just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

April 21, 2011

Had a *blast* speaking at Spiceworks Unplugged

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting on a four-person panel of SMB IT pros at Spiceworks' headquarters for their third ever Unplugged event.  This was a private event for Dell where our panel spent 90 minutes doing nothing but giving straight answers to point-blank questions from the Dell folks (marketing, sales and online brand management). There were no set agendas and no restrictions other than the time allotted for the event....

To summarize, the event was far more fun than I'd hoped. Spiceworks' pitch for the Unplugged events promotes them as a way to cut through the noise and chatter of analytics, market studies and the like and instead give tech vendors a way to get very direct, honest answers from the SMB consumers the vendors are after. The Spiceworks team is busy scheduling more of these events in the coming months and will likely provide something similar at this year's Spiceworld.

The amazing thing for me was that, by the end of the 90 minute event, I was as drawn in as a spectator as most of the Dell folks seemed to be. I certainly enjoyed the opportunity go face-to-face with marketing reps and say, "No, I don't pay much attention to mailers or unsolicited emails and I'd really appreciate it if you cut it out." However, I much more enjoyed simply being present to hear the other panelists' responses regarding how their own IT purchasing decisions were shaped. A meet-and-mingle period followed the close of the panel and I had the opportunity to talk to a number attendees who clearly felt that they had gained some valuable insights.

By the end of the evening I felt like I had benefited as much as many of the event attendees. True, some of that good feeling can probably be attributed to the catered finger foods and the open bar but mostly it was from a pure love of learning new things. And the little fried cheese thingys -- those were excellent. Kudos to Spiceworks for putting together such a neat series of events!

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