IOD has come and gone, but the amount of great things that happened there are well worth re-iterating.
Personally speaking, it was my first IOD, as well as my first trip to Vegas. Lots of firsts going into the conference. I was told to wear comfortable shoes, be prepared to walk a lot, and to be ready for all the great things that were going to happen. An attendee put it best as we were both waiting for our shuttle to the Mandalay Bay. 'They [IBM] do a good job, but its big, and its crazy.'
I was going to pull double duty at IOD. Part of my time would be spent manning the developerWorks booth. There were lots of good things that happened there, but thats for another blog post. The second reason I was going was to support the IBM Champion Program activities at IOD, given that starting in April, the program had been expanded across all of IBM. IOD still had the strongest quotient of IBM Champions however, because the program was over three years old for Information Management. So with over 100 IBM Champions in attendance, there was a lot going on.
When you think about experts in an abstract way, its easy to define them from purely a business perspective. Cristian? Oh, he's a DB2 expert. Gonzalo? Oh yea, he does a lot of work with DataStage. Bonnie Baker? Definitely database performance. Rebecca Bond? Well her twitter and developerWorks profile handle says it all. DB2Locksmith. Unfortunately Rebecca wasn't at IOD this year, but I would highly recommend you follow her and go to her with your questions. I walked in thinking of Suresh Sane as a hall of fame IDUG speaker, and Frank Fillmore as the guy who blogged about unseating Oracle at a Fortune 100 Company.
Of course, all these things are true. These people are incredibly talented, and intrinsically motivated to succeed. But at the heart of it, they are people. They are very funny, extremely approachable, and very focused on collaborating. That's the part you don't get until you interact with them.
Take Cristian. We show up at his lecture on Monday morning as soon as the keynote was over. He's up at the podium getting his laptop set up. I go and ask about the video taping and get him to sign his consent. He smiles ruefully and says 'Oh. This means I cannot create trouble now, during my talk.' Quite the contrary I told him. Having a camera means that you definitely should create trouble. It makes for better footage. He grins and then goes on to deliver a fantastic session. It's clear he really knows what he's talking about. How? He allows questions in the middle of his pitch. He answers when people go off in tangents. Because he's that good.
They're clearly well known. I suppose you would be if Aravind Krishna announces you and thanks you during the Monday morning keynote, in front of a 10K+ crowd, with tens of thousands more watching the livestream.
The best way to give you a flavor of some of these Champions is to let you hear them. Here is an interview done at IOD by our very own Scott Laningham, with IBM Champion Sheryl Larsen.
The video that we made of Cristian's speaking session at IOD is in the works. We should have it up shortly. If you'd like me to notify you when its up, either leave a comment here or ping me on my profile or tweet me.
In addition to Cristian's session we also captured sessions by Gonzalo Angelieri and Bonnie Baker. I have to say, they are all worth watching, and we will have them all up soon for your viewing pleasure.
I will leave you with a question. When it comes to technology, what content do you prefer on video vs in text form? Are interviews like this with experts interesting, or would you prefer that they cut to it and talk about the technology they know and love?