EMC World 2008 – Random Reflections

EMC World was exhausting but very productive and a good time was had by everyone I spoke to. By all accounts from the many postings I’ve read this has been far more informative and newsworthy than in recent years for CMA.

As Marko pointed out, I was working the booth for the entire show with very few opportunities to meet elsewhere. We were CRAZY busy, which was great because the majority of the time I was talking to a very good mix of EMC folks and “real people.” Rather than recount the same session details you can find on the blog roll, I thought I would just summarize my impressions and reflections on the week.

  • ShareTop Is Not Inevitable – By far the best news I was able to glean from the conversations in the halls and overviews in the posts. Marko’s post (apparently titled by Dennis Miller) mentioned someone I hold immense respect for talking up Magellan. I can’t wait to see it in the field. I have written before that CMS vendors can not and should not surrender the UI without a fight. Multiple options for tight and loose coupling with different levels of integration are needed with SharePoint. Simply swapping WebTop for WebParts is not enough in the long run though. The need is undeniable and is being met in many ways by others. EMC nevertheless owes it to their clients and customers to give them a rich, engaging, flexible and full featured UI that doesn’t tie them to Redmond. Both hopes and expectations were raised this week.
  • A Segway! A Segway! My Kingdom for a Segway! – Allow me to kvetch with everyone else a bit. The walk was brutal. It was better than Orlando, where I actually missed sessions because of the distance but it was a major haul getting from one place to another. Especially by the third day. On the positive side – I lost 10 pounds. (seriously)
  • Never buy new shoes the day before EMC World – In my defense they were on sale. With the twice daily pilgrimage from the Luxor, 20 hours of booth time in three days and the long (but entertaining) evening activities standing and chatting, my feet were killing me.
  • The Origin of PIE – I had a great evening chatting with Laurence Hart. I gave up explaining what I do for a living to people around me years ago, so it was great to spend some time with someone who has been around the block as many times as I have and share war stories. Unfortunately, one of those included the “Origin of Pie” which is now burned into my head and will require years of therapy. (you really don’t want to know)
  • Demo Gremlins – If you have ever worked one of these things, you have at some time been assaulted by the little green beasties responsible for breaking perfectly good demo’s. This week was my turn.
  • Masonic Plots and Assasinations – It seems that the four US Presidents weren’t Masons were all assassinated. Who needs the History Channel when you can eavesdrop on drunks in an elevator. (this was not fact checked for what I hope are obvious reasons)
  • Not Enough Time In The Day – My biggest regret for the conference was that I was not able to get time to seek out Lance Shaw, Andrew Chapman and a few other key folk to discuss SharePoint and the future UI. Opportunities to chat with critical people like that are rare and I always encourage customers to get to know the people behind the products. EMC benefits from feedback unfiltered by the well meaning but overly optimistic sales force. Customers benefit by getting insight into the question they always ask in the middle of an install. “Why would you do THAT!” I’ve also found that when it matters most, having relationships and even friendships across vendor client boundaries makes us all more sympathetic to each other’s problems and constraints.
  • A Special Thank You – to the readers who stopped by and said hello. It was a great encouragement to both of us. For those who asked – Marko found the RC Sumo Wrestlers on ThinkGeek.

After some much needed rest and time spent with the family restoring balance to the universe, the follow up starts. We all try to digest what we saw and integrate it into our plans and recommendations. It was a great week.

One final thought. EMC is doing better at bringing together their acquisitions into a single voice. With mixed emotions I have just noticed that I have not mentioned the word “Documentum” in this post until now. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe not. Time will tell.

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