Changing The Value of Going to Data Center Conferences from focusing on Content to Friends

Update: as much as this may seem a bit of extreme.  I just thought of three friends, maybe four who are going to the same cities to see friends.


I had lunch yesterday with a data center executive yesterday who is a good friend.  We caught up on a bunch of different things, then we talked about conferences - Uptime Symposium, AFCOM, 7x24 Exchange are all coming up.   AFCOM is end of Apr.  Uptime is 3rd week of May.  and 7x24 is first week of June.  And as much as I was not trying, I am going to all three.  Well I am going to the cities, not attending all three conferences.  

So what got me to go to three conferences in less than 6 weeks?  Friends.

The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

Ralph Emerson said, “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.”

Most would think you want to go to a conference for the content.  Content is nice, but friends are more valuable.

Here is what my plans are.  

I fly in to LV on Apr 29, awesome $200 roundtrip airfare from SEA to LAS.  Stay at the Westin for less than $150. Go to a party.  Participate in a 10a Apr 30 GigaOm Webinar on Taking the Guesswork out of Operational Expenses: Quantifying the Value of Uptime  Fly home on Apr 30.  Not going to AFCOM.

May 20 - 23, SEA to SJC.  Have one company party on May 22.  Another party I am hosting on May 21.  Lots of other friends to see that are in town.  Not planning on attending Uptime Symposium, but will most likely need to go to the hotel bar to meet others who are in town.

June 1-4, SEA to FLL.  Will attend 7x24 Exchange. Sit in presentations.  Attend event parties.  See lots of friends.

What finally got me to go to all three locations in 6 weeks are the friends who I knew would be there.  The content isn’t as important which is why 2 out of 3 I don’t plan on attending the conference.  

Here is a description of 8 different types of roles for friendship.  Below are the three I plan on focusing on going to the above events.

5. Connector

“A connector is a bridge builder. …. Connectors get to know you — and then introduce you to others” (111). Connectors are always inviting you to lunch and other gatherings where you can meet new people, and point you in the right direction when you need something.

6. Energizer

“Energizers are your ‘fun friends’ who always give you a boost. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends. Energizers are quick to pick you up when you’re down — and can make a good day great” (117).

7. Mind Opener

‘Mind Openers are the friends who expand your horizons and encourage you to embrace new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They challenge you to think in innovative ways and help you create positive change. Mind Openers know how to ask good questions, and this makes you more receptive to ideas” (123).