, Ed Brill’s blog is a must read during the event (Ed has a new book out entitled Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Managerand I’m sure will have much news on his blog throughout the week).

Finally, Happy Twitter Anniversary to me.  Twopcharts informed me via Tweetdeck that today is apparently my 6 year Twitter anniversary.

At which point I immediately started having flashbacks to that 2007 SXSW when Twitter was first “tipping” and everyone used it to make their lunch plans and to do mass migrations out of really bad sessions at SXSW. I’m sure at least a few you out there remember that moment in time, and if not, you should, because it has become part of the historical lore behind the rise of Twitter.

Written by turbotodd

January 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm

IBM Expands Social Business Capabilities With New Cloud, Mobile Advances

leave a comment »

IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based office productivity suite, which allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

Some new news from IBM on the social business front today.

IBM announced new social business software to help clients collaborate securely in the cloud using a broad range of mobile devices.

The new IBM SmartCloud services include new social networking feaures and the release of IBM SmartCloud Docs, a cloud-based productivity suite that lets users simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents to improve productivity.

I saw this capability demoed at Lotusphere earlier this year and exclaimed that I wanted it and fast. Being as virtual as we are at IBM, I find all kinds of use cases to be able to do this real-time productivity app collaboration.

Nothing like writing a presentation by committee!

The Market Is Growing

Forrester Research estimates cloud computing is going to grow from a $41 billion business in 2010, to $241 billion in 2020. And social enterprise apps market is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016, reaching $6.4 billion. So clearly, there’s ample and broad market demand for this type of computing capability.

While many firms have adopted cloud, mobile and social networking, IBM is helping clients, including the University of Texas at El Paso, capitalize on the convergence, making it safe for the enterprise.

To help organizations address this growing opportunity, IBM is announcing IBM SmartCloud Docs and new services in its IBM SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio allowing clients to collaborate both inside the organization and externally with partners, clients or suppliers.

For example, when working on a document in the cloud, the presence awareness and instant messaging capabilities allow users to see if a document co-editor is online and available to chat in real time. The new features join IBM’s SmartCloud for Social Business portfolio which includes business-grade file sharing, access to communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar in the cloud.

Clients Getting Social in the Cloud

IBM is also announcing clients who are at the forefront of this transformation embracing social in the cloud, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colleagues In Care (CIC), Centrax TCL, NEC Corp., the Victoria Implementation Center and Netkom iBPM LLC.

At the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), faculty and researchers are using the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to track the status of research projects and help facilitate knowledge sharing across campus.

The IBM SmartCloud provides a cost-effective, easy-to-use cloud solution that allows faculty and researchers to share resources and track progress of research projects without clogging up their email in-boxes while aiding in the ever challenging “version control” process for collaborative documents.

UTEP has recently expanded its use of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business to collaborate with universities across North America who are involved in CASHI, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

CASHI aims to increase the number of Hispanic students who pursue and complete baccalaureate and advanced degrees in the computer and information sciences and engineering. UTEP uses the IBM SmartCloud to collaborate with faculty at other universities, invite users from the other universities at no cost as guests to work on projects together. They can share files, manage projects, assign work, and comment directly on posted documents.

“Going to one place to find materials and being able to track the progress and status of projects has been a major benefit,” said Dr. Ann Gates, Chair of the Computer Science Department at UTEP. “Before IBM SmartCloud for Social Business, email was the default way of communicating. Now I don’t have to manage a lot of emails, I can go back and look at the status of projects and what people are working on quickly and easily. We’re using the portfolio to boost brainstorming sessions across campus, sharing information immediately, saving time and resources for the university.”

New Services Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready

The following provides a breakdown of these new social enterprise capabilities in more detail:

  • Access documents anytime, anywhere — the new IBM SmartCloud Docs cloud-based office productivity suite allows users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents in the cloud to improve productivity. IBM Docs authors can store documents in IBM SmartCloud, co-edit documents in real time easing the management of multiple revisions from multiple authors in team-based documents.
  • Sharing insight and data in real time — the new IBM Connections capabilities in the cloud allow users to embrace business-grade social networking between employees, partners and suppliers to find and share the right insight when needed. New community based blogs, wikis, idea-generation blogs and file viewers will spur creativity and drive innovation across teams.
  • Meet and chat on the fly — the new e-meeting service allows teams to meet on the fly, using instant messaging chats, screen sharing to share information and presentations, and includes a new chat room feature to communicate with colleagues, partners and clients in real time.
  • Unlimited access — chat with guests regardless of their instant messaging platform, share files and invite guests to participate in e-meetings at no additional charge.
  • Improved mobile device management — new software to help business partners organize and secure cloud-based IBM email on mobile devices allowing organizations to extend their current business capabilities to mobile devices, while capitalizing on the new opportunities that mobile devices uniquely provide.

Pricing and Availability

IBM SmartCloud Docs is available now for no additional charge in IBM SmartCloud Engage Advanced service. IBM SmartCloud Docs is also available for purchase as a service add on for IBM Connections and IBM SmartCloud Engage Standard for $3 per user, per month.

To participate in a live webcast on December 13, 2012, on how to enhance the workforce with socially enabled office productivity applications in the Cloud, register here. To hear first hand from clients using social applications in the cloud, register for IBM’s premier social business conference in January 2013 at www.ibm.com/connect.

For more information, visit ibmcloud.com/social.

Learn more about the IBM SmartCloud Doc capabilities in the video below.

New IBM Study: The Business of Social Business

with 5 comments

IBM’s recent study on “The Business of Social Business” revealed three major areas where organizations can most effectively apply their social business investments. The study surveyed more than 1,100 businesses worldwide, and included extensive interviews with more than two dozen widely recognized leaders in social business. You can find a link to a downloadable version of the study later in this blog post.

If you’ve been looking for a study that will help you better understand how organizations around the globe are viewing the opportunity social business presents as a fundamental way by which to rethink and overhaul how they conduct their business operations in the social age, IBM has something for you.

Earlier today, we released the new IBM Institute for Business Value study entitled “The Business of Social Business.”

This was a survey conducted of more than 1,110 businesses around the world, and with extensive interviews with more than two dozen recognized global leaders in social business. Many of those executives explained to IBM that, in fact, social business is gaining traction in their organizations.

Top line, 46 percent of the companies surveyed increased their investments in social business in 2012, and 62 percent indicated they were going to increase their expenditures in the next three years.

As the executive summary of the report stated, “The question surrounding social media today is not whether you are doing but, but whether you are doing enough.

Getting your 100,000th “Like” on Facebook, or having your latest pearl of wisdom retweeted 200 times an hour is all well and good, but are these activities driving revenue, attracting talent, and bridging the collaboration gaps in your organization?”

Is your use of social media allowing your organization to engage with the right customers, improve their online experience, and tap into their latest insights and ideas?

And does your social approach provide your customer-facing representatives with the ability to search the globe for expertise or apply learnings?

For far too many organizations, the answer are, “not yet.”

What IS Social Business?

IBM defines social business as embedding tools, media, and practices into the ongoing activities of an organization. It enables individuals to connect and share information and insights more effectively with others, both inside and outside the organization.

Social business tools facilitate engagement in extensive discussions with employees, customers, business partners, and other stakeholders and allow sharing of resources, skills and knowledge to drive business outcomes.

And what’s the upside? Top-line growth for social business users can improve between 3 and 11 percent, according to a recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute, and productivity can be enhanced by between 2 and 12 percent.

I’ll hand you off to a link of the full study later, but to net out the findings, IBM’s survey and interviews revealed three major areas where organizations apply social business investments (see graphic above):

  • Create valued customer experiences
  • Drive workforce productivity and effectiveness
  • Acclerate innovation

Shifting Towards Sales And Service

For those who have been involved in the social media realm to date, it’s important to note that social business is about moving beyond basic promotional activities to encompass the entire customer lifecycle, including lead generation, sales, and post-sales service.

The IBM study had a sub-sample of clients with some social business experience which revealed that while the percentage of companies expecting to use social business for promotional activities will rise slightly, from 71 percent today to 83 percent in the next two years, the number of companies expecting to use social approaches to generate sales leads and revenue will increase dramatically.

How companies are using social business capabilities is evolving rapidly. As you can see in the graphic, it is moving beyond basic promotional activities to encompass the entire customer lifecycle, including lead generation, sales, and even post-sales service.

Today, 51 percent use social approaches for leads and revenue, while 74 percent plan to get on board in the next two years.  Post-sales support is also expected to increase, from 46 today to 69 percent over the next two years (see graphic entitled “Users of Social Business”).

Getting Started With Social Business

Regardless of where your organization is in its own social business journey, the use of social business practices is a transformation that leads toward new ways of working.

IBM’s research revealed three essential actions to be taken across the enterprise, from the CEO’s office to the farthest corner of the organization.

  1. Develop social methods and tools to create consistent and valued customer experiences.
  2. Embed social capabilities to drive workforce productivity and effectiveness.
  3. Use social approaches to accelerate innovation.

If you’re interested in reading the full study, you can register to download it here.

As IBM’s vice president for social business, Sandy Carter, explained in the video interview below during our recent interview at the IBM Interconnect in Singapore, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” Sandy offered up some great advice on world-class social business practices, as well as how companies and individuals can better establish their brands in an increasingly crowded social marketplace.

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: A Q&A With Sandy Carter About Social Business

leave a comment »

Sandy Carter is Vice President, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism at IBM, where she is responsible for setting the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiative, working with companies who are becoming Social Businesses, and being the evangelist for the concept and best practices around Social Business.

Yesterday afternoon here in Singapore, we started our Livestreaming endeavours at IBM InterConnect and one of the first folks I interviewed has been a beacon of leadership when it comes to social business, inside and outside IBM, and that is Sandy Carter.

Sandy currently serves as vice president for IBM’s Social Business and Collaboration Solutions Sales and Evangelism, where she is responsible for setting the direction for IBM’s Social Business initiatives, working with companies who are becoming social businesses, and being the evangelist for the concept and best practices around social business.

Prior to her current position, Sandy was VP, Software Business Partners and Midmarket where she was responsible for IBM’s worldwide software ecosystem initiatives, and prior to that also VP, SOA, BPM and WebSphere Strategy, Channels and Marketing where she drove IBM’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) marketing efforts to achieve 70% market share for SOA, and where IBM WebSphere became a market leader, receiving more than 34 industry awards.

Fast Company named Sandy one of the most influential women in technology, and Everything Channels CRN magazine named her one of the most powerful 100 women in channels in 2010 and 2009.

Sandy is the best selling author of two books: “The New Language of Business: SOA & Web 2.0”, which won the Platinum MarCom Award in 2008, and “The New Language of Marketing 2.0: Social Media”, which won the Silver MarketingSherpa award in 2009.

Sandy and I chatted about a variety of social business relevant topics, in which she also offered some advice to both companies and individuals looking to better establish their brands in an increasingly crowded social marketplace.

I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did!

IBM Leads In Social Software

with 2 comments

Click to enlarge and view the full infographic. IBM announced earlier today that for the third consecutive year, IDC ranked IBM number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software. According to IDC’s analysis of 2011 revenue, IBM grew faster than its competitors and nearly two times faster than the overall market. Currently, more than one-third of the Fortune 100 use IBM social business software.

It’s official: For the third year in a row, IBM has been found to be the most social enterprise company around.

Well, something like that.

For the third year in a row, IDC has ranked IBM number one in worldwide market share for enterprise social software.

According to their analysis of 2011 revenue, IBM grew faster than its competitors and nearly two times faster than the overall market (which grew approximately 40 percent).

IDC also forecast the enterprise social platforms market is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2016, representing growth of 43 percent over the next four years.

Much of that growth comes with the continuing popularity of social networking, with more and more organizations looking for ways to adopt social business practices to integrate global teams, drive innovation, increase productivity and better reach customers and partners.

Using Social Software For Enterprise Transformation

While this demand is on the rise, organizations are still looking for ways to embrace social capabilities to transform virtually every part of their business operations, from marketing to research innovation and human resources, but lack the tools to gain insight into the enormous stream of information and use it in a meaningful way.

“Social software is gaining in momentum in the enterprise,” says Michael Fauscette, group vice president for IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group.

“Companies are seeing significant gain in productivity and increasing value from successfully deployed social software solutions including supporting ad hoc work by bringing people, data, content, and systems together in real time and making more effective critical business decisions by providing the ‘right information’ in the work context.”

Today, more than 35 percent of Fortune 100 companies have adopted IBM’s social software offerings including eight of the top 10 retailers and banks.

IBM Connections: Social Inside And Outside The Enterprise

IBM’s social business software and services is unique combining social networking capabilities with analytics to help companies capture information and insights into dialogues from employees and customers and create interactions that translate into real value.

IBM’s social networking platform, IBM Connections, allows for instant collaboration with one simple click and the ability to build social communities both inside and outside the organization to increase customer loyalty and speed business results.

IBM Connections is available both on premise and in the cloud.

In the past year, new IBM Connections clients include Lowe’s Home Improvement, Electrolux, TD Bank, Newly Weds Foods, Russell’s Convenience stores, Bayer Material Science, The Ottawa Hospital, Premier  Healthcare Alliance, Earthwatch, and the law offices of LaVan & Neidenberg.

“The opportunities for organizations to adopt social business processes to connect people and speed innovation is limitless,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager, social business, IBM.

“A successful social business can break down the barriers to collaboration and transform the next-generation workforce, from device to delivery vehicle of your choice, to improve productivity and speed decision making.”

Learn more about IBM and social business technologies here.

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Lotus Market Researchers On The Social Business Market Opportunity

leave a comment »

Whew.  Well, I seem to have scooted out of Orlando JUST in time.  As my JetBlue flight was careening down the runway prepared to take off for Austin, I was able to see the massive Boeing 747 that is Air Force One parked just across the tarmac.  Apparently, President Obama was in town to talk tourism at the Magic Kingdom.

But I didn’t leave before I had the opportunity to interview key IBM Collaboration Solutions market researcher, Carol Galvin, and senior consulting strategist, Catherine Lord, on the business opportunity and market landscape around social business.

If you’re trying to get a better understanding of “where’s the beef” around the social business opportunity, this is a great place to start. Let me just share one whopper of a sound byte that should capture your attention: The social business market opportunity is expected to reach $99 billion by 2015!

A special thanks to Scott Laningham, my remote videocaster-in-chief, who stopped working on his skateboarding bulldog videos long enough to help produce this video via Skype from Dolphin Studio 8004 (better known as my hotel room).

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Bill Ives On IBM’s Social Practicing Of What It Preaches

with one comment

If you’re fortunate to make it to Lotusphere, or any of the other signature IBM events held around the globe every year, you get the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people: everyone from fellow bloggers to other IBMers to customers to analysts…the list goes on and on.

Just last evening, I was introduced to a gentleman by the name of Bill Ives, an analyst and blogger with Merced Group who writes about knowledge management and social business, among other topics.  As we got to talking, I discovered that Bill had lived in the town I hail from and grew up in, Denton, Texas, once upon a time when he was a wee lad, and who also shares my passion for golf.

Bill has been producing some of his own fine coverage of Lotusphere 2012 and IBM Connect here in Orlando, and I wanted to share the link below to his post on some of IBM’s own social business endeavors.

Keep in touch, Bill, and keep those posts a comin’:

Lotusphere 2012 Notes: IBM as a Social Business

Written by turbotodd

January 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: IBM Customer TD Bank Makes Major Social Business Deposit

with 5 comments

So are you feeling social yet?

C’mon, it’s day 2 of Lotusphere and IBM Connect 2012, get with the program!

My alarm clock had another big fail this morning, but fortunately my neurons were so in tune and excited about day 2 of Lotusphere 2012, that I sprouted up just in time for the morning keynote once again.

Starting Day 2: Getting Down To The Business Of Social Business

If I were to summarize this morning’s session, I’d have to say Day 2 is about getting down to the business of social business, moving well past the “whys” and into the practicalities of the “hows.”

IBM VP Mike Rodin kicks off day 2 of Lotusphere 2012 with a discussion on finding one's way to the real business value of social business

But first, IBM executive Mike Rodin set the stage for Day 2 with a few prefatory comments.  He explained that there are a number of key forces driving the market need for social business, and that we’re witnessing some major changes in people’s behaviors.

Notably, he observed the rise of the empowered individual.  And I thought for a moment, and said, wait a minute, he’s talking about me!  No, not me, specifically, but all of those of us who have an entrepreneurial bent in organizations large and small, who just want to get good work done and make a difference for our businesses and who now have the tools and technologies to facilitate that type of action.

He explained this new milieu is changing the way we all work, and that roles and connections are being forever changed across both internal and external networks.

McKinsey On Social Business: 90% Of Companies Realize Real Business Value

Rodin then brought to the stage Michael Chiu, a senior fellow with the McKinsey Global Institute.  Apparently, someone on the staff forgot to remind Mike Rodin that he  was the one interviewing Michael, as Rodin left for the exits.  Very funny, very human moment, talking about social business!

Rodin quickly made his return and set right in to getting some red meat from McKinsey, as Chiu explained his team had been studying collaboration in the enterprise for over 10 years, and observed that though IT has been great at learning how to improve the efficacy of physical and transactional processes, with knowledge work, that hasn’t been as much the case.

But, he explained, we’re getting there, and are on the cusp of the “S-curve” towards better understanding how to improve those knowledge worker processes, and the rise of social is adding fuel to the fire.

Rodin responded by asking how companies can use capabilities like microblogging for business benefit, and Chiu expanded the aperture with his answer by explaining you can never fully know how people are going to use the technology, but if you can develop some level of hypothesis based on the general adoption, you’ll be surprised where you will find the most benefit.  Then, you have to learn how to scale and extend it across the enterprise.

Wendy Arnott, VP of Social Media and Digital Communications at TD Bank America, explains to the Lotusphere 2012 audience how even a heavily regulated industry like banking can move into the social business realm.

Rodin acknowledged this by observing that McKinsey’s own data suggested over 90% of companies using social today are deriving hard ROI, and Chiu echoed this, explaining that fully 70% of them were reporting real business results.

IBM Customer TD Bank: Make Social Part Of Your Culture

Perfect time for IBM customer, TD Bank, in the form of Vice President of Social Media, Wendy Arnott, to enter from stage left, to help demonstrate not only to the IBM audience, but to the world, what real social business leadership looks like.

Some background on TD Bank: They’re the 6th largest bank in North America, with some 19M customers and more than 85,000 employees working in over 3,000 locations, including in branch offices, trading floors, and even home offices.

Ms. Arnott started TD Bank’s social business pitch explaining that their corporate social mission had to jibe with the company’s key values, including staying true to their belief of “building for the future.” She and her associates were always trying to figure out how they could take their business to the next level, and that because the world was changing, and her fellow employees and their customers were operating in new ways, were driving new expectations of the bank.

And yet, there were constraints for moving into social business: TD Bank operates in a highly regulated industry, and yet, they recognized incremental improvement wasn’t enough.  To win, they needed to change the game.

They started by engaging in conversations with their customers through a social media customer service team, a logical place to do so, and a launching point for other companies trying to move into social business.

But TD Bank didn’t stop there.  They decided to focus on three key imperatives that would guide their social strategy development: Align with their core values, deliver real business outcomes, and acknowledge and face their risks head on.

Soon, they found themselves breaking through some formerly taboo issues. The bank wanted to expand its business by staying open on Sundays.  Through a transparent employee jam, employees, rather than booing the idea outright, came around and were eventually enthusiastic about the idea, recognizing it would make TD Bank that much more competitive.

Good Ideas Can Come From Anyone

Another win: A CSR in a brand had an idea about changing a simple paper process to digital that would prevent customers from having to make a physical trip to the branch office.  It wasn’t a completely new idea, but now, with crowdsourcing, hundreds of other employees chimed in and rallied behind the idea, and the next thing you know it was sitting in front of executives, just daring them not to support the idea!

With each step, TD Bank was embedding social in its core business processes.  Little by little, they were able to bring down the walls of resistance, even in the regulatory environment.  On that front, they again brought the key risk mitigators into the discussion, made them core to the brainstorming, and were able to find common ground and, as a team, identify the major risk inhibitors, and soon found many shifting their perception from risk to opportunity.

So what were the lessons learned in all this?  Arnott explained there were several, and left the Lotusphere 2012 audience with this very actionable set of “leave behinds”:

  1. Leadership matters. At TD Bank the entire senior exec team believed in and supported the Connections roll out from the beginning.
  2. Build a dedicated social team.  This has to be someone’s job.  Every day, all day.
  3. Form great partnerships. Things don’t just happen in a large organization.  HR, communications, privacy, marketing, IT…they all need to come together to forge a set of shared beliefs that will get social efforts off the ground.
  4. Get into the weeds.  The devil’s in the details, even when they rock the boat.  Be prepared.
  5. Engage employees. They get it, and they can advocate on a large scale and quickly.

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Day 1 Vodcast Recap

leave a comment »

Scott Laningham is not here at Lotusphere 2012 this year…at least, not corporeally.  But he is here in spirit, and yesterday afternoon, I spoke with him live from Studio 8004 here at the Dolphin Hotel in Orlando and debriefed him on all things Lotusphere Day 1, the Turbo POV, for The developerWorks Podcast.

We discussed day 1 themes and talks, including that wonderful keynote from actor Michael J. Fox, as well as some of the key announcements and an overview of the IBM social business strategy.  Keep an eye out here on the Turbo blog and Twitter to be reminded of future Lotusphere podcasts…in the meantime, let Day 2 begin!

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Michael J. Fox Comes Back From The Future

with one comment

I woke up this morning in spite of the assistance of my alarm clock, a small Casio gizmo I bought 15 years ago in the U.K.

My little Casio has kept me from missing many a meeting and flight, but today she failed me.

Lotusphere 2012 kicks off with a performance by OkGo for the thousands of attendees convened in Orlando, Florida.

So I can only say it must have been fate that I made it downstairs in time to see the musical kick off of OKGo, and shortly thereafter, the guest speaker for the opening session of Lotusphere.

Of course, if you know anything at all about Lotusphere, you know the lore behind the guest speakership.  It’s a closely-held, top secret until the very last minute, and even then within the IBM whispermill, you probably didn’t hear right.

Me, I’ve learned to roll with it, and just not worry about who the guest speaker is, which is why I’m so incredibly glad my body clock told me to get up when it did, because this year’s Lotusphere guest speaker was truly special.

You might remember him from “Family Ties,” for which he received three Emmys and a Golden Globe.

You might remember him as Marty McFly from the “Back to the Future” trilogy.

Or you may have seen him most recently as attorney Louis Canning on one of my my new favorites, “The Good Wife.”

But however you remember Michael J. Fox, he’s not one to let you easily forget.

As soon as fellow Canadian and Lotus GM Alistair Rennie announced Fox’s name this AM, there was a roar from the crowd and an immediate standing ovation.

And for those who know Fox’s backstory — his early and celebrated thespian success, his diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease at the ripe old age of 29 — well, you could easily have found yourself among them.

I know I did.

Celebrated Canadian thespian and Parkinson's disease advocate Michael J. Fox charms the Lotusphere 2012 audience with his inspiring and optimistic message.

Fox himself has admitted in his first book, Lucky Man, how it took him seven years to accept his diagnosis, and through a thalamotomy and ongoing treatment with Sinemet, he’s been able to manage the disease.

But from his discussion this morning before the Lotusphere audience, it was obvious he’s also transcended it.  He’s refused to let the disease define him, and just like his role on “The Good Wife,” he’s allowed it to simply just become another part of him.  Nothing less, nothing more.

As for Fox’s message to the audience, we’ll get to that, but know it was artfully woven between the conceit of one funny joke after another, so before long you’re thinking, “if this famous gentleman with Parkinson’s Disease can stand there and tremor and laugh at the same time, what the hell kind of problems am I having today??”

And in fact, that was part of Fox’s message.  Known for his eternal optimism, he shared a story of a woman who, in the midst of some major flooding in Mozambique, had to scramble to the safety of a tree to deliver her baby, in the tree and above the rushing waters.

Fox then forcefully re-emphasized the storyline here: A lady…had a baby…in a tree!

Fox had some simple truths that he also shared, for acting and for life.  For one, as an actor, you can never play the result.  If they’re about to throw a pie in your face, it has to be as big a surprise to you as it is to them.

Two, life is all about possibliities.  You may feel your life is certain and set and headed in one direction and you’re going to play a certain role and…well, then suddenly, it’s not.

What do you do then?

Fox has done quite a bit, actually. He’s been a strong advocate for Parkinson’s research, including stem cell therapy, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation was created specifically to help advance every promising research path to curing Parkinson’s.

He’s also testified before Congress, purposely skipping his medication that day in 1998 so that the legislators could see the full impact of the disease.

A very different kind of bravura for a very different kind of performance.

So what has all this to do with the matter of social business?  Fox turned to online communities when he first received his diagnosis, and after going public with Barbara Walters and in People magazine, he realized the positive impact his going public was having on others.

He could sneak into chatrooms and compare his experience with others, and realized quickly this was his opportunity to reshape his own destiny.

Remarkedly, we have all been the beneficiary of both: His commitment to improving the world through Parkinson’s research, and in his continued commitment to acting (if you’ve not seen Fox in “The Good Wife,” now would be a good time to get introduced).

These days, his “Foxtrot Finder” is helping connect Parkinson’s patients to clinical studies. So, social business has everything to do with Fox’s endeavors, as it’s helping patients who need help come out from behind the shadows and get it.

Finally, back home, to Canada, to hockey.  Like many young Canadians, Fox was a hockey nut, and Bobby Orr was his celebrated idol.

Many years into his celebrity, Fox was invited to play in a celebrity old timer hockey match, and when he came face to face with his idol, he was speechless.

Then, at one point in the match, Fox approached Orr rapidly on the ice and was able to sneak the puck between his legs and into the net.

Only later did Fox realize that that’s probably what Orr was explaining to him before the game, that he was going to allow Fox to make that score.

Or perhaps not.  Perhaps Michael J. Fox really did score a point on the infamous Bobby Orr.

Regardless, he absolutely scored with the Lotusphere audience this morning here in Orlando.

Though I’m not one to necessarily buy into inspirational talks, I walked out of Fox’s keynote feeling as optimistic as ever.

But I will admit to being just a little sad about my ever-faithful alarm clock shirking its duty!

%d bloggers like this: