I’m in San Jose, California as a member of the Network Field Day 5 delegation this week. NFD is under the Tech Field Day umbrella of events, and is not a Packet Pushers event as such – although we’ve been a part of them, and Greg in particular has helped to organize some of them. I’ve been to Network Field Day events many times before, and am quite familiar with how they work. Technology bloggers & podcasters active in social media and with a meaningful following come to Silicon Valley to hear networking vendors present about their products. The delegation creates content about the presentations that they find interesting, letting their following know what they think.
The delegates are not paid, although travel and expenses are covered. The vendors are not entitled to get a positive review of their presentation or products by the delegates, who can say what they like, whether that opinion is positive, negative, or ambivalent. The events have been popular, with Network Field Day 5 going on this week, and Network Field Day 6 already on the calendar. Now, I know there’s many networking vendors that have not presented to an NFD delegation. We want to hear from you, not because NFD is having trouble filling slots (just the opposite), but because this is an opportunity more vendors should engage in. Let’s talk about why.
- The people that follow NFD delegates are exactly the kind of people you want to talk to. Network engineers. Network architects. People with problems to solve and pain points to be relieved. Folks who understand technology deeply and are passionate about it. By presenting to a NFD delegation, you’re indirectly presenting to the delegation’s audience. You’re reaching the right people.
- You get to present technology to technical people. We understand the problems networking is facing, because we’re in the thick of it every day. We build networks for a living, and have been for a long time. While many of us contribute to the larger IT media world, at heart we’re technologists. We care about this stuff…a lot. So you’re not just presenting to a potential customer. You’re presenting to people who love and want to talk about tech. If you’re doing something interesting, you can bet we’re going to write about it.
- You can add your voice to an ongoing networking community conversation. The network Field Day delegations comprise dozens of bloggers and podcasters with aggregate followings on Twitter, G+, etc. in the tens of thousands. We’re involved in practically every vertical market you can imagine: financials, higher ed, tech, SMB, service providers, integrators, etc. We exchange ideas and information constantly. We read and comment on each other’s content, along with the rest of the larger networking community. We discuss our challenges in forum posts, chat on Skype, and tackle the real-world problems we have, all out in the open. I think you get the point, but here’s the thing. If we don’t know about your product or solution, we can’t talk about you. You’re left out, not because anyone has anything against you, but simply because this very active and vocal crowd might not know much about you. Are you a startup with a great new product? Tell us about it – if what you’re doing is cool, we’ll spread the word. Are you an established vendor with an underrepresented product? Make your case to an NFD delegation and point out what we’ve been missing.
In short, NFD is an opportunity for vendors to connect with a very connected audience. You’re talking to people with problems to solve and who influence the decisions about how to solve them. NFD is a great event for vendors to get plugged into.