I’m sitting here watching an episode of Top Gear as I write this, and waxing contemplative on my recent invitation to both a Tech Field Day one-day event and Virtual Field Day 6. Both are being held in the same week, later in November, and both are in the San Jose area, as per usual.
I am always flattered when I’m invited to these events, and I take the opportunity seriously. Not only to I get the privilege of hearing from some innovative companies doing exciting things (usually before they are announced to the public), but I also get to be around a group of folks much smarter than I am. Many are friends, and the ones who aren’t probably soon will be.
The Tech Field Day events are focused into somewhat standard breakdowns of technology specialties, with Network, Virtual, Storage, Wireless, and other technologies each having their own events under the general umbrella organization Steven Foskett has created. Being invited to the one day Data Field Day Roundtable made sense to me when I got the call, as it’s being hosted by Cisco along with some of their partners. Being invited to Virtual Field Day 6 initially did not make as much sense to me.
I am predominantly a network engineer. While I have certainly worn many hats over the years-from Systems Administrator, to Unix Admin, to consultant and eventually IT Director- and I play with OpenStack and many other technologies, that’s largely it. I play. In one of my roles I did install and manage a sizable vmware installation, but I am far from an expert, especially with the technology having moved far beyond where it was when I last used it.
I graciously accepted the invitation, but was admittedly bemused. Until, that is, Steven wrote to explain that he likes to “cross the streams” as he puts it, using a classic reference to one of the great movies of the 80’s. Ghost Busters references aside, his point is this: he believes very strongly that a more intriguing dialogue is created when he includes people with specialties largely outside the arena of the event he’s inviting them to. So, each event he throws now he invites a couple of folks from other disciplines to participate, anticipating that they will see things from a different, unexpected angle, and foster better conversation.
Putting aside my trepidation at attending an event that I feel a bit under qualified to be at, and more than slightly worried I’ll say something stupid, or worse yet say nothing, I think this will be a great opportunity for me to step outside of my day-to-day world and learn from some people and presenters that I otherwise might not be exposed to.
The event will be, as always, live streamed on the Tech Field Day web page (look for Virtual Field Day 6) as well as live-tweeted, blogged, and generally pushed out through a wide variety of channels. I hope you’ll tune in to see the presentations, interact with the delegates by tweeting using the #VFD6 hash tag, and to generally learn from some quality vendors about their latest and greatest advances.
Note: I will be following up this post in the next few days with a more detailed breakdown of each event, including the companies and presenters at each.