It's a new year and I can tell you one thing I'm already looking forward to: The next IBM Power Systems Technical University conference.
I've written about this annual event often over the years. It just always seems to energize me. I get to go and be surrounded by people who know what Power Systems are and can relate to what I do in my day to day job. They understand VIO servers. They understand AIX and IBM i. It's a refreshing change from social situations where people ask me what I do, and I tell them -- and they have no idea what I'm talking about. Often I end up just saying "I'm in IT" or "I work with computers." But at the Technical University, everyone gets it. We all understand how we make our livings.
The Technical University typically convenes in late October. At the 2012 event, three new Power Champions -- Ron Gordon, Terry Keene and Andy Lin -- were announced at the keynote presentation. They were introduced, and then the previous Power Champions (including me) got to stand and be recognized (see here. See also here for photos of the conference in general).
I admit, it is nice to be singled out this way. Being recognized, people came up and talked to me for the rest of the week. I enjoy hearing from other attendees. First of all, it's just nice to put a face with a name. Oftentimes I'll meet people whose work I've read on blogs or seen and heard in presentations and seminars that I've found valuable. Or maybe we've simply exchanged emails over time. I believe meeting people in "real life" enhances the relationship, making each person more invested in helping the other.
In addition, those I encounter at Technical University and other conferences often give me ideas for articles and blog posts. The general support and encouragement I've received face to face from readers is also greatly appreciated.
What makes Technical University stand out though is the opportunity to meet and interact with experts -- including many key IBM technologists -- in the Power Systems ecosystem. There simply isn't a better place to ask a question and get an immediate, informed answer.
I mention Technical University now because if you would like to attend this year's event -- it's Oct. 21-25 in Orlando -- now is the time to plan for it. If you've never gone before, no sweat: Each year they ask for a show of hands of those who are there for the first time, and at each conference more than half the attendees in the room have their hands raised. The conference is growing, because it's a great event -- and also because the platform is growing. New customers are migrating to it.
In many companies, 2013 budgets will be set over the next few weeks. I encourage you to make your case to attend IBM Technical University. Attendees come from around the U.S. as well as from overseas. And, as I said, first-timers come in droves every year. You may even be able to qualify for a free voucher from IBM to attend the conference -- check with your IBM rep or business partner.
Technical University is one event I look forward to every year. I hope you can experience it for yourself. I believe you'll find it as valuable as I do.