Posts Tagged ‘Chris Evans’

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#HPDiscover Vegas 2011: A Blogger’s Eye View – by @ChrisMEvans

June 28, 2011

Guest post by @ChrisMEvans AKA The Storage Architect

I’ve just returned from a week in Las Vegas, attending HP Discover 2011 as an invited blogger.  The city is a sight to behold and no doubt for many people, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

As a blogger, I reported on the technology futures presented by HP across keynotes and another 800 sessions.  However looking at the event from a different angle, how did HP measure up in terms of their handling of the blogger community and social media in general?

Getting There

 

Unfortunately I don’t get paid to blog, so writing is more a labour of love than a job.  Attending events such as Discover require me to take unpaid time off and I couldn’t afford to also cover airfare and accommodation.  For this event HP do cover costs, which is a huge benefit.  There’s always the issue of being considered “pay to say” if a vendor is paying for your travel, however HP are keen to stress there are no requirements on blog numbers or content.

Bloggers’ Lounge

Like many large conferences these days, HP set up a lounge for the bloggers to use during the event.  This provided refreshments (although plenty were available on the main hall floor), lockers, casual chairs and more formal desk workspace.  As a central focus the lounge is a great idea; it is a place to congregate but was also used to bring in senior execs for less formal discussions.  This is the level of access not available to typical attendees and provides an opportunity to ask some incisive questions.

Internet Access

A key feature of the Bloggers’ Lounge was wired Internet connectivity.  It’s fairly obvious that bloggers are going to want to post online, but a fast connection is essential for uploading those podcasts and videos.  HP also realised that both show floor Wifi and hotel room Wifi can be unpredictable and so provided each blogger a 4G wireless card for the duration of the show.  The availability of free Wifi is even more essential for international travellers as roaming data charges are unrealistically expensive.  Of course Internet access means bloggers can tweet away to their heart’s content – an essential component for social media at these events.

Evening Events

The event days are always busy and it’s nice to unwind in the evening.  HP make an effort to ensure there is something occurring each evening, including involving senior executives in a less formal environment.    As an example, I chatted with David Scott (GM of the HP Storage division) over lunch and with some of his colleagues in one of the evening events.  There’s no attempt to restrict or control these conversations.

Access All Areas

As the first major event I’ve attended with HP, one of the most enjoyable features was our ability to see how the event was set up.  All of the bloggers were taken on a tour backstage during the keynote rehearsals (you can see that from some of the pictures I took) and we were allowed to view the show floor before all of the main attendees arrived.  A huge amount of hard work goes into staging these events and allowing bloggers to talk about it is a smart move.

Summary

In summary here are the main points to consider if you’re looking to bring bloggers to your event.

  • Offer free attendance and travel, where possible.
  • Ensure good quality Internet access.
  • Pick a hashtag for twitter and circulate it early.
  • Provide access to senior execs and SMEs.
  • Create a mix of both formal and informal evening events.
  • Try and provide bloggers with access they couldn’t achieve as a normal attendee.

One last thing worth noting; HP didn’t run the social media aspect of HP Discover 2011 alone.  The majority of the logistics were handled by Ivy Worldwide (www.ivyworldwide.com).  They have the experience in managing blogger attendees, from the original discussions to organising hotels, transport and so on.  This partnership clearly works well and having a good partnership like the one between Ivy and HP is a key strategy to social media success.

(Ed: Thank Chris for this. To find out more about Chris and his blogs: www.thestoragearchitect.com and www.thevirtualisationarchitect.com, read our interview with him here.)

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Q and A with #storage blogger Chris Evans – Mr Storage Architect

October 21, 2010

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

We’re delighted to now have our first interview with leading storage blogger. Chris will be at SNW Europe next week so be sure to send him a tweet or say Hi to him at #storagebeers or should I say #storagebiers in Frankfurt!

Q. Tell us a bit about you: 

CE: I live in Bedfordshire with my wife and two children and for the last 23 something years I’ve worked in IT, mainly in independent roles.  These days I spend my time consulting to large clients, which has tended to have a focus on the financial sector.  This is mainly in the storage area but isn’t exclusively storage-based.  Outside of work I try to spend as much time as possible with my family, which usually finds me on the sidelines of football pitches for most of the weekend, watching my sons play.  I’m keen on photography, cycling and of course as anyone who knows me will tell you, food too!

Q – Tell us a little bit about the blogs you write and their interest in data storage:

CE:My main blogging site is The Storage Architect (www.thestoragearchitect.com) although I have a new site at www.thevirtualisationarchitect.com that concentrates more on virtualisation and cloud issues.  I like to write with the perspective of an IT architect, so you’ll find me discussing the issues involved in delivering IT and storage as a service.  I also do reviews from time to time and also post occasionally on more specific technical subjects.

Q – Are you a full-time blogger? If not give us an insight into the other parts of your working life.

CE: Unfortunately blogging is just a labour of love and something I do when time permits!  I have a real day job consulting with my colleagues at Langton Blue (www.langtonblue.com).  We try and look at IT issues from a business perspective and help clients solve their problems.  This can be anything from optimising their storage environment to assisting in tenders for new products.  I like dealing with many customers as it gives a wide range of perspectives on the industry; no one company does everything right.

Q – What’s hot in IT storage this year?

CE:We’ve seen a large number of acquisitions as the larger vendors look to strengthen their storage portfolios.  These have centered around delivering storage for utility computing, data reduction (e.g. De-dupe technologies) and of course meeting the needs of virtualisation.  I expect in the next 12 months we’ll see more around primary de-duplication and integrating cloud and on-premise storage solutions.

Q – How many storage events do you attend each year?  

CE: In previous years not many, other than the UK’s Storage Expo, which seems to have lost its way.  However I have travelled extensively this year as part of vendor tech briefing days, including a trip to Japan, which was a great experience.

Q – Which one are you most looking forward to?  

CE: n the coming year I’m looking to try some new events such as Microsoft’s TechEd in order to get a different view of the market.  I’m hoping to get to HP’s Forum next year and possibly VMworld and of course I will be attending SNW Europe next week.

Q. -What types of stories or companies are likely to attract your attention this year?  

CE: I’m interested to see how infrastructure is converging and how that will have an effect on the way we view technology delivery.  We’re moving away from a silo’ed approach where the Network/Storage/Server teams had little interaction into a scenario where IT professionals need to have a wide range of knowledge.  I’m also keen to see what solutions will be developed to implement IT on a large scale as required to deliver Cloud Computing.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

CE: Perhaps 2-3 a week, depending on how announcements come out.  These are almost exclusively ‘phone calls as most IT companies are based in the US.  It can mean some are at slightly unsociable hours!

Q – What’s the best way to pitch a story to you? Email? Phone? Twitter? By mail?

CE: Email and Twitter are probably best as I can’t always guarantee to answer ‘phone calls if I’m on customer sites.  Mail is way to slow to bother with!  You can always mail me (chris@brookend.com) or contact me on Twitter – @chrismevans.

Q – What is your favourite piece of technology?

CE: I think it would have to be my iPhone.  I’ve been a big fan of electronic organisers for many years, including the great Psion devices.  The iPhone provides everything in a single place, so I don’t need multiple devices to listen to music, browse the web and take notes.  I can also ensure anything I need to access is synchonised automatically because of the “always on” nature of the phone.  The App Store was a piece of genius thinking from Apple as it essentially extends what was otherwise a static device into something that can offer more and more every day.  I’d like a longer battery life on my iPhone as a full charge sometimes doesn’t last the day!


Q -What do you think is the most important development in IT storage to date?  

CE: hat’s a tricky question as it would be easy to pick a few recent developments as examples.  However, I started on the mainframe platform so many of the things we see today aren’t new.  Without a doubt we wouldn’t be here today without the disk drive and more specifically the packaging of the 3.5” drive that has become ubiquitous today.  I do admire the scentists who can manage to squeeze more and more capacity into the same form factor by inventing new recording techniques. RAID also played a massive part in improving reliability and availability of data.  There are many more amazing developments that are too numerous to mention here.


Q – What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

CE: I expect to see something real and quantifiable in a story.  I’m not interested in seling successes, but much more in seeing how companies have innovated and produced unique and real ideas that are game changers.  I’m always interesting in reading about those.

Q – What was the best press trip you’ve ever been on? Why was it so great? Any tips for PRs planning trips/events for bloggers?

CE: Without doubt it has to be this year’s trip to Japan with Hitachi/HDS.  It was amazing to experience such a different culture to that in the west.  The local team were so organised in ensuring we got from one event to another in typically efficient Japanese fashion, but at the same time we had a chance to experience some great restaurants and engage with senior execs at Hitachi.  I think PRs should be making an effort to get a good balance between the formal and informal parts of the event and get execs accessible to the bloggers.  The best discussions occur in the restaurants and bars after the formal presentations.

Q- What’s your favourite restaurant?

CE:  don’t really have a particular favourite as I love to try new places all the time, however as a family we find ourselves regularly at Pizza Express and Loch Fyne to get our pizza and seafood fixes!  Fortunately, living just outside London gives is plenty of choice and on a recent trip to Barcelona I was able to indulge in some great paella.

Q – Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

CE: Absolutely I’m a fan (and I guess I’d have to say that anyway) but it is true.  Social media has done many things; it’s opened up the world for people to communicate and share with friends and family in a way they never could before.  It has changed the way IT vendors approach customers and made them be more responsive and open, which provides great value to the end user.

Q- Tell us something no-one knows about you? Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

CE: Unfortunately I don’t have any peculiar talents, however in the internet boom I co-founded a company selling music online before Apple released their iTunes store.  In fact we sold customised CDs first, as the way to get just the tracks you wanted then moved into digital downloads but we were too far ahead of the market and couldn’t get access to decent music content.

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