Techweb’s Cloud Connect Conference And The Evolution Of Trade Shows

Greetings from after completing our first video shoot at Cloud Connect 2012 in Santa Clara. After forty years of covering trade shows some things change; some stay the same. I’ll never forget my first trade show back in the sixties at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC. It was the birth of the boutique era and the halls of the show were draped in gypsy caravan motifs with the smell of patchouli and marijuana lilting through the halls. There was lots of long hair, lots of facial hair, lots of headbands and comfortable clothing but not a whole lot of business going on and free enterprise never would have anticipated how far we’ve com in fifty years. Bras, at the time, were not in vogue, and comfortable shoes from moccasins to slippers were de rigueur. There were lots of smiles and friendly folks offering massages and interesting taste treats.

Flash forward to the pop disco seventies and the Hooter’s crowd was omnipresent and overweight guys hawking wares in double-knit suits with wide lapels replaced the hippy garb while giant companies gave away swag that was gobbled up by the masses. The eighties again offered a shift in style and substance. I made my transition from advertising in the textile apparel industry to the tech business and selling networks.

It was the Age of Hardware and left little room for the hawkers, who sold disposable goods, to guys who actually could explain the difference between a Local Area Network and client/server setup. Flashy babes still scattered the landscape but many wondered why. Then came the nineties and the birth of the World Wide Web, and, sure enough, the carnival show was back in bloom. But fast forward to Cloud Connect and the vibe is totally different. Though there was sprinkling of Betty Grable pumps and tight dresses, today the smell of revolution permeated the floor without the aromas of Marxist rhetoric, patchouli or pot. Instead we had enthusiasm and brilliance at an amazing level present and the shift was more than just remote stacks in the sky. It’s more about a playing field of opportunities that place the economic burden for hanging out your shingle off your budget.

For IT guys, however, you better bring your lunch because if you don’t get on board, someone else will be eating it. If there ever was a model for our free market enterprise, the cloud and its constituent parts are it. We spoke with folks like Gordon Haff Chief Evangelist at Red Hat, Lori McVittie Technical Marketing Manager at F5 Networks, Peder Ulander, vice president of product marketing for the Cloud Platform Group at Citrix, Dave McCrory at VMWare, Scott Sanchez, Director of Business Development for Rackspace Cloud Builders, Eric Farrar Product Manager at Sybase, Isabelle Guis VP of Marketing at start-up Big Switch and an interesting Cloud broker, Steve Crawford at Jamcracker.

We also interviewed attendees and tried to get a feel for their take on the Techweb conference which I thought was one of the best product shows in a long time. It was a show of human dynamics and really smart people on the cutting edge of our future. Check in at and join the chat and let us know what you would like to see next. Our plan is to follow up with some of the business’ security leaders at the RSA show which has evolved rapidly. It promises to be fun and exciting.


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