Next week I will be participating in my third Tech Field Day, this one in Austin, TX. It’s a great opportunity for both independent bloggers and companies. Here are four big reasons I think more companies should be participating in Tech Field Day.
1. The ability for actual users, and potential users, to give you direct feedback.
Who is your company listening to for feedback? How does your company get feedback from actual users of your products, or potential users of your products?
If it’s through your marketing or PR channels you might be getting a filtered version. Analysts are good, but in many cases they’re not actually going to use your product. With Tech Field Day there’s no filter. You’re talking directly to the very technical people who are (or aren’t) buying your stuff, and you find out why and what they think.
Direct feedback and coverage like this can be scary, though, precisely because there are no filters. With nobody in the middle to tell you want you want to hear it’s possible you might hear something you didn’t expect. Only companies that value honest, constructive conversations, and want to successfully build and market industry-leading products are the types that can handle Tech Field Day.
2. The chance to bounce ideas off “friendlies.”
The delegates at Tech Field Day are all reputable bloggers, and honor embargoes. They are also experts in their areas, are deeply technical, and likely going to be the people you will want to buy your product when it’s released. That combination makes them a great group to show new products & ideas, in order to get pre-release constructive criticism. Of course, you could always wait until after you release your product to get that sort of criticism from the general public and press…
3. Instant coverage, via blogs and Twitter.
As a presenter at Tech Field Day it’s inevitable that you’ll get instantaneous coverage while the presentation is going on, via the live stream and Twitter. This means that interested technical people who are outside the room will be watching, and have a channel for asking questions, proxied through the delegates in the room with you. Every Tech Field Day sees a large increase in the live stream viewership and #techfieldday Twitter hash tag use.
4. Pervasive, persistent coverage.
There is usually a slew of blog posts and coverage immediately following Tech Field Day. But that’s not the power of Tech Field Day. The power in Tech Field Day is getting the knowledge of your products into the heads of people talking about IT at a grass-roots level.
For example, to this day I talk about F5, sponsor of Tech Field Day 3, way more than I talk about Citrix, whose products my company owns. Why? I know more about F5. Another great example is the fact that I can often add to (or correct) conversations about Dell Compellent storage. And not just the marketing stuff but the technical things that technical people have questions about. Questions the sales guys can’t readily answer. Why? Because we asked all those tough questions at Tech Field Day.
In the same capacity I talk about Veeam, and Solarwinds, and Xsigo, and Juniper, and Arista Networks constantly. I’ve suggested Cradlepoint routers, in particular the ones that provide wireless backup links, to more people than I have fingers and toes to count. I love Xangati as a wonderful performance management tool, and I wasn’t even at the Tech Field Day where they presented – I was watching live. HP’s IMC management tool is my go-to comparison when looking at management tools, and I can talk at length about how HP is going about slaughtering Cisco’s market share. Not to mention the constant retweeting of product announcements from all the sponsors. The understanding I have of each vendor’s products, from Tech Field Day, lets me do this, and builds a long-term relationship both sides can draw on.
Participation at Tech Field Day leads to being a pervasive, persistent topic of conversation, among the delegates, vendors, and their communities and friends, that lasts for much, much longer than the event itself.
There are a lot of companies, big and small, with very solid technology, that I think could tell their story a whole lot better if they teamed up with Tech Field Day. If yours is the kind of company that enjoys a good, honest technical talk with technical people who want to see you succeed:
Thank you for your support.
(P.S. The inevitable question: why am I writing this? I don’t often do endorsements like this, after all. This post is not endorsed, compelled, or even asked for by Gestalt IT, Stephen Foskett, or Tech Field Day staff. I’m on my own here, and it’s just because I really enjoy what’s going on with TFD. I enjoy being a part of it. I really do think more companies would benefit from participating, including those who might already be doing their own social media work. TFD has a different spin on it, less marketing & PR than techs talking to techs, and it’s pretty darn powerful and cool.)