Cloud oh sorry I mean….Clown Vendors.

VMWorld 2012 Disclosure Statement

So VMWorld 2012 is my first true IT convention.  I have done regional education conferences, industry conferences like HIMMS and some trade show type stuff to promote my company.  But for a true IT convention this is it.  I am going to start by saying there is a lot of amazing stuff going on here and I mean A LOT.  But I am going to cover that in another post or twelve.

My focus for this post is the number of people who are not here for the right reasons and this includes the vendors.  I am going to go way out of my way to not name anyone by name but if your here your going to associate quickly.  When I think about these conferences these should be really cool venues to put your best foot forward.  This is for vendors, partners, clients, press and anyone else who bothers to show up.  Since I have been here I have seen quite a few people doing just that.  But sadly I think there are quite a few people who are here to waste their employers money.

So let me say if your trying to sell me a product don’t start with a gimmick!  If I have never heard of you then a chance at an new sports car might get me to let you scan my badge but it wont help you sell me a product.  I WANT Substance!  Ask me about my company, ask me about what problems we solve or need solved.  Engage your technical staff and have them available.  DO NOT put F’ing magicians, mind readers, jugglers, pro skate boarders, unicyclists  and booth babes in your booth.  If you do I wont talk to you and neither should anyone else.  By doing these thing you tell me how little confidence you have in your product to begin with.  If you think you need to entertain me to stick around for the real reason your here in the first place then you really have nothing to show me.  Just to wrap this up its cool if you want to give cool stuff out to help spread the word or say thanks for  someone get put into your lead generation system.  But do so respecting yourself, your product and the intelligence of your prospective clients!

Now on to you Ass Hats who call your self IT professionals.  If you just spent $3000 to $8000 or so of your company’s training budget to come to an IT conference to get vendors to give you cheap plastic toys, get 100 tshirts, grope booth babes and in general act like a drunk assholes please quit coming.  There is a huge segment of the IT professional population that fights every year for time and budget to attend events like this and you half wit punks make it harder for them to get here so just stop!  And for crying out loud have some self respect.  You have no idea if you could go from making $50,000 a year to making $250,000 a year by making the right contacts at an event like this and elevating yourself.  Don’t get me wrong if a vendor wants to say thank you for a purchase or wine you and dine you once you have showed interest in their product great but when you leave don’t be so trashed that the homeless people on the way back to the hotel are appalled by your behavior!

I know I am a buzzkill.  But I don’t care.  Some of the behavior I have seen this week would prompt me to fire people if it was my staff acting this way on our employers dime.



  1. dude says:

    I think you missed the last decade of the business world.
    Exhibitions/conventions/.. are for the marketing people from vendors to meet the managers from customers. Or in economics-talk the sellers meet the buyers. Nowadays decisions are not done by experts.. decisions are done by people who own the budgets.
    And these people can behave in any way they like.. See the case of RIM managers on the plane.. or Strauss Kahn.. etc.
    If sellers don’t need to impress by quality.. they impress by stuff the decision makers want.. booth babes and booth booze..
    Welcome to the new world of IT..
    PS: by reading dilbert you should already know these things even if they don’t release you from your cellar room..

    • Josh says:

      Hey dude… how about we post as who you are it would make this a better conversation. As for your statements I 1000% disagree. That is the old model not the new model. You don’t see EMC, Cisco, Netapp, Microsoft, Nutanix, Solarwinds, Spirent and/or lots more of the top tier vendors using Tits and Ass or swag as their selling model. The C Suite is more and more savy and I say this as a recently promoted CTO. And by the way CiscoLive does not allow Booth Babes neither does CES now…hmmm gald to see we in IT are being elevated past knuckle draggers and small head thinkers.

      We no longer live in an age where the vendors control the only message and that IT has unlimited funds. Now the customer has the ability to control the message and drive the discussion. As for the budget I’m not sure who you work for but in my last 8 years of consulting all the IT teams I supported were forced to do more with less and as a CTO I have to show value and every dollar I spend. So giving me a $600 ipad vs me spending $5000 in my staff going to a trade show really is not a great trade. I will buy them an iPad and send them, it still is more economic than them spending 3 to 4 days getting hammered, pissing people off and trying to be the 1 guy out of 30,000 that win an iPad.

      And thanks for telling me I am irrelevant since I have not been at a IT centric trade show in the past. For the past decade I have been growing out my career and getting out of jump jobs to increase 30% model and aligning my knowledge set to make a difference in the market. That now allows me to invest a significant portion of my time helping other people grow out their careers and Biz models. Ask my vendors if they are better off for my lessons learned and what I bring to the table as an informed client. And in 10 years ask my staff of Class A players if they are better off for me being able to focus on them and give them opportunities I never had.

      As for reading dilbert yeah…keep reading I will keep working. I don’t mind pissing you off I don’t need the traffic. I saw what I saw and I feel how I feel. If you want to discuss this offline and clarify your point feel free to contact me you can do it on twitter or via linkedin.

      Oh yea…dude…who are you? Who do you work for? What do you do? I hope you were not the guy who spent you employers money the in good faith only to spend you time collecting pictures of you with booth babes to hang around your neck today and tell me that you would not buy a product if they did not give you a nice gift.

  2. Devin Akin says:

    Excellent blog! When I was at CWNP, we had a booth at Interop for 3 years. It always sucked. The leads were always worthless. The whole experience was a waste of our money. There was so much noise and confusion that we couldn’t get anyone to listen to or understand anything. We even did the “booth babe” thing (Scott’s girlfriend at the time) trying to get people to pay attention. It was pointless…because everyone had a booth babe of course. We had something valuable to offer the industry, and among all of those giant marketing budgets paying for noise and distractions, something of real value got drowned out. We stopped going to Interop…or any shows. Instead, we started investing in people. Experts. Grassroots efforts. THAT worked. It was slow-but-sure. Then later, Aerohive (I think everyone knows where I work) has taken the same approach – leveraging relationships of employees. We don’t do booths at those big trade events. We do some small trade events here and there, and when we do, it’s kept very simple — just tell people what we do, why it’s important, and see if it can help them with their problems. If not, OK. We’re only here to help, and if we can’t, we can’t.

    Investing in relationships with people (employees, partners, and customers), one-by-one-by-one is slower, sure, but better and long-lasting and has more value for everyone. Here’s kind of a working creed we go by:

    *Integrity, respect, and teamwork in all things.
    *Employees are valuable and important.
    *Without customers and partners, I’m a volunteer.

    The rest of that stuff is just irrelevant noise. Our company and products either help you or they don’t, and we should have the good sense to know which after having a real conversation with you…not entertaining you with magicians. :) Dang I liked this blog…and Josh’s comments were getting me all fired up. :P Woohoo!

    Devin Akin
    Chief Wi-Fi Architect
    Aerohive Networks

    • Josh says:

      Thanks. I was really unsure who this would go down but so far the response is overwhelmingly positive. I would love to see you guys at shows but I understand why you don’t. I think Nutanix got some amazing opportunities at this show but they did so by leveraging relationships, showing the tech and making the technical people available. So your spot on in your assessment of what it takes to win in this industry.

      I really hope that we can drive this mentality throughout IT. Because I was really disappointed to see the quality of some of the people “doing IT”. We need to fix that. IT is way more than a troll in a basement now days. We drive business, help companies find new revenue lines and we innovate no matter if your a help-desk tech or the CEO of Cisco. It is our jobs people need to remember that.

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