Why was Tech Field Day created?

There are many IT industry events, from trade shows to seminars to insider junkets, but came away wanting something more community-oriented. Having already created Gestalt IT as a way to bring together independent thought leaders, hosting a community Field Day just seemed like a natural progression. We’re pretty happy with the results so far!

What topics do you cover?

The initial series of Tech Field Day events were truly “Gestalt”, meaning “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” These included storage, servers, networking, virtualization, desktop, security, and management. Later we added focused events for each area, including Networking Field Day, Wireless Field Day, Storage Field Day, and Virtualization Field Day.

Is there a theme for each event?

Apart from the topical area (networking, storage, virtualization, etc) we do not have a theme for each event. However, the ebbs and flows of development in the IT industry often means there are related topics that come up in many presentations at each event.

How are the presenting sponsors selected?

For more details, and to suggest a future presenter, see Present at Tech Field Day

Sponsorship (and thus participation) is open to any company  that provides IT infrastructure software, hardware, or services. The event steering committee selects sponsors based on their fit and appropriateness to the event and will reject companies that do not appear to offer compelling content for our audience. Although we do offer feedback and support for our presenters, we do not review or approve presentations.

How are the delegates selected?

For more details, see Become a Field Day Delegate

Tech Field Day events are invite-only, and our steering committee carefully selects our delegate panel. Criteria include relevance to the event topic, participation in the community, independence (see below for more), and (sadly) the travel costs and the event budget. If you think we made a mistake by not inviting someone (or inviting someone inappropriate), please submit their name!

Why are professional analysts and press not invited?

You won’t see the usual analyst and press crowd in the attendee list. This is not because we don’t love these folks. Rather, it is because they have plenty of other opportunities to participate in events like this. Our sponsors have a long history of holding analyst events, press days, and attending trade shows with analysts and press folks, but independent social media types are often not invited. Even if they do get an invite, many independents don’t have the financial resources or cannot make the time commitment to attend. Tech Field Day events are devoted to this under-served community, not “the usual suspects”!

Wait! Some of these delegates aren’t independent!

What does independent really mean? We’re not trying to get into arguments, and we apologize if your feelings are hurt. This is all about building community, supporting thought leaders, and linking up folks who are left out of traditional analyst and media events. If you serve the community openly, live and breathe technology, and do this for love, not a paycheck, you should be on our list! But if your contact list already includes the names of most major PR and marketing folks, or most of your income already comes from the sponsors, this event isn’t for you.

Where does the money come from? Where does it go?

This event is run as a community service rather than a profit-motivated media business. In this way, costs are kept to a reasonable minimum. Our sponsorship fee is based on projected event costs, and we use all of the money to host this and future events, not line our pockets. The most expensive thing we do is fly folks in to attend, so I guess you could say the money goes to United Airlines! We also have a full-time event manager and other professionals to make sure the whole thing comes off without a hitch, and these folks are worth every penny. About 1/3 of our budget goes to professional services (people), 1/3 to travel costs (airfare and bus services), and 1/3 to on-site costs (hotels, catering, etc).

When and where is the event?

See the main Field Day page for a list of upcoming dates! The first Tech Field Day was held in San Jose, CA on November 12 and 13, 2009, and later events have been held in Austin, Boston, Seattle, and Denver as well.

Overall, we hold two events per topic area each year and generally schedule these six months apart. Most of our events are held in and around San Jose, CA.

Isn’t this just a paid vendor love fest?

Get to know the folks we are bringing in to attend and you’ll know that this is not the case. These folks believe in tech and won’t hesitate to tell the truth, even if it hurts. They aren’t paid to attend (though their expenses are covered), and most are taking vacation days off from work. If you’re worried about payola, there are much better places to look.

Will attendees have to sign NDAs?

No NDA material should be presented, but attendees are expected to obey embargo dates for near-future product releases. The rule is to be cool: It would be seriously uncool to break the rule.

What about this FTC disclosure thing?

Since the delegates 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.

Who will be attending? And which companies will sponsor the event?

Each event has a unique set of delegates and sponsors. Check the main Field Day page for a link to the upcoming event page. You will find any announced information there!

I want to host my own Field Day!

That’s great! Let’s talk! The Gestalt IT staff have gotten pretty good at putting these things together, and we would be happy to work with you to create a field day in your own field or geography.

Please note that “Field Day” is a registered trademark of Gestalt IT Media LLC and can not be used for “organizing, promoting and conducting exhibitions, tradeshows and events for business purposes” without our written permission.

Wait a second, how can you trademark “Field Day”?!?

We as a community worked hard to create the Field Day concept and put in a lot of effort making the event unique. We would hate to see confusion arise if someone decided to co-opt the name for their own events, so we decided to get a trademark on it.

Our trademark doesn’t cover all uses of the term, “Field Day”, only those involving “organizing, promoting and conducting exhibitions, tradeshows and events for business purposes”. We have no problem with Ham Radio operators and elementary schools holding their own field day events – indeed, they’ve been using the name for decades. We just don’t want another “Field Day” event causing confusion in the limited scope we cover: Information technology products and services.