After a year off in 2014 and no trip to Cisco Live!, and a significant change in my career and personal life it was time to return to #CLUS. It would appear many of my colleagues from the event also took 2014 off. It was unfortunate to miss San Francisco.
How the landscape has changed, with a new “Cisco Champions” program and a modified Social Hub – everything didn’t feel as organic as it used to be. Tom Hollingsworth @networkingnerd wrote a great article on some of the changes http://networkingnerd.net/2015/06/16/thoughts-on-cisco-live-2015/
This year my focus was on Security, WoS, DevNet, IoT and Wireless. Trying to figure out the landscape and how technology is evolving as I re-enter the partner marketplace after a few years off.
The entire social experience felt different this year, sponsored scavenger hunts and yellow capes. Is this really organic? The same gang that I missed last year was still here – but now it feels like there is some kind of line in the sand – the group did not feel as inviting as it previously did, and I found myself feeling like a newbie all over again. Is Cisco encouraging the type of engagement they want? Cash and prizes for the most re-tweeted photo, or for visiting the most World of Solutions booths on the scavenger hunt. Every time I went by the Social Media Hub the staff commented on the quality of my content, and the engagement I was receiving from the rest of the community. However, I didn’t spend my time taking selfies in the World of Solutions. My point is not to be dis-ingenious, but to look at the bigger picture. In 2013 in Orlando – Cisco focused on online influencers and engagement, those with retweets and engagement on legitimate content, and not antics. The message seems lost in social this year.
This year I was asked if I could provide some comments on the event, and how I felt about digital disruption. If you watch the Chambers and tech keynotes, you will see me there. Not sure if I was there to add some humanity or as the butt of a joke but it was my 15 seconds. Like I said, they ended up with a good blooper reel. The display was a genuine display of me that is for sure.
I did meet a few very influential people this year, one of note was “The Fish” @denisefishburne – www.networkingwithfish.com a team lead in the Cisco Customer Proof of Concept Lab and an expert troubleshooter. I was introduced by @amyengineer and instantly something was different about “The Fish”, it was more that her addiction was troubleshooting, bring up a problem and her eyes light up like a teenager on redbull. A skill that I have always found sacred with any IT professional. After listening to her session on being a “Network Detective” it was obviously that Denise was extremely skilled at her trade and I began to read everything I could on her blog. I was honored to attend a social event where we were able to discuss at length various troublesome topics and I was a little star struck. Denise if you are reading this – late on Thursday night (or was it Friday morning) I told you how important your work is to our industry, to the future of young professionals to learn from your experience. I wasn’t kidding. Thank you for sharing your experience and skill with the rest of us.
This comes back to “I don’t live on Social Media” – as much as I enjoy the interaction, I do not have time to scour the web, and read blog after blog, and keep up on twitter. We only have enough time in our days, and between family and other things – I wish I could dedicate more time. Some say that if it was important to me I would make the time.
So why blog now? I suppose as I get older it provides me with some kind of method of getting my thoughts down somewhere. If you go back and look on the “Twitter List” published for the event, you will not see my previous account (@grinthock) mentioned anywhere. As a bit of a social outcast, I have never been the person who signs up for these types of events. I have always felt like a bit of the outsider, as someone who does technology for a living, and while technology is my life, I have many passions in life, performance rally, amateur radio and community service.
This blog will contain mostly my musings, thoughts and opinions on technology subjects. Will someone read them? Maybe and maybe not. I tried to cover the #CLUS event on twitter as best I could by providing insights to others on twitter about the event as best as I could. Some people commented about my coverage in positive and negative, some attended sessions the next day based on my content. For that I felt like I did the job right.
The organization I work for has over 500+ Cisco practice team members, and only a small number will go to Live! each year and while next year the company may not send me – I will be there either way. I cannot miss the friends, people and influencers that I experience.