Queue dramatic music, 80’s fog machines, and rows upon rows of whirling strobe lights … it’s Virtualization Field Day 2!
Bringing it back, baby!
But seriously, if you have not heard about the Tech Field Days run by Stephen Foskett, you’re in for a treat. This will be my second time attending a Tech Field Day, having attended Tech Field Day #8 as a delegate last year. Now that I have a much better idea what it’s all about, I wanted to shine some attention on the event in hopes of increasing awareness and, well, evangelizing it a bit.
The entire trip is paid for by the sponsors indirectly (Tech Field Day handles the payments on my behalf). Sometimes there are branded swag gifts or product demos given out. Nothing is expected or required. I wrote about some of the sponsors, and not others, during my last visit. I was invited back – I guess that proves that you don’t have to go bonkers with posts or cheerleading for any of the sponsors.
What Sets Tech Field Day Apart
First off, it’s an incredibly fun event. Don’t get me wrong – the days are grueling and I typically got less than 4 hours of sleep a night, but that’s because I spent so much time learning, writing, and conversing with the presenters (such as The Most Interesting Man in the World – stay Cloudy my friends!) and fellow delegates until the wee hours of the morning. There are no censors, NDAs, or filters at Tech Field Day – Stephen is adamant on making sure your voice is heard, even if you hated the presentation.
The Open Flow of Communication
Sponsors of Tech Field Day are prepped before hand to understand that they are delivering content and opening themselves up to exploration from technical engineers. Delegates aren’t writing press releases, they are analyzing the product or service and picking it a part. That doesn’t mean dropping F-bombs and setting fire to the carpet, but if they want to express the negatives of a product, delegates can and are encouraged to!
Generally frowned upon
Additionally, the presentations are typically not death by PowerPoint (or at least, the GOOD ones are not). Technical demos with live products, whiteboards, and tours are common place for a Tech Field Day. The idea is to open a dialogue with you (the delegates) and them (the sponsors) to get unfiltered feedback. Thus, opinions matter!
This is roughly what it looks like at a Tech Field Day presentation. This is from a session at TFD8 from Pure Storage (the SSD whisperers).
With all that said, the sponsors and content are typically top notch and bring their A-game to the presentation. The discussion is focused on something that’s interesting, sometimes in stealth mode and coming into the market as a new idea, and therefore fun to learn about and engage with the designers.
Social Media Fiesta
During a presentation, social media is going nuts. Hashtags in Twitter are flying all over the place, blogs are being updated, and a video camera is recording (and live streaming) everything that’s going on. It’s a veritable waterfall of information pouring out of every session. The Tech Field Day staff do a great job at making sure all of the delegate content is quickly spread to the world, and keep the participants updated on the various streams and events taking place.
The fail whale is often caused by all of the delegate commentary
Becoming a Part of Tech Field Day
I encouraging others out there who are of an independent mind to throw your hat in the ring. They are always looking for new blood. Or, if you know someone who would benefit from a Tech Field Day, nominate them here.
You can also nominate sponsors that you’d like to see present at Tech Field Day.