2013 – Cisco Figures Out Social
In 2013, I was lucky enough to be allowed to return to Live!, this time in Orlando. I felt much better prepared for this event. Booking early enough to be in the hotel right beside the convention centre means no 100+ degree walking outside. As everyone knows, book early to get the sessions you want and I was able to book everything I wanted to see.
On arrival day we were presented with a beautiful new Social Hub from Cisco. Screens and leaderboards, and a scavenger hunt game here and there. We felt supported by Cisco – but not controlled. A beautiful white carpeted space with loungers, tables, and a semi-private area hidden behind the social hub. Cisco welcomed us with open arms with receptions, food and drink and the community and Cisco started to build a relationship. Just like any social group there were lovers and haters, up’s and down’s and the occasional pre-madonna. Let us be honest, in a group full of geeks and nerds there had to be some kind of tension and for me that tension was starting to mean we were growing as a group.
This year I started to connect with more canucks like myself, Jody Lemoine – @ghostinthenet and Mario Gingras – @gingmar. Speaking about IT in Canada and how the landscape was different. Continuous thanks goes out to Mario for making me his +1 at the CCIE event which this year was something special when Universal shut down half the park just for us.
This year my focus was UCS, Hyper-V, Security and Nexus Architecture. As my employer was not a partner, and we were not a networking company – I had to keep my skills sharp to remain competitive. Cisco was in a state of flux internally and a segmentation of BU’s was in progress. Even internal competition was starting to be evident with the Nexus and Catalyst teams competing in some way.
Re-uniting with previous Cisco Live colleagues was great, running to sessions only to return to the Social Hub to discuss what we heard in sessions and learned in the World of Solutions. Watching the evolvement of social within Cisco was interesting. Taking the bull by the horns was Kathleen Mudge – @kathleenmudge who was the brave person within Cisco who was willing to try to “Wrangle the nerds”. We were offered some perks for our activities but everything felt very organic. The group was growing organically, and our contributions were also organic. Nobody expected prizes, rewards or swag – but we all seemed to be rewarded genuinely for our efforts within this community of professionals.
A few of us decided to sit out the keynote speech and watch it on live stream at the Social hub. With 3 different people covering the keynote – one with tech details, one with social response and one with other insights the #CLUS hashtag started to trend. It turns out trending hashtags for corporate events cost money and Twitter decided to start locking out anyone using the tag excessively. Social was starting to take hold.
This was the year I met some more amazing people, @wifijanitor – Steve one of the most gifted wireless professionals I have ever met, Steve always has strong opinions about wireless topics with his extensive experience at being unplugged. @amyengineer – Amy a UC professional with a spunky attitude towards technology and an amazing UC BLOG which I have been reading for some time was, not exactly who I thought in person. @sharpnetwork – Yvonne – Well, I mention this extraordinary individual simply due to the personal encouragement provided.
A great conclusion to the event, I was able to spend time with one of my close friends Kaj Niemi – @Kajtzu, a quiet but extremely intelligent Finnish gentlemen who I admire as a leader in the IT field with significant leadership and architecture experience. My wife who flew down for a vacation after the event and the three of us enjoyed some local seafood and shopping before saying goodbye as we left for the Caribbean and Kaj left to head back to Finland.