Being an old timer (30 years) in the tech industry I have had my share of conferences. Many times I have worked with the conference staff on executive keynotes given by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer when I was at Microsoft which can be pretty stressful and you get a feeling of what works and what doesn't.
One of the teams I have had great conversations with is the Data Center Dynamics staff. For all the times I have gone to AFCOM, Gartner Data Center World, and Uptime though I have never interacted with their staff when attending as a blogger. And, as any one who knows me I am pretty social in the data center area, so its not like I avoid them. Which doesn't bother me as I know plenty of the attendees and I can keep myself busy networking, and don't really need anything from their staff.
6 months ago, I went to my first 7x24 Exchange conference. I hadn't gone to 7x24 even though i had heard good things and i was plenty busy going to the other data center conferences. This week was my second 7x24 Exchange conference, and I have met all the Board of Directors and the support staff. I am usually talking to one of the Board members every other week on data center ideas not necessarily related to 7x24, but because they are great people to discuss new data center ideas.
So, my #1 reason why I like 7x24 Exchange is i find it is one of the better places for data center thought leadership to be supported. There may be other conferences where you are trying to get new business for existing services, but where do you go to discuss new services that don't exist? At 7x24 Exchange I saw friends from Google, Facebook, eBay, AOL, Apple, Dell, DLBassoc, HP/EYP, Goldman Sachs, Syska, Turner, and many more. 7x24 Exchange may not have the largest attendance, but when it comes to being able to spend time with quality people in a good environment, I like 7x24. There are nice long breaks and the format is set up to socialize.
So, my #2 reason is actually just a different version of #1 is the Board of Directors and staff at 7x24 are great people to talk to. Who did i chat with this week?
Chairman of the Board
Robert J. Cassiliano
Director - Chapter Representative
Executive Vice President
Syska Hennessey Group
Kathleen A. Dolci
Membership & Education
Tara Oehlmann, Ed.M.
Brandon A. Dolci, CMP
And, I know I'll have many more conversations with 7x24 Exchange staff as I have ideas for another presentation for the Spring Event.
Also, in talking to others at 7x24 Exchange, they share the disappointment of attending many of the other data center conferences. My current plan for 2012 is to go to 7x24 Exchange in the Spring and Fall which allows me to meet 90% of the data center people I want to meet, then instead of going to a bunch of other data center conferences to reach the other 10%. I'll be going to the SF hosted GigaOm events where I get more new ideas and meet people who need data centers, but they don't necessarily build them. http://event.gigaom.com/
Who is GigaOm? I find very few people I run into in the data center industry know them. The GigaOm blog has 200 times the unique users I do.
Disclosure: Over the past two months I have signed up to be a freelance analyst for GigaOm Pro on the data center industry.