IBM have announced their new one-size-fits-all conference Think 2018 which will take place in Las Vegas next March. This will consolidate several existing conferences including Connect (previously San Francisco and before that Orlando) , InterConnect (Las Vegas) and World of Watson (Las Vegas).
So to start with I’d like to say this is a great idea and what, as a 20+ year veteran of Connect (Lotusphere) and a newbie to InterConnect, I had hoped for. However it’s also a lot of content, brands, interests, objectives and attendees to merge together so IBM to their credit are inviting feedback in their JAM session on June 20th on how best to do this. I couldn’t wait until then and my friends are bored of hearing it so here are my top level ideas
- Of all things let’s not separate brands into their own locations, especially ICS. There is enormous value in being part of a larger pool of content, products and speakers
- How about having a “brand” day at the end of the event or even the beginning so the brand focused strategy sessions could be presented to the brand focused audience. Those brand days could be held at any hotel in Vegas
- I’d hope that IBM maintain a single conference location for the main conference even if that means fewer and shorter sessions from everyone.
To that end, I noticed InterConnect did not have the low level “how to” sessions that we’re used to in Connect. However there are plenty of great ICS user groups all over the world that do have those sessions. Can we give up trying to find room for them in Think in favour of higher level more strategic sessions ? I think so.
- Why not group sessions together by interest area not brand. ?
- For developers working with ICS products, wouldn’t they also be interested in other development technologies and opportunities? Why not have all the developer sessions across all brands near each other
- As an admin much of my work involves integrating technologies and learning about what’s available across the entire stack. The most valuable thing would be to make it easy for me to move between sessions / cross brands in one location. Whether it’s ICS, Cognitive, Security or Cloud – it’s all admin and I want to learn about it all.
- For CIOs attending surely they would be more likely to go to multiple strategy sessions about multiple brands and products if they were located near each other ?
- Having the opportunity for designated conference areas also increases the opportunities for networking with like minded people
- Interconnect this year offered pick and go sandwiches and snacks over lunch in the Concourse (showfloor) which was a lot faster and easier than marching 1.5 miles to the aircraft hanger size room where the formal buffet was. That’s also a huge space that could be freed up for more sessions. Why not deliver cold sandwich lunches, more informal seating areas and more stations around the conference centre. There are also many places around to grab your own snacks or lunch. I didn’t eat in the large hall at all after I realised how much time was wasted getting there and back.
Just a few thoughts that have been burbling in my head. I’ll definitely be joining the JAM and you can register to do and read more about Think here