I have a whole post about what I saw at Cisco Live and what I think about what I saw, which will be posted in the next few days, but as I started writing that article, I realized that I had a lot of ink to spill about our amazing SolarWinds team and the experience I had working with them during the convention this year. I realized that it deserves its own dedicated space, which is what this post is about.
I hope you'll take the time to read this preface, share my gratitude, and maybe even leave thoughts of your own in the comments below if you were able to experience any of our shows.
The first thing that plucked at my heartstrings was the booth. Veteran event specialists Cara Prystowski and Helen Stewart executed masterfully, including a completely new (and jaw-droppingly awesome) booth design with the largest team ever assembled. Words cannot do it justice, so here are some pictures:
The team this year boasted an incredible mix of skills and perspectives. We had our usual complement of engineers and geeky types, including NPM Product Managers Chris O'Brien and Kevin Sparenberg; Sales Engineers Sean Martinez, Andrew Adams, Miquel Gonzalez, and David Byrd; Product Marketing Managers Robert Blair and Abigail Norman; and even some of our depth technical leads, including Product Strategist Michal Hrncirik, Principal Architect (and resident booth babe) Karlo Zatylny, and Technical Lead Developer Lan Li.
This was a powerhouse of a team, and there wasn't a single question that people brought to the booth that couldn't be addressed by someone on staff.
Of course, Head Geeks Patrick Hubbard and Destiny Bertucci (not to mention Yours Truly) were there, as well, adding a unique voice and vision for where technology is heading. I can’t stress this enough: Destiny, our newest addition to the Head Geek team, kicked serious geek butt, in the booth, on the trade show floor, and at our SWUG. She is a juggernaut.
But the awesome didn't stop there.
Wendy Abbott was working the crowd like the THWACK rock star she is, helping people understand the value of our online community, as well as the spreading the word about our upcoming THWACKcamp, happening September 14th and 15th. She also split her time between the booth and helping the inimitable Danielle Higgins run our first-ever "mini-SWUG": A SolarWinds User Group for Cisco Live attendees and Las Vegas locals. It was a total blast.
Our Social Media Ninja Allie Eby was also on hand, helping direct visitors and field questions while capturing and promoting the ideas and images swirling around our booth on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Support can be an unsung and under-developed area in any tech organization. But Jennifer Kuvlesky was on hand to show off the new Customer Success Center, helping existing customers and people new to our company understand that we are committed to providing in-depth technical information about our products and the problems they solve.
We even had senior UX designer Tulsi Patel with us, to capture ideas and reactions about our new Orion UI, as well as the features and functions of our products. How's that for responsive? We actually were able to take user feedback from the booth as people were interacting with our products!
Jonathan Pfertner and Caleb Theimer, crack members of our video team, were tirelessly capturing video footage, testimonials, customer reactions, and action shots of the show. Look for some of those images coming soon.
Even our management team was firing on all cylinders. Jenne Barbour (Sr. Director of Marketing and un-official Head Geek wrangler) and Nicole Eversgerd (Sr. Director of Brand and Events) put in as many hours, logged as many carpeted miles, and radiated as many geek-friendly smiles as the rest of the team.
Finally, we had a top notch onsite setup crew. Patrick mentioned that it was the first time he was able to just walk in and turn on the PCs. No small thanks for that goes to Kong and his help provisioning systems last weekend.
It was, as Patrick mentioned on Twitter the "best #CLUS ever.”
Now that you have an appreciation for just how awesome the SolarWinds crew was, sit tight for my thoughts about what I saw this year, and what it means for us as IT pros.