After 20 years in this industry and after having attended countless conferences and seminars, I am yet to see the perfect conference agenda.
That agenda looks something like this: 5pm: Pre Pre-dinner drinks. 6pm: Pre-dinner drinks. 7pm: Dinner. 9pm: Compulsory networking begins. 3am: Bedtime. 11.30am: Late breakfast. 12.30pm: Free time until 5pm.
I am not sure if many employers would approve the attendance at a conference like this, but I personally believe that the most important part of any conference is what happens outside the official conference sessions.
You tend to get the real deal when you are standing at the bar at that time of morning when you know you should be asleep.
I have just returned from a Kaseya conference in Vegas that was pretty close to the mark in terms of a conference agenda. I would love to tell you all about it but, as the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” so I can’t tell you a thing.
Ohh, OK. But just a little bit.
It all started by the pool. As any good conference should, it started at night with free drinks and semi-naked women performing poses that looked painful – but they kept smiling throughout so they must have been enjoying it. The semi-naked women also had body paint. Enough said.
So far so good – no sessions to attend, free drinks and entertainment. This is my kind of conference! After sticking to my normal personal conference agenda, I made it to bed by 3am.
The conference organisers were obviously very experienced and knew not to start the first sessions at a ridiculous time. Not quite my preferred 11.30am breakfast meeting but still a sensible 9am.
Day two started with comedian Wayne Cotter. The favourite joke for the day was Wayne’s simile for Windows. For IT Professionals, he compared Windows to a trophy wife.
It is expensive, high maintenance and even though we get a new version we have to keep supporting the old one. He also loved the fact that, for the first time in his life, he was talking to an audience that was happy that Windows was so annoying.
After the audience was suitably warmed, we saw some discussion of the future of IT from four Kaseya visionaries. Rather than death by PowerPoint, Wayne interviewed the four in a Tonight Show style interview.
The word I heard most often from these visionaries was integration. This word has often been thrown around but the next five years will involve the integration – and management – of all IT devices.
The concept will be to remotely manage and monitor absolutely anything connected to the network including PCs, mobile devices, routers, switches, printers, phones, Linux boxes, Macs, everything.
The attempted integration we have seen over the last five years is nothing compared to the total integration of all IT devices in the future.
Of course cloud computing gained a mention and the first specific application that Kaseya believes will take off is online backup – which we are already starting to see in Australia.
Once upload speeds increase I believe we will see much greater activity in this space. Why rely on a client to swap a device each day when it can be all backed up online?
Guy Kawasaki then delivered the keynote. In keeping with the Tonight Show theme, he gave a speech entitled the “Top 10 approach to all speeches”.
Apart from a number of interesting concepts in the Top 10, the greatest tip he delivered was to visit twitterhawk. This is the greatest technology marketing tool I have seen.
This tool will monitor Twitter for nominated keywords and then deliver automatic tweets to direct people to your site. It is close to spam for Twitter – but very effective in marketing. Have a look at it.
After a great morning, the highlight for day two for a non-gambling individual such as myself was the entertainment on the second night. It was the most comprehensive fake gambling environment I have ever seen.
More food, more drinks and free fake gambling chips. We could all satisfy our gambling desires without losing a single cent. I proved to myself that I cannot gamble and proceeded to lose $1000 of fake money in record time.
With more of the same on day three, this conference was close to my preferred agenda – but please let me know if anyone is organising a conference that has my perfect agenda. Let me know all about your favourite conference at firstname.lastname@example.org.