I've decided to start publishing a new series of podcasts that I'm calling Interop Insider. After all, in addition to publishing InformationWeek, TechWeb also is the producer of some great events like Interop. So, given that us InformationWeekers can get an inside track on what's happening with our sister events, why not jump on that track early and develop an audio series that can be heard over time, or piled in its entirety into your iPod for en-route (to Vegas) listening? My first guest for this episode? Interop head honcho Lenny Heymann.Lenny's the general manager of Interop. No one gets in or out of Las Vegas while Interop is running unless Heymann says so (Yo Len-nie!). OK, all kidding aside, at nearly 25 years old, Interop is the one show that has survived every swing of the pendulum that the IT industry (and the economy) could throw at it.
Whereas other megashows have gone *poof!*, Interop still stands. Heymann talks about why that is in the interview. One of the keys has been the show's ability to stay relevant. Not just in terms of subject matter covered. But also in terms of all the different things you can do (none of which have to do with Las Vegas) from the time the preshow begins on the morning of Sunday, May 17, until the main exhibit space closes up at the end of Thursday, May 21.
With so many different things to do over the course of several days -- educational series, CIO Boot Camp, the main exhibit show floor, "Virtualization Day", a conference track dedicated to the data center, etc., Heymann likens Interop to a "Super Bowl of sorts." You can hear my interview with Heymann by pressing the play button (or you can download the interview to your MP3 as a tantalizing soundtrack for your next workout).
Heymann and I got one of the tough questions out of the way first: why, in these tough economic times, should IT professionals open their wallets (or, their company's) to travel to Interop. Answer? According to Heymann, Interop rolls together both education, exhibit floor, and so many different topics, that he sees it as the most efficient event for anyone to stay abreast and to learn what's important in the industry and the direction the industry is heading. Just as important (and perhaps a bit more subtle) is the fact that traveling to Las Vegas is cheaper than it has ever been.
Given the state of the economy, not only are the flights ridiculously cheap, but there are a lot of empty hotel rooms these days, which means the hoteliers are willing to cut some deals. In other words, if you're going to travel to one IT event this year, not only does Interop paint a broad enough brush to fill your dance card, it won't break your company's piggy bank, either. According to Heymann, attendees can practically "work the event" 24/7 the entire time they're in Vegas.
According to Heymann, CSI SX, CIO Bootcamp, and Energy Camp (a day-long event that I'm presiding over) are just three of the programs that prove how there's something for the birds of just about any IT feather. CSI SX is for security specialists and will cover a range of topics from a security perspective including virtualization, Web 2.0, compliance, and cloud computing. According to Heymann, CIO Bootcamp is where people who have an interest earning their stripes as a CIO will get to rub shoulders with those who already have held the post (and learn from their experiences). Energy Camp is an unconference where anybody who wants to gather or share information about reducing the carbon footprint of IT can get together for a day of open discussions on how to actually achieve that objective.
If you have suggestions for topics to cover on future editions of Interop Insider, be sure to let me know.
David Berlind is an editor-at-large with InformationWeek. David likes to write about emerging tech, new and social media, mobile tech, and things that go wrong. He can be reached at [email protected] and you can also find him on Twitter and other social networks (see the list below). David doesn't own any tech stocks. But, if he did, he'd probably buy some Salesforce.com and Amazon, given his belief in the principles of cloud computing and his hope that the stock market can't get much worse. Also, if you're an out-of-work IT professional or someone involved in the business of compliance, he wants to hear from you.
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