A Fistful of Dollars, Looking Back on EMC World/Momentum 2010

Last year’s recap theme was a wonderful Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  I made the mistake of starting with the third chapter of the trilogy, so I am going with the first one for this year’s theme.image

This is more than just a desire to keep with a theme.  Like the movie, I kept switching sides at this conference.  I would spend time at EMC World events and venues, followed by stints hanging out and experiencing the world of Momentum, the Documentum/IIG side of the house.  There where even two hashtags for twitter, #emcworld and #mmtm10.

When you think about it, the separate feeling is a good thing.  It sure was for Clint.

So I am going to look at the conference from the two sides of the conference.

EMC World

Let’s face it.  This is still a vast majority of the attendees.  The theme was the Private Cloud.  It was everywhere.  If you went and missed it, then you need to reimburse your company for your expenses because you weren’t paying attention.

My favorite part of this side was Len Devanna and the Blogger’s Lounge.  Aside from the espresso drinks and more plentiful power outlets, it was a great place to go and chat with people about the show and industry as a whole.  Aside from a desire for some snacks, it was a most excellent place.

You could tell that there was a recession though.  The swag was not as cool as in year’s past.  The bag that was handed out was functional at best.  To be fair, that isn’t why I come to these things, so no real complaints.

One last thing, let the bus schedule take rush hour into account.  If that means that the first bus in the morning leaves 15 minutes earlier and the last leaves a little later, so be it.


We had some slight improvements over last year.  The improvements weren’t visible because they took place before people arrived.  What did they do right?

  • No steps back.  The Momentum group still had a very separate area in which to gather and it was easier to find people.  People felt the separation was better marked this year.
  • All Hands on Deck. Simple enough, just about everyone that you interact with in the social media world was there.  The Big Men were missing, but aside from that, people were at the conference.  Let’s shoot for 100% next year.
  • Client presentations.  Many presentations were not given, or conceived of, by EMC employees.  People were able to submit topics and present.  It was great.  Those were the best sessions.

What about next year?  Well, I have already been told that it will be in Vegas and that Momentum will be separate as a conference and co-located.  What would I like to see?

  • More user/partner sessions.  Let’s hear more from people that have used the tech.  Learning from people that have done, in the wild, what you are about to do in your organization is invaluable.  Let’s have more of them and let’s advertise it more broadly in the user community.
  • More business users.  Now that we have just about segregated the Documentum/IIG attendees from the core EMC attendees, let’s try and get the business users back.  It isn’t intimidating as it used to be back in 07 and 08.  Please come back.
  • Separate lunch area. It would be cool to have a lunch area for Momentum users.  It is a period of disconnect where you feel lost in the sea of storage experts.  Lunch is a great time for casual conversations, so we need to find the right people with which to have them.
  • Less marketing. We already bought the product.  We understand the business value.  Unless the product/offering is new, in concept and implementation, trim that intro WAY down and talk about what it does and HOW it does it.  I heard from many that many of the presentations were too high level.  I didn’t hear that comment about any of the client/partner presentations.
  • Start with the keynote. Day one should be sooo simple.  Start the day with the keynote.  If you don’t want to schedule opposite Tucci, throw the keynote into the schedule either before or immediately afterwards.  The rest of the day should include all the roadmap and overview sessions.  The next day, start getting nitty-gritty and have case studies.  The first day should have everyone armed with all the latest news and looking for the right sessions to dive into more detail.
  • Create a big-room track.  There needs to be a designated big-room for the hot topics.  Victor’s Architecture presentation, John’s Roadmap, Ed’s Performance tuning, SharePoint topics, and others.
  • Rinse and repeat.  Some of the sessions, like the roadmap, need to be shown more than once so people can attend the session that works best for their schedule.  Book some of those second sessions from the outset so people can plan which one to attend.  The presenter is already in town, the presentation is written, why not just do some of them twice?
  • Developer hands-on.  There used to be a developer conference with a lot of hands-on labs and technical sessions.  They are definitely fading away.  A dedicated track or lab room would help.

Any other ideas, thoughts, or feedback?  Share them here.

I do have one request for EMC, can we go to a new city in 2012?  Tired of Vegas and Orlando.

6 thoughts on “A Fistful of Dollars, Looking Back on EMC World/Momentum 2010

  1. Thanks for the compliment, Pie. It’s (relatively) easy to make the Bloggers Lounge happen… It’s the people in there, such as yourself, that help create the overall vibe and make it what it is.

    Glad you enjoyed the show. Thanks for the feedback across the board, and good travels home.



    • Thanks Len. For the record, having you there to chat with is one of the perks of the lounge. Jamie’s pretty cool as well. 🙂


  2. I tweeted it already but thank you again for all of the updates and providing a central place to look for news. It was a great service and much appreciated. Also it is good to know we were missed 🙂



  3. Chris Campbell says:

    A few of my observations:
    Transportation – Mixed bag here. Getting around in Boston isn’t the easiest, which is no fault of the conference itself. There were plenty of buses and routes and I personally didn’t have to wait long for one to come along. (Your experience may differ.) Three things to improve would be: 1) Not overlap breakfast with those people being bused to the center. 2) I know I need exercise, but do the buses *have* to be so spaced out around the conference center? 3) If you sponsor a “after hours” party (and this goes for vendors as well) arrange some free transportation back to the hotel. Yes, taxis do exist, but they are expensive or aren’t covered by everyone’s per diem.

    Presentations – I really liked that the Documentum sessions were all held in the same area. Easy to find and browse the sessions. I liked that the Momentum lounge was at the end and liked that Studio E had a small kiosk. The twitter screens were a welcome distraction, although it seems like the same tweets were circulating. (Only one of my tweets was ever picked up it seemed.) Every EMC presentation seemed to have a mandated slide about the Cloud. I’m all for the Cloud and the unity of presenting a message, but a few presentations seemed to have the message “forced” in to be compliant and it ended up breaking the flow of the presentation. Two things I’d improve would be: 1) Better technical labeling of the sessions. I personally interpret “Introductory” level as being a sales presentation. There is a definite need for these type of sessions for those people looking for solutions to problems that may not have heard of a product. Some “Intermediate” level sessons were too heavy on the sales pitch which resulted in too much sizzle and not enough steak. I’d love to see more Advanced level presentations given. 2) I’m not going to win over many developers over with this idea, but I’d like to see some sort of developer mixer to share ideas or pick brains. On the final day of the conference, I had David Louie on my bus back to the hotel. There were only four people and I thought about striking up a conversation with David; but the poor guy looked beat and I’m sure the last thing he needed was me talking about how the method server handles workflow packages. It wasn’t the right time or place it seemed like. I don’t want such a mixer to be a “hey, I can get free tech support” event. It should be constructed so conversations included phrases like “have you thought about this approach” or “I haven’t thought of that, but have you tried…”

    Labs – Where did they go? I know in years past the labs were always full and crowded. I know there were one or two, but my schedule couldn’t fit them in. So what’s the plan for the future? Replace them with other sessions or hold them online during the year? Perhaps it was a logistical issue.

    Wireless – One thing I loved was the entire conference center was a giant hotspot and had plenty of plugs to go around. One message was to be more “social” and this helped.

    Studio E, EDN and Social Media – Major props to the folks running Studio E, EDN and all the others working on social media. It goes back to establishing a community of users. I could go back to Studio E and hang out with friends and relax. It made the conference fun, and allowed me to network with others. Many, many sessions were making use of EDN. I especially liked the fact that a few stressed that the material being presented was already available on EDN several weeks ago! I think that grabbed the attention of many and I hope it shows.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting several things but I’ve got so much in my head at the moment, it’s hard to keep it all straight. I’ve got some other thoughts I’ll post in other threads. Already looking forward to next year.


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