Building a better social network, attending DataCenterDynamics

I haven't blogged much the last few days as I was immersed in networking opportunities related to Data Center Dynamics San Francisco.  This is my 3rd Data Center Dynamics event in SF, but probably at least my 10th, attending events in Seattle, NY, Chicago, and London.  At each event my social data center network gets better and I have fun with the DCD gang.

I know the DCD crew well, and ran into one of DCD gang in the bar as I entered the Hilton through the bar, not through the lobby.  We continually joked he was invisible and not here as we saw each other through the event.  I always go the night before to DCD and meet up with the crew to see who is in town and chat.

So, what did I think about DCD SF. First, the networking opportunities are one of the best in industry.  When you see Google, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Intuit,, VMware, and a bunch of end users networking freely at an event something is working right.  The number of people from each company was interesting.  You can see who was leveraging the networking opportunity to learn more.  And, many had good things to say about the presentations.

One of the subtleties of networking is the quality of your relationships.  Seth Godin posted on the idea of signals.

The management of signals

There are two things we can get better at:

1. Getting accurate signals from the world. Right now, we take in information from many places, but we're not particularly focused on filtering the information that might be false, and more important, what might be missing.

2. Sorting and ranking information based on importance. We often make the mistake of ranking things as urgent, which aren't, or true, which are false, or knowable, when they're not.

Dealing successfully with times of change (like now) requires that you simultaneously broaden your reach, focus on what's important and aggressively ignore things that are both loud and false.

Easier said than done.

I happened to run into Dan Scarbrough at SFO as I was leaving the morning, and this post fit in with some ideas Dan and I talked about.

Dan Scarbrough

Dan is a co-founder of the DatacenterDynamics Conference and Expo Series and is the Managing Director of the company globally, with direct operational responsibility for the EMEA region. He has been working in Business to Business publishing for fifteen years, holding senior roles within UK based publishing companies including Campden Publishing and Sterling Publishing PLC.

We had an interesting chat on how people are becoming more open in discussing ideas at DCD.  I told Dan, it was interesting how the end users have figured out they can have deep conversations in the exhibit area and outsiders who want to meet them can't get in.  The vendors know if they bother attendees by trying to insert themselves in the conversations, they start off on the wrong foot, by interrupting a meeting.  The amount of vendor hovering is much lower than other data center conferences.  Vendors/salesman still try to get inserted, but they have less than 30 seconds usually as the high value attendees don't make themselves available for random introductions.

Part of the fun I have attending the conference is watching the patterns of interactions. Who is talking to who?  Who is there and who isn't?  Who has changed jobs?  Who is ramping up? Who is laying off?  Who is building? As Seth Godin's post mentions looking for accurate signals, testing facts with others who know, looking for correlations, filtering out the noise and prioritizing is important.

Being an engineer at HP, Apple, and Microsoft it is humorous that  I spend more time on people connections than the technology.

But, getting the people element right is part of being an Industrial Engineer.

Industrial Engineering (often now supplemented as "Industrial & Systems Engineering" or "Industrial & Operations Engineering") is a branch of engineering dealing with optimizing complex processes or systems. It is concerned with the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, materials and/or processes. It also deals with designing new product prototypes more efficiently. Industrial engineering draws upon the principles and methods of engineering analysis and synthesis, as well as the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering design to specify, predict, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems or processes. Its underlying concepts overlap considerably with certain business-oriented disciplines such as Operations Management, but the engineering side tends to greater emphasize extensive mathematical proficiency and utilization of quantitative methods.

FYI, Stephen Worn,DCD CTO is an industrial engineer as well.

Stephen Worn
CTO / Managing Director North America

Mr. Worn has been involved with industry-leading enterprises and clients around the world for over 20 years as an Industrial FMS and ICT Network and Facilities Engineer; with over eight years in Asia, across the Americas and again back on a pan-European level. Most recently Mr. Worn was the Head of Technology Services for Dimension Data UK, where he was also their acting Practice Manager for Data Centres and Intelligent Buildings.
Stephen has held senior management roles in Nortel Networks as their EMEA Senior Director of Datacentres, at Japan’s Nippon Suisan International, China’s National Center for Industry and Technology, as well as with the Center for Special Economic Zones. Mr. Worn has worked with other Asian multinationals, in addition to his BOD role with OT Partners.
Mr. Worn has supported DatacenterDynamics since its first conference as Chief Technical Advisor and Guest Conference Chairman. He is now Managing Director of North America for DatacenterDynamics as well as Global CTO, and acts as a Moderator at many of the most important events. He holds two masters' degrees.

Also, thanks for my blog readers who found me at DCD SF, it was great to know I can use my blog to connect with others who I may not know, and get to meet face-to-face at a data center event, building a better network.  I made some new connections that definitely fit in my network.