I don’t attend many sessions at conferences like VMWorld. Mainly because it’s some lightweight messaging that I’ve heard at other conferences. Lisa Caywood (Brocade) had an interesting post on the cancer that’s vendor sponsorship at conferences. She asked for an alternative to the same bland message delivered by SE’s and vendor marketing engineers at every conference. I have an alternative – Vendors should sponsor independent influencers to give talks.
The thought occurred to me while at Interop and listening to a presentation on disaster recovery by Chris Wahl. Chris gave some practical examples of challenges and potential solutions seen in the field. He’s a pretty big fan of Zerto and gave examples of how Zerto solved problems he encountered. He also talked about the challenges of Zerto competing with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager (SRM). Most customers already own SRM, so the price delta between something they already own and Zerto is a hard pill to swallow. I could have seen something like this being sponsored by either VMware or Zerto.
I walked away content that I received adequate value for both my time and conference dollars. I’d love to see a model in which vendors give up their slots for speakers such as Chris. I know this wouldn’t be popular with marketing departments, but I believe it’s the right thing to do for customers. As a customer, I respect a vendor that provides sponsors independent analysis of the market. I know there’s a perception of bias, but this is technology. I still find more value in a technologist such as Chris sharing his real world experiences vs. the same marketing slides I get from my VMware SE.