Yesterday, I posted about the numerous companies that have been acquired after presenting at Tech Field Day. An obvious follow on question relates to the number of delegates to have “graduated” to go work for a vendor in their field. So I put together this follow-up, saluting these Field Day alumni.
Contrary to popular belief, vendors aren’t out there scouring Tech Field Day and scooping up everyone who will say yes. Indeed, we have never had any trouble at all finding excellent independent individuals to attend our events. Some come, and some go, and we try to keep the delegate list fresh regardless.
Although 20% of our delegates have moved to “the other side of the table”, we don’t regard them as traitors or enemies. We can’t include them in Tech Field Day anymore since companies would be loath to have an employee of “the opposition” at the table. But we always remain friends, and are thrilled when we can get together regardless of the circumstances.
Field Day Alumni
Without further ado, here’s a list of who’s where, with regards to “vendor-side” Tech Field Day alumni:
- EMC and Veeam top the list, each with four Field Day alumni among their employee ranks. EMC has Jon Owings, Bas Raayman, Simon Seagrave, and Craig Stewart currently, though a few others have moved through Hopkinton over the years. As for Veeam, it’s cool to think of Rich Brambley, Hans De Leenheer, Chris Dearden, and Rick Vanover all working together!
- Dell, VMware, and Nexenta each have two Field Day alumni. Over at Dell, we see Jason Boche and Kevin Houston, while Nexenta has Theron Conrey and Matt Vogt. And Jonathan Franconi and Simon Long work for VMware now!
- Aerohive, Citrix, HP, NetApp, Juniper, VCE, and Ruckus Wireless each have one Field Day alum, Andrew vonNagy, Scott Cochran, Eric Siebert, Chris Wells, Derick Winkworth, David Owen, and Marcus Burton, respectively.
Interestingly, not all of these companies are former Field Day presenters. Although we would welcome Nexenta and Citrix to the table, we have not yet had that pleasure. All of the rest have presented at Tech Field Day events over the last three years, but we can’t really take credit for making the introductions.
A few more delegates have come and go through the vendor ranks but now count as independent, including Ed Saipetch and Tom Howarth off the top of my head.
According to my spreadsheet, there have been exactly 100 Field Day delegates at 15 events over three years. With 21 currently working for vendors, that gives us a 21% “alumni rate”.
Update: Since this post was published, Mike Laverick also went to work for VMware.
On Independence and Alumni
Of course, all this begs the question of what “independent” really means. I don’t want to open up that can of worms once again, but I suppose I should probably say something to explain why these 21 fabulous individuals are considered different from their peers.
For purposes of Tech Field Day alumni, we use a strict practical definition: Who do you work for? In other words, do the companies that present consider a given employer to be a competitor? Since our event relies on support from our presenting sponsors, this is one line we just can not cross.
Amusingly, we use a totally different definition for independence. When it comes to selection and voting, prospects are ranked on a five point scale of independence based purely on subjective judgments from former delegates. They might take employers into account, but then again they might not. Frankly, I don’t need to know what the delegates take into account because I trust their judgment over my own.
For fun, here’s a gallery of group photos from all 15 Tech Field Day events since 2009!