As some of you know, I’ve joined TECHunplugged earlier in 2017 at Arjan Timmerman‘s proposition after our dear friend Enrico Signoretti (who founded TECHunplugged) accepted a position of Head of Product Strategy at OpenIO.
Today, I would like to cover the value proposition of the TECHunplugged conference and why it makes sense to attend our events. By the way, you can always find more information about our events, sponsors and influencers on our website.
Here are four reasons why you should be attending TECHunplugged. I will develop these further, each in its own subsection.
- A unique conference format
- A great community
- Thought-provoking influencer sessions
- Networking with peers & industry experts
A unique conference format
TECHunplugged brings together vendors, respected industry influencers and also end-users from various horizons.
A word on industry influencers first. Our influencers are industry veterans with a long standing operational experience, many of them are currently or have been operating in the world of enterprise IT. This experience, combined with their own knowledge and expertise of the IT industry landscape makes them well positioned to talk about today’s trends & challenges without succumbing to the hype of the moment. Their points of view may vary, but not their passion – they also often bring a sobering reality check to the conference, putting in context the vendor messaging versus the realities of everyday’s enterprise IT challenges and requirements.
Our sponsors are very important as well – not only because they help us finance the event, but mainly because they are the ones spearheading innovation and technological advances in our industry. Many vendors employ passionate technologists who have been in touch with specific business challenges and have worked extensively to come up with a solution to those problems. Whether we talk about industry giants or emerging startups, our goal at TECHunplugged is to prepare our events in a way that can deliver the best learning value to our attendees, which is why we spend a lot of time engaging with the right vendors.
Finally last but certainly not least, our conference attendees, the customers & end users who work daily in dynamic and sometimes challenging environments. We try hard at TECHunplugged to involve our attendees into the discussions, whether through Ask Me Anything panels, through mingling & chatting during breaks, or through the informal TECHbeers event the night before the conference, which is always a great place to engage informally.
A great community
Our community consists of enthusiast IT professionals from different backgrounds who not only share a passion for IT and technology but also look at learning, staying up-to-date on the latest trends, and even going one further step ahead into the next wave of innovation.
The TECHunplugged community is diverse and includes decision makers as well as decision influencers, with attendees coming from senior management, technical operation and architecture & engineering positions, each operating in varied industries and each with their very own requirements and business challenges.
Our goal is to extend the community aspect further, and gradually move from a consumption model (conference, event videos and upcoming podcast) towards an online community with regular updates (newsletter), and a place for people to talk, engage and exchange. Arjan and I are considering what can be the next steps here.
Thought-provoking influencer sessions
Those of you who have already attended TECHunplugged conferences know what this is about. Our friend Enrico himself was no stranger to this approach with many blog posts or sessions that gave readers & attendees a new perspective on things or food for thought.
It is in this spirit that we continue the venture by engaging with passionate industry influencers who are known not just for their well of knowledge & wisdom, but also for an acute understanding of enterprise IT business needs, as well as where the industry is headed at.
Those sessions are the raison d’être (reason to exist) of TECHunplugged, the crème de la crème (the cream of the cream, pardon my French). Attendees have a lot of expectations from these, which is why we always see a surge of registrations once influencers are announced. Like a chef’s recipe, the message is delivered with great professionalism but also with a little spoon of creativity, a pinch of humour here, a little drop of irony or sarcasm there, in a nutshell this is never just boiled rice.
Networking with peers & industry experts
TECHunplugged is a great way for our attendees to engage not just between each other (after all, we all have experiences to share about how we do things, and most of us are also willing to learn), but also with vendors and influencers (and why not with organizers too!).
The size of the event (which usually consists of up to 100 attendees) makes it ideal to reach out to other people, on the opposite of big vendor conferences where attendees have a fully packed agenda and are usually running between sessions. Our coffee breaks, lunch and and pre-event socialisation evening (TECHbeers) make it easier to engage informally around a glass of your favorite drink (we’re perfectly fine if you prefer water, fruit juice, tea or whatever is your cup of coffee) or while having a bite.
Why should you attend conferences, and TU in particular, beyond the reasons above?
I first engaged with TECHunplugged in 2015 in London. It was an eye-opening moment for me. I had engaged with the VMware community (our broader IT community has evolved since) mainly online until then, but attending an event meant I had a chance to meet other IT professionals, online friends and also renowned influencers.
Retrospectively it proved to be a pivotal moment in my professional career because I was introduced to many community friends and influencers at an informal evening there, and I was also introduced that day to a certain person (Stephen Foskett himself), which was a great honor. A few months later I would be invited to attend my first Tech Field Day Extra at Cisco Live. From there, you know the story…
So I hope this post has given you an overview of what we do at TECHunplugged. And I also hope it has inspired you to join us at our next events! Our next one is in New York, if you haven’t registered yet, please head over here!