I’ll be reporting live and direct all week from the vicinity of Seattle, WA at Gestalt IT’s Tech Field Day Seattle. I’m organizing this “co-op analyst day for bloggers” event series, and I’m so pleased with how it’s come out. Read on to learn more about the event, the folks, and how you can be a part of it!
Tech Field Day 101
Tech Field Day is a series of events organized by me, put on by professionals, but catalyzed by a group of loosely-affiliated volunteers. We bring a dozen or so hand-picked “delegates” to a city to meet with a half-dozen interesting IT technology companies. The last Field Day was in Boston, and we were in San Jose before that. We’ll be returning to San Jose for two more events in 2010: A networking-focused Field Day in September and another “gestalt” Field Day event in November.
One critical aspect is the selection of the delegates who get to attend, all expenses paid. It’s like setting up a dinner party: We have to get the right mix of focus areas, geographies, and personalities to make it work out. There are three most-desirable attributes for a delegate: Independence and an open mind, technical knowledge, and community leadership. Everyone we’ve brought in so far has certainly excelled in these areas!
The whole event is run as a cooperative endeavor rather than a corporate event. We’re trying to keep things a bit loose and fun, though we have to run a tight ship when it comes to the business of travel and logistics. The presenting sponsors have really grasped this concept, too, bringing their best and brightest for some rip-roaring discussions.
What’s In Store: Seattle
The Seattle event will center on the Microsoft campus, with 2/3 of the sessions held in their Partner Developer Center in Redmond. It’s here that we’ll hear from Compellent and Veeam, as well as a brand new company launching at the event on Thursday. We will also travel to the Seattle-area offices of F5 and NEC America.
One concern voiced by many was that companies were hiring up all the good independents. I’m glad to report that this is not the case. In fact, we’ve never had such a diverse mix of delegates, most of whom are new to the Field Day experience! There’s networking expert Ethan Banks, virtualization gurus Jason Boche, “Rodos” Haywood, and Craig Stewart, and familiar storage faces Ilja Coolen and Howard Marks. We’ve also got Kevin “Blades Made Simple” Houston, W. Curtis “Mr. Backup” Preston, and Bob “The Lone Sysadmin” Plankers. Making repeat Redmond pilgrimages are John “Absolutely Windows” Obeto and fellow storage MVP, Derek Schauland. Every one of these folks is respected for his technical knowledge, opinionated yet open-minded, and renouned for his support of the IT community.
The delegate group will be gathering Wednesday night to get to know one another before diving into two packed days of briefings, feedback, and roundtable discussions. As is our Field Day tradition, delegates, sponsors, and friends will come together Thursday night for an informal evening party. The signature local spot this time around is the Red Barn that served as the first manufacturing site for aircraft giant, Boeing. We also have some informal activities planned in the Seattle area before and after the event.
I encourage you to follow the action this week. We’ll be tweeting using the #TechFieldDay hashtag, or you can follow the entire delegate roster and presenting sponsors using our Twitter lists. Video is an important component, and we will be uploading to both Vimeo and YouTube as well as experimenting with live videocasting on Justin.tv. Blog posts and other long content will be noted in our Seattle Field Day Links page as well as on Posterous, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Look for Field Day photos on Flickr, too, and subscribe to our Roundtable Podcast on iTunes. Whew!