Driving Data Center Change, one event at a time

Today Steve Manos is hosting the latest "Lee Technologies on Tap" event in Chicago.  I've seen the list of attendees, and I would go if I hadn't made vacation plans 6 months ago.

A typical data center event will be organized around a theme and revenue model.  The revenue comes from a combination of sponsorship and paid attendees.  But, something is wrong when attendees pay to hear from those who have the most amount of sponsorship money.  To maximize revenue, the event organizers will get guest speakers to draw in the attendees and the sponsors as how important the event is.  Which is all part of the game/method in running events.  Sometimes event organizers can even get additional revenue by selling the speaking slots on the side.  Now for those of you who get guest speaking spots that are not vendors you may be thinking I don't have to pay, but you are most of the time the filler that pads around the vendor speaking positions.  The event people sprinkle a few around and it looks like an industry event.

What is wrong with this?  After 2 or three events you find you aren't learning much.  The main reason you go to the events is to network with other in the industry.

What happens if you change the event model and make networking the purpose of an event? So people want to attend to network not just meeting people, but discussing issues that are important in data centers.  No presentations is the rule.  Being able to go to an event on a regular basis with peers in your local area to drink a few beers creates a self-organizing dynamic.  Those users who are discussing important issues have a following.  Those users who blow a lot of air and are self absorbed sound just as shallow as the salesman.  If you are one of the lucky few vendors who get to attend you need to be careful not to drop into a sell mode, probing details about data center equipment that are clearly ways you are looking to sell your product. (what is a common practice at typical data center events.)  If you share your ideas and listen to others you can stay.

The popularity of Steve Manos's method is growing and it doesn't hurt that Mike Manos will be there as well.

Ironically, I think people, vendors and attendees, would pay to go to the event now that it has critical mass.  Maybe the event should be run as the "Data Center Club."  Focusing on the business networking is driving discussions and information exchange people want. 

This challenges the typical rule of Data Centers like "Fight Club".

Wal-Mart, Data Centers and The Fight Club Rule

June 3rd, 2006 : Rich Miller

“The first rule of Fight Club is – you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is – you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.”

Some companies take the Fight Club approach with their data centers. You DO NOT talk about the data centers. One of these companies is Wal-Mart, which has piqued the curiosity of the media with its closed-mouth response to curiosity about the company’s 125,000 square foot data center in Joplin, Mo. The Joplin Globe describes it as a “building that Wal-Mart considers so secret that it won’t even let the county assessor inside without a nondisclosure agreement.” Wal-Mart gladly supplied them with more ammunition. “This is not something that we discuss publicly,” Wal-Mart senior information officer Carrie Thum told the paper. “We have no comment. And that’s off the record.”

Fight club was viral.

More fight clubs form across the country, and they become the anti-materialist and anti-corporate organization called "Project Mayhem"

Lee Technologies on Tap is having its first Atlanta event hosted by Eric Gallant today as well.