I have flown in and out of Dallas/Ft. Worth International (DFW) airport for many years and it’s a familiar setting, in fact this month alone, I flew through DFW last week to get to and from San Antonio (SAT) to deliver a keynote talk on “The Wide Wide World of Archiving: Life Beyond Compliance” at a event for IT professionals and customers. Next week I get to fly in and out of DFW again to deliver a keynote talk at a dinner roundtable event on BC/DR and data protection for virtualized environments in Plano. Plano if you are not familiar is the home of EDS, now a division of HP, as well as other large nationally and internationally known firms.
This week I racked up another trip in and out of DFW to attend the fall 2008 SNW event for the day.
SNW has become a commuter event, that is, an event that can easily be covered in a day, or, depending on the venue and how out of the way for flights, maybe an overnight event as opposed to what it used to be which was usually at least a couple of days and couple of nights. I was able to catch an early morning flight to Dallas that had be in the lobby for coffee and conversations at the Gaylord Hotel before 9AM, was able to meet and visit people until after 6PM before catching my evening flight home.
Now for those concerned about my carbon footprint for flying down for the day, talking with the pilot who gave me some numbers to work with, the average was about 45.5 miles per gallon per passenger to make the less than 2 hour flight both ways enabling an efficient use of time for the day. Granted, not all destinations or venues are as easy for getting in and out of as DFW depending on where you are coming from or going.
Contrary to what you might here, there were actually some real IT users/customers in attendance at SNW in Dallas, at least there were on Tuesday when I was there as I talked to several that I know and others that introduced themselves that I did not know before.
On the flip side, as usual with SNW, vendors and vars out numbered the number of users or IT pro’s at the event which has been the trend for sometime now which should not be a surprise as SNW is 1st and foremost a vendor to vendor, vendor to var, vendor to media and analyst event. It’s interesting to hear vendors who want to get IT or end user leads complain that they pay so much to be at SNW yet get few good qualified leads, or, of the vendors who complain that there are no vendors to talk about partnerships with when they go to Storage Decisions.
The corollary here is that the vendors who have messages and solutions targeted towards end users as opposed to vars or other vendors, talk about the cost of Storage Decisions, yet also talk about all of the qualified leads and business that they get coming out of the events that covers their costs of participating.
Likewise the vendors and vars I talk with that are pleased with their investments at SNW comment that they got some end user or IT professional leads for their direct or channel sales or for their partners, however that the number and quality of meetings with other vendors or vars.
On the flip-side, for a non vendor storage centric event for IT pro’s or what the vendors call users or buyers, Storage Decisions events in Chicago, Toronto, New York and San Francisco have large turnouts or for the mega shows, there are the vendor events including VMworld, Oracle, EMC World and so forth not to mention Super Computing and NAB or in Europe SNW Europe and the Storage Expo series among others. Speaking of Storage Expo, I will be crossing the pond in an energy efficient Airbus A330-300 to do a key note at the Dutch event in Utrecht Netherlands on November 12th, 2008.
Bottom line is worth going to SNW for the day for some face to face meetings, catching up with those whom I have not seen at any of the other events recently as well as meeting some new people. By leveraging pre- and post-briefings, meetings at other events, effective and efficient use of time and resources made a day trip to SNW worthwhile as a commuter or day event.