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Romi Mahajan
Romi Mahajan
Event Updates

The Interop Idea

IT pros attend conferences for community, content, and commerce. But there's a fourth reason that makes live events truly unique.

With Interop over, I want to share my views on the conference. More precisely, I wanted to write about the "idea" of Interop and what I believe it means to the IT community.

I'm an old Interop hand. I’ve been a sponsor, an attendee, an exhibitor, an advisor, a speaker, and a friend of the conference for years. In each of these roles, I've come to appreciate Interop (though not not in an unvarnished way; there are certainly areas for improvement).

In my experience, people attend shows such as Interop for the three Cs: community, content, and commerce.

Community is paramount. The ability to interact and "commune" with like-minded people with the same imperatives and struggles is absolutely critical to both success and sanity, in any profession. Being able to network and be networked with others in the moment of emotion is the first achievement of conferences.

Content might be king, but content as imbibed via community is Emperor for sure. No doubt people come to learn, but they learn best when absorbing, discussing, and reacting to content together. That is the second genius of conferences like Interop.

The third reason (and perhaps for companies the ROI) is commerce—people come to events to do business. Once again however, this reason is enhanced by the fact that even the transactional process is inflected by community and the fundamental enhancement of ideas it produces.

Recently I've come to understand that there is a fourth C: Culmination. This is at the heart of the "Interop Idea."

Culmination in this sense means the emotional and logical peak of all the manic energy that goes into learning, doing, working, growing, and connecting. Live conferences are where you find serendipity at every turn and energy in every nook.

One might argue all the other Cs are possible via the ether. But culmination is where the live conference shows its brilliant art. Only by being in the physical presence of peers can the idea of culmination find its highest expression. So I leave Interop energized. I hope other attendees feel the same.

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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