For someone who has spent many weeks in Sydney on business, this was the first time I actually went there as a real tourist.
First up, it was a great break and my family and I can heartily recommend Sydney to anyone (from any part of the world) who is looking for a "holiday with the lot".
As part of our planning, we clearly had a budget to work to as well as many idea about things to do.
Of course one of the big considerations was where to stay. I did a great deal of Googling around but relied on TripAdvisor heavily to help make our final decision.
I really love tripadvisor for two reasons:
- I find the reviews are generally quite honest. I like to proof test by comparing my experiences of hotels I have stayed at (mainly for work), with reviews on Tripadvisor for the same Hotel.
In general I find them very close. Yes there are some 'suspect' reviews and some 'crazed and angry' reviews, but these are not the norm.
- It gives me a chance to express my own opinions on where I have stayed. Hopefully this helps others with their own decision making.
So what has that go to do with IT? Well those who follow storage blogs will have seen a spike recently in discussions on two subjects:
- Vendor transparency. Have a read of this and listen to this.
- Discussion on the relative merits of Network Appliance's Metro Cluster product (which IBM resell as part of our NSeries offerings). Have a read of this or this.
I hope that its obvious that I work for IBM, so I accept that you may choose to view anything I say as potentially coloured by my relationship with my employer.
It has left me pondering where clients should go to get a good handle on what really matters most to them.
To chose the hotel that best matched my holiday requirements I used TripAdvisor.
But what can clients do?
I personally read many vendor and 'independent' blogs to try and ensure my 'world view' is as realistic and informed as possible.
There are some great blogs out there, but I do not know many of these people or their organizations personally. So I always read them through a haze of mild cynicism.
So is there a TripAdvisor for Storage IT? A place for genuine end-users to share their experience with specific solutions?
I have to say that XIV is one product that is crying out for such a beast. My experience is that client satisfaction levels with their XIVs is remarkably high but is that always reflected on the Web?
So far the best place I have seen for shared experiences from 'real' people is the XIV group on LinkedIn.
It would be great to see more actual end users head over there and contribute (so please do!).
Finally I should also point out that if there is a business relationship between IBM (my employer) and TripAdvisor or Linked In, I am not aware of it.
My opinions on these organizations are totally my own.
And the hotel we stayed in? The Quay Grand on Circular Quay. The view from our balcony was priceless. Check it out: