2016 was a big year for me from a personal and career growth standpoint; I obtained vExpert for the first time, I launched my own Veeam User Group and became apart of the Veeam Vanguard, and I also presented at a couple of VMUGs. That in of itself was far more than I thought I could achieve, but something that I thought would never happened did: I was invited to a Tech Field Day event.
If you are a reader of this blog and you aren’t familiar Tech Field Day (TFD), you really should change that. In a nutshell, it’s a series of events (i.e. network field day, storage field day, etc.) that assembles delegates. Delegates actively participate in vendor presentations and poke, prod, reflect, and grill them as need be. The events are recorded and broadcast live, and generally speaking, they are very technical in content. On the rare occasions where Sales poke its head, it’s usually pushed back again as quickly as it popped out.
SO WHATS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS?
Being a delegate requires that you are independent, that is to say you don’t work for a vendor (e.g. HPE, VMware, Cisco, etc.). There are a few other requirements:
- that you are able to follow along technically (but you are not expected to be an expert)
- that you’ll have thoughts or opinions that you’ll share publicly
- and that you aren’t afraid to ask questions.
It isn’t a role that you can buy (i.e. like a conference pass), but rather you need to be invited.
Going back to my point above, I never thought I would be a delegate in a million years due to the folks who were delegates. Looking through former events, you see names like Chris Wahl, Jason Nash, Rick Vanover, Howard Marks … the list goes on and on. These are folks who are highly regarded in the tech industry because they are considered experts. If you are looking for a good kick of Impostor Syndrome, attending a TFD is a great way to get it.
WHAT HAS BEEING A DELEGATE DONE FOR ME?
You may have heard the saying “you are the average of the 5 people you hang around”. Imagine attending an event where you have these elite folks, and you get to join in. It’s not just the on-camera stuff – the TFD events always have a jam-packed agenda from the time you land to the time you leave. If you aren’t sitting with a vendor or peers and dissecting their tech on-camera, then there is a good chance you might be doing it in a social setting after the event. My point is that participating in the event really opens up your personal network, but also exposes you to opinions and experiences that you can’t otherwise receive.
Being a TFD delegate did wonders for me: it gave me a lot more confidence in my writing; it let me realize that I knew more than I thought I knew; it showed me that no matter how unachievable something might look, it can still happen.
SO WHAT’S THE POINT OF THIS POST?
Tech Field Day is something special: it is an event that is highly-regarded amongst the IT Community; it will open up doors to peers and friendships that will outlast the events; and it has been hands-down one of the best technical learning resources I have seen.
Today is the start of Tech Field Day 20, which marks its 10th year. With that, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday Tech Field Day! None of this would be possible with out the incredible amount of work that has been put into it by the entire GestaltIT crew, and all off the delegates over the years, and most certainly all of the vendors who have sponsored and presented at the events. Thank you for what you have done for me personally.
If you are interested in becoming a delegate, check out https://techfieldday.com/delegates/become-field-day-delegate/