So I just finished my first Mobility Field Day 3, #MFD3, put on by Tech Field Day (Gestalt IT.) It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life!
At this point, you are probably thinking “well, here comes the book report on each presentation and how I was ‘blown away’ by all the vendors that presented” so I will stop reading now. Sorry to disappoint you but this is not one of those. Don’t worry, I took many notes and thanks to the way that Tech Field Day is recorded, there are video recordings of all the presentations so I can go back, review the tape and write extensive novels on every presentation and bore you that way. War and Peace wasn’t written in one weekend (maybe it was, I’m too tired to check right now) so give me some time.
What I want to discuss is the behind the scenes, the “sausage making” that I was completely unaware of, and the rest of the delegates that joined me in our merry jaunt through Silicon Valley (or “Silicone Valley” as one person called it.)
First up is Gestalt IT (@GestaltIT) and the team that was here on the ground with us. If you don’t know, Gestalt IT is the company formed by Stephen Foskett (@SFoskett) to facilitate getting people together and discussing the topic of the day. The Gestalt IT team for my first MFD was made up of Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd) and Ben Gage (@BenTGage). With detailed emails before the event and then from the moment each delegate touched down at the airport, they had everything under control and guided the two new people, me and Scott Lester (@theITrebel) with what we needed to do and wrangled the veterans like the herd of wild cats they are. I’m pretty sure that without their patience, understanding and just the right amount of snarkiness and sass that none of this would work. At least not with the crowd I was fortunate enough to join. Luckily it didn’t take Scott and I very long to shake the newness and jump right into the herd of wild cats to ensure that Tom and Ben had a full compliment of crazy, irreverent wireless geeks to wrangle through the rough and tumble streets of technology town and not just 10.
You’re welcome Tom and Ben!
For three days they tried to get us to focus on the task at hand and behave like adults that we have fooled people into thinking we are. All I can say is if you watched the live stream and the videos posted on YouTube and Vimeo after the fact it looked they they did a fantastic job with their task; it’s because they did. Off camera we lived up to the wild cat moniker. Me personally, I loved it. More than one time the group had me laughing so hard I cried. To reveal a secret, even Tom Hollingsworth joined the wild cat pack at times. Luckily Ben Gage was there to keep us inline. Ben’s a musician so I find it funny that the musician was the adult of the group. Tell me how many times you get to say that! Seriously, Ben deserves an award after our group!
Now for the delegates.
You can go read about them on the site but I want to round this up by filling you in on a few surprises I found out by hanging with the rest of the delegates.
- Robert Boardman – I’ve known Rob as the quirky part of the Wi-Fi of Everything duo of him and Rowell Dionicio (I have a man crush on Rowell, and he was here as a delegate as well, but this is about Rob.) In one of the bigger surprises for me this week, Rob is actually really smart! My perception of him completely changed when the camera went live and the heat was on. His questions and understanding of the vendors and the technology was impressive and I have a new found respect of him. Don’t get me wrong, he stilled delivered comedy relief while the camera was on, and he can be an even bigger dork off camera, but my whole perception of Rob has changed for the better because of this.
- Jennifer Huber – Jennifer worked a project for us one time a while ago, and I always thought of her as a proper wireless expert and very knowledgeable. I’m sorry Jennifer, but I might even say a little “boring.” She teaches yoga and eats healthy, and I really thought we wouldn’t get along much. Boy was I wrong! First day we sat next to each other through the Apple product launch, and she can turn on the angry woman in a flash! The words I heard coming from the professional sitting to my left was impressive! By the end of the Apple product launch I realized that I could really dig sitting next to her for the next three days and listen to her go off. Major props Jennifer!
- Keith Parsons – Everyone knows Keith, and everyone loves Keith. I have written many blog posts that talk about Keith and his role in my wireless journey, but this isn’t about that. I sat next to Keith a couple of times and I don’t know why this surprises me, but this is what I learned about Keith. That man can multi-task! I would look over and he would be doing something on his computer that made me think he wasn’t paying attention and then BANG! Keith would be asking tough questions about the presentation and taking their experts to task on what they said, and never letting them hide. One more thing to add to his myriad of skills and why it’s good to be friends with him.
- Lee Badman – Lee, from #WIFIQ fame, is the crotchety Wi-Fi man that you think of when you think of the hero of the suffers of bug infested wireless code. What I didn’t realize about Lee until this week is the man has a dry sense of humor that I find very appealing. That guy, if you give him the time, has some of the funniest ideas that I heard all week. I don’t want to give them away, but I really hope he follows through with the idea he presented during lunch on the last day. Lee, please help out the community and move that idea to the top of the list. It’s what the community needs, even if they don’t know it.
As for the other delegates, please don’t get me wrong, they were all the rock stars you think of when you hear their name. No disrespect to Amy Arnold, Johnathon Davis, Mitch Dickey, Rowell Dionicio, Sam Clements, Scott Lester, and Stew Goumans for not making my list above. Every single time there was something that needed to be said, a point made, calling out a vendor for not answering a question, whatever, they were always willing to step up and say what needed to be said. Sam was the gracious expert that I needed, Rowell was the quiet professional you think of, Stew was the 802.11eh representative we lacked. Amy was the star of the wired side when we needed the support for that subject, JD was constantly there keeping things moving and Mitch was the SCA champion you know him to be (and the Red Bull champion of the week, hope your heart is ok!) and Scott was always ready with a question or additional guidance and input.
I know that without the full compliment of delegates that the team was able to assemble, my week wouldn’t have been as great. In the end, I got just as much from the group that I traveled with as the vendors that presented. My hope is that as the group of delegates, we were able to represent the community at large and did our best to ensure that those that didn’t attend in person were able to benefit from our work as well.