I had the honour of being selected as a delegate for Networking Field Day 18, #NFD18 on Twitter. This was my first Tech Field Day event, all of which are put on by the fine folks at Gestalt IT. For more information about the events and the people involved, check out the Gestalt IT and Tech Field Day websites.
A FIRST-TIMER’S THOUGHTS
I joined thirteen of my peers (eleven other delegates and two event staff), who happen to be awesome people, for three long, full days of technical talk, personal talk, camaraderie, and general shenanigans. This inclusive environment, which I’ll describe as family-like, is important to the overall success of the event, as it creates an ideal setting for open communication. It’s up to the delegates to “make the event”, so a safe, warm, welcoming environment is an important ingredient.
Drink from the Firehose
I’m told that this was a lite event as we only attended seven vendor presentations instead of the usual eight. While this may be true, I don’t consider NFD18 to be NFD-lite. An event with seven unique, 2-hour vendor presentations over the course of three days is called drinking from the firehose. These are long days that require attention, focus and concentration. What makes this event unique is how little you can prepare for it. The vendors commonly reveal new products, or new features to existing products, forcing delegates to think on the fly, processing new information very quickly so that intelligent, probing questions may be asked in order to make each session interactive and valuable to all involved. By all involved, I’m referring to the delegates, the vendors, those viewing the live stream and those viewing the recorded sessions at a later date.
Opportunity for Vendors
As mentioned already, vendors commonly use these events to reveal new products or new features to existing products. It gives them the opportunity to test their messaging and product direction in front of twelve unique individuals, all with different backgrounds, professional experiences and knowledge. This messaging and product direction can then be fine-tuned before being officially released to the masses.
Embrace the Media
These events are also a great opportunity for each delegate. It’s a chance to display some of our skills to an audience we would never normally have. There are cameras and microphones everywhere. As this was my first event, I was a little nervous going in, and a little nervous asking questions. This nervousness reached its crescendo when I was VOLUNTOLD by Tom Hollingsworth to join a podcast without having time to prepare for the topic. I’m not sure when the podcast will be released, the topic of which is not important for this post, but the important thing is that I participated in it and am happy I did. I’m relying on the expertise of Ben Gage and Prime Image Media to make me look good.
Anyone who has ever attended a technical conference, read marketing material or sat through a few vendor marketing slides, is very familiar with the game of Buzzword Bingo. All I can say is it was a good thing we didn’t turn this into a drinking game during the presentations at NFD18. In no particular order, here is a list of words that the industry has currently embraced and that also made appearances at this event.
- Machine Learning (ML)
- Single Pane of Glass (SPoG)
- Intent Based (IB)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Software Defined
NFD18 COMMON THEMES
There were a few common themes shared by the vendors who presented at NFD18. Here are the ones that struck a chord with me and the ones that I intend to write about in future posts.
THAT’S A WRAP
Thank you to Gestalt IT and Tech Field Day for selecting me as a delegate. In case there is any doubt about how I feel about this experience, I definitely want to be back in the future. To my fellow delegates and the event staff, thanks for making this event a tremendously enjoyable and rewarding experience.