Are We Doing the Storage Industry a Disservice (#SNWUSA)?
Storage is hot.
There I said it.
If there’s one thing that is resonating loud and clear from the Santa Clara Convention Center, home to the Spring Storage Networking World Conference (#SNWUSA), there are still a large number --2,000+ if you believe some -- that "heart" storage and are alive and well. While I have waxed poetically in the past about the prospects for SNW, here, here and here, the age old questions still remain.
Will the conference remain relevant? Will conference attendees find value in the content and associations from the event itself?
While I won’t tackle either of those questions directly in this post, there is one thing that is troubling at the moment about SNW. Gone is the obvious buzz. Gone is the jostling among reporters to be the first to break news. And, gone is some of the excitement from years past.
Give Credit Where It Is Due
With that said, the event has turned less in to a high school reunion of sorts where many used to go and see what company someone had landed. Or, what was the latest emerging company to leverage the conference as a launch vehicle. But, with fewer start-ups and emerging companies cropping up in storage these days, it’s no surprise.
With that said, give credit where credit is due. Now at least the conference is doing more to embrace social media and those pioneering or blazing that trail in the storage industry. Some of it is direct influence as evidenced by The InfoSmack Podcast (co-hosted by Greg Knieriemen and Marc Farley), which has already begun posting content directly from interviews conducted at the conference. And The Cube, creation of John Furrier with support from Dave Vellante at Wikibon and others, is broadcasting fast and furious. Twitter conversations also are picking up, especially around keynote and session activities; 500+ tweets and counting as of this posting.
Broadening the mix from traditional media (press and analysts) to invite key bloggers and even creating a “social media room” next to the media room are steps in the right direction. Credit also goes to those active, and in many cases, downright prolific in social media circles: the first #StorageBeers tied to #SNWUSA was a huge success.
Some of the greatest minds and voyeurs in social media were in attendance. With many of the twitterati and bloggerati under the tent at the Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale, a short hop and a skip from the Convention Center itself, it was great to hear, see and experience what makes the storage industry as exciting as it is. And, it’s true, it’s great to put names, faces and avatars together directly. Although, you have to brace yourself for the feedback. Yes, I wish I was 6’ 3” but we’re not always blessed with DNA to produce height.
The main questions surrounding the future of SNW remain. How do you bottle these pockets of goodness and excitement to help service the broader industry as a whole? Hopefully, those media, analysts and bloggers in attendance will do the industry the service it deserves by sharing thoughts, candid and anecdotal, and make suggestions on how to move the conference back to its former status as the jewel of the storage industry crown.
But with fewer companies making "noise" or leveraging the conference as a launch vehicle, that may be tough. And when you couple that with the fact there are now fewer media focused on all the nuances of the storage industry than ever before, that doesn't bode well either.
How many end users stopped by your booth? The only way to ensure that happens is to make the content compelling and to continue to evolve the conference as THE venue for storage news, opinions and discussions.
Let's hope that journey continues.