Cheerleaders & Cynics Welcome At Interop - InformationWeek

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4/2/2015
12:00 AM
Romi Mahajan
Romi Mahajan
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Cheerleaders & Cynics Welcome At Interop

Interop is an opportunity to celebrate the IT community and make personal connections--even for cynics.

Interop is less than a month away and I hope the IT community is revved up and excited. For some in our community, the idea of being excited about a conference makes sense. For our cynical brethren, the sentiment might produce an eye-roll. Let’s examine both positions.

Events like Interop are an important part of our professional fabric because continuous learning, technical challenges, and meaningful peer-to-peer interaction are keys to workplace success.

Furthermore, the IT community recognizes its contributions to the business are largely "silent" and misunderstood, and as such they lack the pride of place they should enjoy. You see where I’m going here, don’t you?

Tech conferences like Interop provide exactly the balance of content, community, and commerce that IT folks desire. Further, these events celebrate IT’s achievements. That’s certainly a reason to be excited and to cheerlead!

The cynics have an understandable position as well. Many people return from conferences and tradeshows having only really spent time with people they already know or "alone" in a crowd.

Because community is a core reason to attend an event, and because interpersonal networking is a core manifestation of community, this gap creates a sour emotion in those who have not gained peers, collaborators, and friends from events.

Face-to-face networking is both a culture and a technology problem. From a cultural standpoint, personal networking requires both effort and risk—you need to actively engage with other attendees and extend an invitation to communicate. But this effort carries the risk of awkward encounters, miscommunication, and the failure to connect.

From a technology standpoint, one needs an "in the moment" technology that helps create the "networking moment" in the right context.

Meaningful networking can bring the cheerleaders and cynics into the same room! That’s what I love about Interop.

Interop Las Vegas is April 27 through May 1. Register now to learn the latest technology developments, accelerate your career, and network with your peers in the IT community.

Romi Mahajan is the founder of KKM Group, a boutique marketing and strategy advisory firm. He is also an Interop track chair for the "Business of IT" track. He spent nine years at Microsoft and was the first CMO of Ascentium, an award-winning digital agency. Romi has also ... View Full Bio

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