Going to data center events are great ways to network. And, honestly I learn very little from the presentations, other than different ways to present the same material or how slow progress is being made in the data center industry. I learn 10x times more as I talk to others before, during and after the events. I am driven to network to learn.
When I was young, I was one of the smallest and quietest kids in class. I was introverted, and it is easy to go back to an introverted mode as I think and research topics. Thinking of things by myself is easy. But, there is so much more you can do when you work with others. I left Microsoft 4 years ago after 14 years mostly working on Windows. Microsoft has an immense network inside and outside the company. I needed to create a new network to work on some new ideas. I didn't want to start a company with employees, but I like developing innovative solutions.
Some people join other companies right away, but I took a year off to think about what I wanted to do. and started the green data center blog as part of a way to research the topic and socialize ideas.
When I left Microsoft my son was 2, and will be 6 next month. He has a special gift of networking, a talented extrovert. Socializing is natural for him, allowing him to build a large strong network. He can play sports with 3rd graders, the 5th grade girls think he is cool, and he makes high school kids laugh.
How good is he? He is in kindergarten, and he is one of the most popular cool kids at school. Yes, we have had many parents warn us we are going to have interesting challenges given his social skills and popularity.
On his own he wanted to be in the school's talent show. He is in kindergarten and wants to solo perform in front of the school. He has his own idea of what he wants to do, makes up his own dance, and won't listen to any help from his mom who is a talented dancer. He's got his own vision.
How popular is he? He gets applause and people call out his name when he walks on stage, receiving more attention than most get after they perform.
He's been practicing his moves.
His smile is natural and effective.
He knows how to create intensity.
And finishes with a bow, then another, and another as the crowd claps.
I can't even come close to what my 5 year old can do, but I keep on trying to learn from his natural talent to network. :-)