I lead what could only be described as a very busy work schedule. In between my blogging commitments, customer meetings, admin duties and working on designing new architectures I then try to find a few hours each week to continue my research efforts towards a PhD in analytics. Needless to say that my desk usually has a few empty coffee cups, half empty cans of Redbull and a monitor stand made out of empty pizza boxes… Maybe there could still be a few slices left in them?
So a few weeks ago management here at Teradata asked me if I wanted to attend our Teradata PARTNERS event from the 18-22 October in Anaheim CA.
PARTNERS is where a lot of the marketing hype is cut out and replaced by presentations delivered by our customers to our customers. For example, you will hear how Sony pictures moved from a Teradata Enterprise platform to an appliance platform because it better suited their needs (sessionID# 3284) or how Vodafone uses analytics and automation to create personalized customer journeys(sessionID#3130). There’s literally something for everyone!
The presenters just don’t talk about what the technology can do but rather they talk about what the technology has done and the benefits it has given them and continues to deliver. It’s one of those rare moments where customers can stand tall and bask about their achievements. After all, humans crave recognition and Teradata PARTNERS is where it is best acknowledged.
Of course such requests to attend come with this vision of flying in a lie-flat bed for 12 hours from Sydney to LA, followed by a week of free buffet foods, cocktail receptions and of course the obligatory trip to Disneyland to pick up gifts for the kids.
However those visions are quickly replaced by the stark realities of flying at the back of the plane in a cramped seat surrounded by screaming babies that seem to have a lung capacity of a 25-year-old, plane food that looks like it was reheated five times before being stepped on, and not to forget that I always end up with some type of travel bug followed by trying to still do all of my work remotely because my normal life just doesn’t get paused for a week.
So I politely declined such a tempting offer and instead opted for the Teradata Partners virtual conference from the 19th-21st of October. Now virtual conferences sound like a corporate policy effort designed to cut down on travel costs and yes it is extremely cheap to register, however I don’t see it as a cheap way out for the following reasons:
- Access to sessions live as they happen means I can pick and choose which sessions to view and watch the replays of the ones that I would have missed if I had of been there in person. The old adage of not being in two places at the same time definitely rings true when attending in the physical sense as they always put two really good sessions on at the same time!
- I get the luxury of watching those sessions when it suits me. Because I can watch the sessions right from my laptop or mobile device I can fit in 20 mins on the bus on my way to work, another 20 on the way home and then sneak in a bit more time once every member of my household has gone to sleep. I fit it in when it suits me rather than change my plans.
- I can replay a critical part of a session and take notes which I would have otherwise missed being there in person. Plus I have access to the webcasts for months afterwards.
- You get access to the virtual expo hall where anyone can ask experts in real-time questions about the technology they represent. It’s often very hard to get face time with them at a normal conference, so this method ensures I get access to them a lot easier.
- The backlog of home tasks don’t occur because I’m still around to ensure they get done.
Click here for further information on 2015 Virtual PARTNERS Conference.
So this year I’m putting the beats headphones on, grabbing a few cold beers, ordering a few pizzas and kicking back in my pyjamas whilst I go virtual. Checkout the virtual schedule and see for yourself how much you could learn without leaving the couch.
Now if only my kids could understand the concept of virtual Mickey Mouse plush toys.
Ben Davis is a Senior Architect for Teradata Australia based in Canberra. With 18 years of experience in consulting, sales and technical data management roles, he has worked with some of the largest Australian organisations in developing comprehensive data management strategies. He holds a Degree in Law, A post graduate Masters in Business and Technology and is currently finishing his PhD in Information Technology with a thesis in executing large scale algorithms within cloud environments.
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