Wow. Just wow. The energy in the room was palpable. To be completely honest, I was initially worried about the return to in-person events in the United States, but my fears were quickly allayed. You outdid yourselves. The majority of the room was new to attending a SolarWinds User Group – and it was amazing to see all the new faces. I recognized so many names from THWACK and it was great to see everyone IRL (that’s “In real life” for us hamster-dance era Internet people).
The THWACK MVPs also came out in force. I want to extend a special thanks to m_roberts who stayed on a few extra days from his other business trip to attend with us and zennifer who I got to meet for the first time in person.
The number of SWUG
n00bs was amazing. Over 90% of the people in the room were attending a SolarWinds User Group for the first time ever. Even for some of the staff, it was their first time and that made the day even more special for myself, ChrystalT, ccousineau, and several of the other veterans.
Brandon and Tim’s sessions set the tone for the day and set the framework upon all our other discussions were suspended. We had Kris from Loop1 systems talk about how you can use your SolarWinds solutions to find exactly what you are seeking: the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Then we broke for lunch and got to chat with some community veterans that were in attendance. On a personal note: hello again to brianab who I met at Chicago SWUG many years ago - thanks for the Renn Fair and Comic Con chats!
In the afternoon, I walked people through Modern Dashboards in a college class way while UX, Academy, and our other technical experts discussed all things SolarWinds in our breakout rooms.
Then there was the happy hour. Attendees were nice enough to stay and continue the discussion into the early evening. It was amazing hearing the conversations between attendees – not the SolarWinds staff. This is the power of the THWACK community, people helping people. Not to say we didn’t partake in the conversations, because we surely did, but it was the talking among the attendees that always makes this kind of event great.
Finally, it was to bed for a few hours of shut eye and back for day 2.
Everyone grabbed some breakfast on day 2 and we were off to the races.
I started the day with a discussion about proper party makeup and how it’s important for making sure you have visibility everywhere – otherwise your NPC’s end users would be lost. IT is an adventure and it’s important to remember why we do our jobs. What I love about this keynote is I get into character a little bit. If you were there, you understand what I mean - also don't spoil it in the comments for anyone who might be attending a future SWUG.
Brandon broke down a few walls and explained why it feels like Product Managers don’t always listen and build exactly what you want. It’s a frank discussion that peels back the curtain about working in the software trade and one of my favorite presentations from the customer perspective.
JP from Tobias International showed people how to automate some of their monitoring with scripts and provided examples of how to get the most from your environment. It whetted the appetites of people for some afternoon sessions.
We had a little lunch and then I was back to professor mode for the SolarWinds Platform’s API 101-301 while experts abounded in the other rooms. The only problem with having your own presentations is that you don’t get the chance to be a part of the room for other sessions. It’s a double-edged sword, but I'm looking forward to a little more free time at the upcoming SWUGs so I can be a fly on the wall in other sessions.
And that sums it up for another great SolarWinds User Group in Austin. Next up, Singapore in October for a special one-day only event and then Phoenix for a two-day SolarWinds User Group in November. I’ll be riding the wave of excitement from this event for the foreseeable future and am looking forward to continuing to connect with everyone in real life.
To everyone who attended, enjoy your earned THWACK points and check your email for the survey link, so you can get access to the presentation slides. I've also got an idea about building a special space here on THWACK only for attendees to continue the discussion. Maybe it's only a proto-idea right now, but watch out for any messages from THWACK. Correction: It's a legit idea and I did a thing for you.
We're hopeful that we'll have the full list of cities and months for 2023 by the end of January, so members can sign up for a SWUG that's convenient to their location. In the meantime, let me know what was your favorite part of the SWUG and share some pictures (NO SPOILERS!) you took at and around the event.
Maybe take a few of those earned THWACK points and buy a set of polyhedral dice?
Until next time THWACKsters, this is your friendly neighborhood ranger bidding you farewell, kind fires, and fair winds to wherever your adventures lead.