After working in one industry (storage) for over 20 years you realize what a small club it really is. One of the things that always strikes me is how many bright and talented people there are in this industry and also how many have chosen the industry as their home for such a long time.

I don’t get to SNW as often as I used to; many times I can measure my time there in hours but it is always a great event – more like a family reunion for me than a trade show.  If I want to get somewhere at the show I have to allow lots of time. There are just so many old friends to see. Every one seems to have new jobs, new roles, but the same great people. 

As I have commented many times, the innovation machine continues and I see an incredible rebound and excitement around Storage. I think our industry is about to see a big changes, one where we really do stop talking about storage and start talking about information.

As we have expanded our focus at EMC, the Storage industry has moved as well. At the event last week you could find folks doing search, classification, content management, security and many additional innovations. The storage industry as you knew it is no more - welcome to “Storage-plus.”

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What I find interesting is that many folks think that these shows are just about end-user sales. To me, the show itself is about “information” – while we all talk to customers it is also interesting to hear everyone else’s’ “take” on the world – there is always so much to learn. I now spend most of my time just walking around or doing short meetings and asking people questions.

I am always amazed that some people think that they never need to go to these events, shows, customers etc. and still, they can somehow, understand the market. I credit much of my “successes” (yes I know that is subjective) to being the person that always volunteered to go the industry show or to that customer where we were not going win a deal. To me, the simple rule is that is not about how smart you are or even how hard you work as much as it is about having insight and understanding. 

I am always glad when I don’t see my peers from our competitors at these events as it is another chance for me to get insight that they don’t have.

At any rate, it was great to connect with old friends, work hard, socialize, make that critical mistake one evening of switching from Ginger Ale to Scotch, stay out way to late, live in a fog the next day, and all the other fun. And, oh yeah, ask lots of questions.  I don’t think I could survive this much “fun” every week but, once or twice a year – I can live with that. 

Mark…

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