Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Party Time! A Tech Gossip Column

I've been having way too much fun lately. And by that I mean going to parties and calling that "work." Wednesday and Thursday of last week were taken up with many a drink- and talk-fest for Tech Field Day. I was on the organizing committee for that event, which brought together bloggers and other influencers from around the world for two days of tech deep dives at Silicon Valley companies. (See my earlier post for background.)

Here's a pic I took when first arriving Wednesday evening of two of the Tech Field Day attendees, Devang Panchigar ("StorageNerve") and Chris Evans ("The Storage Architect") in the lobby of the San Jose Airport Doubletree. In the background, Tech Field Day organizer and Gestalt IT publisher Stephen Foskett is getting help from the desk about his lost luggage--just one of the many snafus that threatened to derail things (but which somehow never did).

The Field Day itself was a blast, but much has already been written about that, so I'll leave that to the experts. Suffice it to say, this was a group of smart people. In fact, they were so smart that I found it hard to keep up with the conversation, even when it wasn't about tech! That's just sad if you think about it. (Starting to consider going back to school in order to prep for future Field Days...) Here's the list of all the attendees--which is also posted on Flickr with face mapping here:

Greg Knieriemen (Storage Monkeys/Infosmack), John Obeto (Absolutely Windows), Carlo Costanzo (VMWare Info), Rod Haywood (Musings of Rodos), Rick Vanover (Virtualization Review, TechRepublic, Rick Vanover's blog), Stephen Foskett (Gestalt IT, Packrat, Enterprise Storage Strategies), Nigel Poulton (Ruptured Monkey), Bas Raayman (Renegade's Technical Diatribe), Ed Saipetch (Breathing Data, Gestalt IT), Simon Seagrave (TechHead), Chris Evans (The Storage Architect), Devang Panchigar (StorageNerve, Gestalt IT), Greg Ferro (Ethereal Mind, Gestalt IT), John Hickson (Studio Sysadmins), Robin Harris (Storage Mojo), Rich Brambley (VM/ETC/Gestalt IT).

Luckily for me, Field Day event planner Claire Chaplais and I got to have a little girl time to balance out the XY intensity of the thing. I'm just gonna spill it--while the boys were over at 3Par learning everything there is to know about thin provisioning, chunklets and Symantec storage, Claire and I were getting pedicures at a place on Santana Row. A much needed little break!

Thursday night was Tech Field Day's big bash at the Computer History Museum. True, there were a few other tech-related parties that night, which posed some competition. I was tasked with sending out last-minute invites, and I have to admit I began to panic as person after person told me they were already booked. But as it turned out, our party had just the right mix of folks.  So for those who instead headed to the annual Ubergizmo awards night, Uber10, or the Outcast CEO bash in Menlo Park, all I can say to you is, what could possibly compete with a party that included a video of storage rapper 3P and me shopping for computer junk at Weird Stuff?

The party was quite the who's who of the storage/virtualization/networking industry of Silicon Valley: TechValidate CEO Brad O'Neill (who also sponsored the party); from 3Par: raptastic blogger Marc Farley and marketing guy Craig Nunes; Bhava Communications folks Liz Zaborowska (founder and principal), Aaron Quinones and Dana Loberg; John Mark Troyer, the social media guy at VMware; Jim Sherhart of Data Robotics; Karriem Adams from MDS Micro; Jon Toor from Xsigo; a guy from Intel wearing a vintage black leather jacket, Georgiana Comsa of Silicon Valley PR, two people from HP--one of whom was Erin Collopy, who accepted an award for creating the whole "Field Day" concept--and many others. A crew from my client Ocarina Networks were there as well, including Mike Davis and CEO Murli Thirumale, who seemed to be getting along great with the participants--chatting amiably with Gestalt writers Edsai (Ed Saipetch) and StorageNerve (Devang Panchigar).

By Monday morning, I had recovered sufficiently from the craziness of Tech Field Day to attend a breakfast sponsored by
Louis Gray (if you don't know who this is, you might want to find out) for a startup he's working with, My6Sense. Louis has a new consulting company that is shaping up to be very interesting looking, Paladin Advisors. It was quite an honor to be invited, and I couldn't help but look around the room at all the social media heavies in attendance, like Chris Heuer, founder of Social Media Club and Adam Helweh of Secret Sushi, and wonder just what in the heck I was doing there.
But Louis, Adam and Chris were all very friendly. Turned out Adam even knew more about my last name than I do. Apparently, Mugrabi can mean "from Morocco." I was wrong and you were right, Adam, wherever you are. The my6sense guys were really cool, as well. They were both Israeli and so I was able to throw around the fact that as a spouse of an Israeli, I've actually been there and stuff. I've even hit the Tel Aviv club scene.

I got chatting afterwards with the CEO, a serial entrepreneur named Avinoam Rubinstein. He was suprisingly down-to-earth, and bore a striking resemblance to the singer Lyle Lovett. He didn't like that I referred to his company as a "filter" -- with an infrastructure based on artificial intelligence, this app is far more than just a content cheesecloth. Yet in essence that is what it does, taking the firehose of information and serving up a trickle of content that suits one's own reading habits. The difference: It has the eerie ability to figure out your interests before you know you have them. As Louis put it while introducing the company, "my6sense knows me better than I know myself."

The founder, Barak Hachamov was extremely articulate about the potential of the service they offer. His vision--to offer something as useful to a mobile audience as Google has been for search. Here's the pic I snapped of him:

Notice that big basket of toast? No one touched a single slice. Oh, and did I mention that the breakfast took place at the Ritz Carlton SF? Yes, a fancy spot, but one that required I climb a hill and some steps in order to get there from BART. Good thing I didn't wear heels.

And... as I just discovered today, Stephen Foskett and I will be speaking about social media and what we learned from Tech Field Day at an upcoming storage industry conference, The BD Event in San Francisco January 26-28. VaNessa Duplessie, the event organizer will also be part of that panel. If you're in any way connected to the storage industry, I suggest you attend this event. They had an extremely successful one in Boston, and now we're lucky enough to have one in Bay Area.

That's the tech gossip update for today. Be well, do good work, and party on, dude.


Rich said...

Hey Sunshine,

Thanks for the kind words and great coverage in your post! I wanted to let you know I contribute at GestaltIT.com too.

Thanks again!

Sunshine said...

Thanks Rich! I did know that. Added it in now.

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