Well, Day 3 of IOD is done – a Tuesday. For some reason it feels like it should be Wednesday or Thursday – as it feels like longer than 2 1/3 days of the conference. Today was a day of largely learning – going to multiple sessions throughout the day. I didn’t attend the general session (maybe I can catch it on Livestream) today but instead went to an elective session.
I feel like I learned a lot – but not sure I could articulate it now. I attended some sessions where I learned a lot, some where it was almost out of my league and one that didn’t go very well. Today they didn’t seem as rushed as yesterday -like I had some time between them (expect when I decided go in circles after confusing South Pacific with South Convention Center). I think though if the conference center gets any bigger they’ll need trams to take us between areas.
I also enjoyed some of the informal moments of the conference – especially talking with people. I spoke with a number of people from other countries -something I don’t have a lot of opportunity to do. I also got a chance to see what a modern mainframe looks like – an impressive site. I feel like I’m learning more about some of the IBM products – what they are for and what the differences are. I also enjoyed meeting a old colleague and talking with them for a while.
Overall it was a good day – a day of learning and connecting with other people. I’m now looking forward to tomorrow’s general session and the rest of the day (I did enjoy today’s keynote address). This post is probably very rambling as I’m quite tired as I’m still adjusting to the time difference…
I finished my 2nd day at IOD – my first day with a lot of content to absorb. I’ll talk about what I learned later (probably when I wake up early tomorrow morning) – so this is more about my experience. First off I was surprised by the “real” hot breakfast they had – eggs and bacon! I was expecting donuts and bagels only – maybe some juice and coffee. Instead they surprised me with a meal that was filling.
After breakfast I head over to the Events Center (another trek) for the first General Session. As I am a “Social Influencer” I got the privilege of sitting at a spot with a wired internet connection and more importantly a power outlet. This events center is quite large – more like a basketball arena than a conference room. As I expected it was quite an experience – with a big screen, a live band and lots of lights. I was impressed with the overlays of the live video (in a circle) on top of the presentation type materials on the big screen. It was easy to hear and say what was going on – including some informative statistics (i.e. numbers) on the screen that reinforced their message.
Of course the theme was Big Data – and they had “Jason Silva” (who may have had a LOT of coffee) spout about the profound changes that have occurred recently in our society and what is to come. He was very “stoked” about the future – about what possibilities the “Big Data” era could provide. IBM is clearly positioning itself to be a leader and a resource in this new era. There were some other cool tricks – like a couch that rolled out from under the screen and a new server rolling out through some “fog” for dramatic effect.
Overall it was pretty impressive what IBM put on in this first general session – but they also had some items to think about for the future. After the general session it off to some elective sessions – but first the large crowd and I had to make it back to the other part of the convention center. I first attended Dell – A Customer Data Management Journey. Frankly (possibly because of the General Session running late) this felt a bit rushed. I was trying to write information down from the slides but they advanced so quickly I had a hard time keeping up. This was a bit of the theme for the day – trying to keep up with the slides while also paying attention to what they we’re saying. I wish that I had a copy of the presentation to add notes to instead of trying to re-capture the information.
After attending the next elective session (MPP, Columnar Databases, No SQL) it was time to head for lunch. It’s interesting how they have servers standing around who hold their arm out to point the way (I keep wondering how tired their arms get). I attended a “Birds of a Feather” lunch event (basically eat at a specific table to talk about that subject). It was enjoyable to be able to talk with people from other companies – and even from other countries. I learned some interesting perspectives from a German Professor associated with IBM. Again the lunch food was good and filling – but I had to get a soda (for my pathetic addiction) after the event. It was then time to hunt down a power outlet to recharge my hungry beast of a laptop. While I have a heavy (trust me) 12 cell battery it doesn’t last as long as it used to anymore.
After lunch I attended a session on Top Enterprise Cases for Big Data. It was during this that my laptop shut down due to low battery (it kept turning back on while in my backpack so later I had to shut it down completely). I ended up finishing my notes on my phone. After this session they had some afternoon snacks (chips, fruit and sodas) so I sat down in a corner and tried to charge my laptop while eating. Fortunately in the next session – Building a business case for information governance – I found a seat next to one of the power outlets in the room. I was able to complete my notes for that session on my laptop (which is good considering I often can’t read my own handwriting).
After this session I headed out to dinner with some people from my day job and some folks from IBM. I got to experience the “TAO” restaurant where I surprised to find some food I could eat (I’m a very plain eater who generally stays away from Asian food). It was a nice place to eat – especially as the dark environment helped with my headache. After that it was back to my room to recover from the day and write up this blog post.
Here are some pictures (courtesy of the IBM social team) of Monday’s events:
Yesterday was my first day at IOD and am reflecting on what I experienced. Vegas itself is such a culture shock in many ways – so I’m dealing with that also. Yesterday didn’t really have any content – as it was just the opening of the EXPO. I did attend a special meeting for “Social Influencers” yesterday – where I got to hear from Turbo Todd Watson (@turbotodd). In the blur of my experience I only remember a few tips – with comfortable shoes being an important one (oh – and share and engage).
The EXPO was huge and bit overwhelming. Fortunately I ran into some people I know and went around with them. I feel like I only touched the tip of the iceberg in the EXPO – as there was so much to look at. The theme of “Big” (as in Big Data) was clearly present through the EXPO. There we’re quite a number of companies who had booths that mentioned Big Data and analytics.
After that first day I went to the fountains at Bellagio – to take in their shows. Even with the trams that was quite a trek. I think there is a lot of walking in my future here for the next few days. Today I get into some meat with some conference sessions – so I hope to learn something I can pass along.
Well, I’m now at IOD – after a bit of journey here. Actually the plane flight was nice and simple albeit loud. I think next time I may not sit over the wing. Got a bit of reading and started an audio book – so that was nice. It’s vegas itself that’s a bit overwhelming – as this place seems to be the land of over stimulation. Getting to my bags after the plan was quite a journey – as I think it was half a mile from the gate to the baggage claim. I kept looking at the signs and expecting it to be there – but it was further on. Given the distance I wasn’t surprised my bag was already there.
I took a shuttle from the airport to the hotel – which was another journey. I think it took over a half hour – but it was an interesting drive for someone who’s never been to Vegas before. As the plane was landing I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore when I saw the palm trees (I grew up in the midwest so I’m used to Oaks, Maples, Cedar, etc.). Maybe all the slot machines in the airport should have also been a clue. The hotel was much the same – as I had to walk across the casino to get to registration. Somehow I ended up on the 13th floor of the hotel – which surprised me as many building will not have a 13th floor.
After getting situated in my room and getting a snack (from a McDonalds that surprisingly served Pepsi) I rested for a few minutes while watching the end of a football game (at least I though it was the end of a football game but it went into overtime). So it was off to Mandalay Bay for the conference. From the Excalibur it was quite an interesting (and somewhat long) walk. It was another case of stimulus overload walking through the different casinos and all the shops along the way.
I did make it though – and was grateful for the help from the colorfully dressed “IOD” people – who we’re pointing the way. I got registered (which came with more stuff than I expected) and put on my “name” badge. I managed to find my way up to the “Connect” lounge (at the top of what is probably the longest and highest escalator I’ve ever seen). I’ll write more later about my initial experiences with the conference itself.
I know it’s getting close to go when I’ve printed off my boarding pass and started packing. I’ve been measuring my carry-on and suitcase to check if they will fit (they will). I’m putting an extra bag in the small suitcase just in case I get to much stuff from the conference to fit in the bag. I also finally broke down and signed up for an audible free trial to get some audio books for the plan ride. I might read some Kindle books on the way out but on the trip back (assuming I don’t fall asleep) I may wiped out to want to read.
So tomorrow it’s off to the airport to catch my Southwest flight to Vegas.
I’m started to get excited about IOD as it’s coming up soon – less than 48 hours for me. I’ve never been to Vegas before so that’s part of the adventure for me. I suspect they days will fly by practically in a blur. I hope my brain doesn’t explode with all the “big” that’s coming my way…
I just realized this time next week I’ll be flying home from IOD – likely very tired. I’m looking ahead at the planned week and it’s already packed with activity. I can tell my schedule is packed when I’m looking for time to attend the EXPO. I have meetings scheduled even at Breakfast and Lunch a few days.
I’m also looking at when I can get out and explore Vegas a little – as I’ve never been there before. I’m hoping to take in a few sights – maybe at least get a look at some of the interesting fountains. Never really been that interested in Vegas – but I hope to enjoy myself a little (in addition to getting some sleep)…
For IOD I go from the Central Time Zone to the Pacific Time Zone. It’s amazing to me how such a simple thing has caused me so much confusion. I ended up putting my sessions in the Google calendar as it has a key feature – it can show both time zones. I was able to put in my sessions in Pacific Time and I can see both it in both time zones on my calendar.
An interesting quirk of this is that going to Vegas a 3 hour flight is only about 1 hour…. So if you see me confused at IOD as to what time it is please help me…
They had some “experts” (who we’re not just IBM people) talk about Big Data and how it is and could be used. One of the ideas they had was to use a “big data” solution for call center service. I realized the other day that if you call a company for service and end up getting transferred around not only is it annoying to you – it’s inefficient for the business. One of their concepts was to use a big data type solution to examine many inputs of data together to improve call center performance. Imagine operators knowing what’s going on – both with their company, the industry, and the world (as opposed to the usual clueless response we get). How efficient could it be to catch a situation before it generates a call or to really solve the problem quickly on the call.
I think that’s one of the appealing business concepts behind “big data” – find key insights into your business and the world around it – in order to excel at what you do.