The following article was put together by the delegates who attended the first Tech Field Day. It is reproduced here in hopes of helping future delegates know what to expect.
Dress Code: You are going to offices of companies and speaking with executive types. Suit and tie isn’t recommended, but smart presentable clothing is important. The image of Tech Field Day is important to us.
Computers: You are encouraged to bring laptops, cameras, video capture, microphones. You will have at least some opportunity to tweet, podcast, blog and engage all your social warfare capabilities. Come armed!
Obligation: You are under no obligation or condition to blog, write, tweet or conduct any type of social warfare. You are participating in learning, discussions, conversations and thinking that is inherently valuable and your participation is entirely up to you.
Work Ethic: It is not a vacation. Our day on Thursday started at 7:00 AM and went until 9:00 PM. Friday started at 7:30 AM and we didn’t get back from dinner until around 8:30 PM. Yes, we had fun – but we were busy giving the sponsors our full attention.
Be on Time: Your arrival at the Tech Field Day to your departure including meeting vendors at their offices, for breakfast, lunch, dinner has to follow a timely schedule. So the following are important:
- Don’t skip vendors nor skip presentations
- Don’t skip any Gestalt IT sponsored events during the Tech Field Days.
- Do make sure that you are back on the bus on time for the departure.
Background Research: Though it’s not necessary, but having a little product knowledge about the products & offerings from the sponsors will come handy. Research can typically be conducted through visiting the website or reading other marketing literature of the presenting companies. It is okay to compare products from Vendor X or the presenting vendors.
This is not a favor: If the invitation to attend Tech Field Day is extended to you, it does not mean you have to write (Tweet, blog) or write positive or critic the vendor presenting, its okay to have a neutral or a null opinion about the presenter and vendor.
Stay away from work related matters: Its okay to catch up with your voicemails over a short break, but please stay away from attending long conference calls, work related emails, receiving calls in middle of a presentation. It can cause a distraction to the presenter as well as other attendees, not paying attention to learn new technologies that the vendor is presenting will defeat the purpose of having you as a Tech Field Day delegate.
Its okay to ask questions: Your purpose of attending Tech Field Day is having you question the vendors strategy, approach, market acceptibility, products, technology and take a deepdive into how the product works architecturally. Don’t be shy to ask questions if you are not aware of the particular vendor’s products and offerings.
Utilize technology and social media: Tweet, Blog, YouTube, Live Streaming, Pictures, Camera, computers, memory sticks, Interview Vendors on a camera, etc…etc…
Techno Talk: Techno talk will not be limited to a presentation, typically experience have shown the questions, answers, discussions, brainstorming sessions come back again at dinners, bars and early morning breakfast.
Saturation: Its two or three days of non stop techno talk, as you leave the event, you will feel quite saturated with the information you collected. If you plan to blog about this event, either take notes, or record live on camera, take picture of white boards so you can use those for your blogs. Remembering everything once you are back home and write to recall at times is tough.
Business Cards: Its absolutely okay to hand out your business cards. Having personal business cards with your Blog/Social media and other contacts (that might not be on your work business cards) is also a great idea.
Invitation: If you were invited to Tech Field Day 1 or possibly to any future ones, please do not assume you will be invited to all future events. These events are ran as community events and a wide variety of participation will be considered for future events.
Disclosure: Since the attendees will have their travel and living expenses covered and may receive chotchkies, logo junk, and food and drink, they should disclose this “consideration” on their blogs. Although we are ambivalent about the FTC making rules, we are adamant that every kind of public figure should be transparent in their dealings. We will be disclosing the names of all paying sponsors and expensed attendees on this site, and will encourage all attendees to do the same on their own sites.
Respect: Tech Field Day is an event that allows people that have an opinion and care about technology to gather and see new things. It’s ok to have your own opinion, be it bad or good, about the things presented, but try to keep in mind that others are entitled to their own opinion. Talking about the presentations and ideas is encouraged, having a lively discussion is great, but keep in mind that you will not always see eye to eye with other attendees or presenters. This is ok, just treat them with the thoughtfulness, professionalism and mutual respect they deserve.