I was not looking forward to this week's conference. I don't really like Las Vegas and I don't like flying for 10 hours in coach class. However, the event was made worthwhile once I got the opportunity to speak to the great collection of customers that had travelled from around the world to attend the conference.
Listening to them describe their businesses and the problems they were solving with our software was inspiring. Too often, I only get pulled into projects that are going wrong. Hearing real life examples of projects that were successful was a good feeling.
Interestingly, many of the customers I spoke to had implemented the solutions themselves, with no outside help. Many of them thought they had low skills and some even seemed to completely doubt their abilities. Once I probed them on what they had build - and the success they had had - it was easy to see the pool of talent that our clients have assembled. I learned things about our products that I didn't know myself.... yet they didn't think they were experts. Perhaps they need to feel more of a community?
A great community site for WebSphere MQ-related products is mqseries.net. There are some deep experts on there. At present, it doesn't cover the WebSphere Interchange Server. I bet if a community site like mqseries.net started looking at ICS, the number of people believing themselves to be the experts they really are would rocket.... sometimes it takes recognition from your peers to realise how valuable you are.