Actually, this is very, very true.
In the past few months—since March, basically—I’ve visited 4 continents, countless nations, and talked to thousands of business partners, customers, new employees, and people with a general interest in what’s new at SolarWinds and how we’re doing.
The obvious reason for all the travel was the release of our latest solution, SolarWinds® Hybrid Cloud Observability, which was well received (and even more so as soon as everyone understood in what direction we’re going and why).
It’s not easy to remember where I’ve been, and to be honest, not every event is worth mentioning, but let me share some interesting experiences with you.
It started in March in London as we visited SQLBits.
Just a few minutes before the taxi was supposed to pick me up on the way to the Berlin airport, I had a bit of an incident and burned both of my hands. My girlfriend put my hands in ice, and once I arrived at the airport, I went straight to the emergency room. The doctor said, “Burns of degree 2b, here are some opioids to get you through the next few days.” I was flying even before I entered the aircraft.
And though it looks funny, please, don’t try this at home:
A week later, my hands were almost fine again. I flew to Dubai, one of my favorite cities.
The event was called GISEC, and it’s the biggest security-focused conference in the Middle East. For the first time ever, I had a speaking slot on the main stage:
Up until the moment I entered the stage, I was quite nervous (it was the main stage, after all), and my watch kept on sending high heart rate warnings. But once I was up there, I looked at my audience for a second and said to myself, “I own this, and it will be great.”
And in fact, it turned out so well attendees and even media representatives came to our booth for further discussions.
Another event I joined in April was a very interesting concept.
A distributor in Hamburg, Germany, runs a recurring event which is kind of a cooking show. They invite two or three of their vendors to help cook while talking tech and then (of course) eat the dishes. This is me in full gear:
I’ll be there again in July, and though the event is streamed live on YouTube, I’m sorry, it’s in German only.
Anyway, the food was fantastic:
Chicken filets rolled and fried in bacon on a bed of lentils, some roasted asparagus, and a brandy-pepper-cream sauce with a little spinach. I tried three different wines and paired it with a Cabernet Sauvignon in the end.
It was Michelin star-level food, really.
Though I had a short stop elsewhere the week after, I went to London again later in April for our very own SWUG™.
One of our Partners from the Netherlands brought a nice present, a 3-D-printed SolarWinds logo:
It looks so nice. Thanks, Edwin!
Also, I don’t know in which presentation I saw this slide, but I thought it was funny and wanted to share it with you:
I moved on to a few one-day events in random European cities, but in May, I managed to go to South Africa for the first time.
This is the Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg:
If I was going to summarize the trip, I’d say:
I’ve never been to a place with happier people.
The guys down there aren’t just friendly and funny—no, they’re genuinely happy, and they want you to feel the same.
Here’s an example: just at the end of my presentation, I mentioned, “Okay, lunch is already prepared outside. Please name me one or two local beers, as I’d like to try them.”
Ten minutes later, during lunch, they didn’t just come up with names—instead they came up with bottles and placed them at my table. More than one. More than two. But who cares? I managed to return to my hotel without accidents!
Oh, and by the way, I ate a Wagyu filet for the first time. I didn’t expect such a difference from a “normal” steak. Thanks for the experience, Glenn!
I joined a couple more one-day events in Europe again during May before the big trip started in early June.
I flew to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia first and was looking forward to it, as I’ve never been there before.
The airport alone is quite impressive:
The problem with Riyadh is the temperature.
It wasn’t even the hottest season of the year, but the temperature was already around 45°Celsius, which translates to 113° Fahrenheit, and it’s completely dry.
This isn’t good, as the body doesn’t sweat a lot, but sweating is required for the heat exchange.
If this doesn’t work, the body switches to plan B and increases the heart rate, as an accelerated blood circulation has a cooling effect, too. But this, obviously, comes with a limit.
I learned this the hard way:
I barely managed to return to the hotel from a walk, completely dizzy and close to collapsing.
Not one of my brightest moments, I guess.
But fortunately, on the next day, I had already recovered and was on stage again. It was a smaller one this time, as we invited regional business partners only.
People were laughing, as a few seconds earlier, a message from my girlfriend appeared on my watch: “Don’t eat that much again, Sascha,” and I had just told them.
Yeah, the message didn’t work out so well:
From Riyadh, we went straight to Dubai again. Did I mention I like the city?
Also, I’ve stayed in the same hotel every time I’ve been there since 2018, as it’s just across the road from the convention center. This time, there was a handwritten note from the hotel manager in my room and a few goodies. Such a nice gesture!
And I don’t see what’s wrong with a rooftop pool and bar:
This time it wasn’t the usual GITEX or GISEC but our own event. It took place in the Burj Al Arab, the only seven-star hotel in the world. It’s quite famous—it’s the one that looks like a sail.
It was an otherworldly experience!
They served individual scrambled eggs on spoons with truffles:
And when you think it’s impossible to top that level of decadence, look at the mousse au chocolat with an actual gold leaf:
Hello, SolarWinds, can we do this again, please? Not that gold is particularly tasty, but what an experience!
My next stop was Las Vegas, straight from the Emirates.
Not a very nice trip, to be honest, as it took me eight hours to get to London, I had a two-hour overlay in Heathrow, and then it took another eleven hours to get to Vegas.
Eventually, I managed:
This was another first time for me, but I wasn’t prepared for how expensive the city is!
Anyway, I invested two dollars in a slot machine just so I could check that box:
I drank overprized cocktails—I had no idea what was inside, something with something with vodka:
And suddenly, I arrived in Egypt:
Sadly, I had to return quickly, as it was time for Cisco Live:
The show was, as usual, a massive success for us.
ChrystalT and I were on stage—unfortunately, all I have is a behind-the-scenes picture taken just before the start of our session:
One of the main attractions was our claw machine. The queues were so long, our neighbors looked a bit jealous (and bored, but that’s another story):
Unsurprisingly, the attendees managed to empty it on the last day:
Many customers weren’t aware of our new solution and loved to hear about the unified codebase and the integrated API pollers.
An interesting side note is we had some of the best discussions on the last day. Maybe it’s because we served free mimosas:
And now for something completely different!
As an exhibitor, you’re allowed to enter the venue a little earlier, so I walked around in the early morning while barely anyone was there.
Advantage one: it’s quiet.
Advantage two: you can get close to the gear without anyone shouting, “Step away.”
So here are some audio samples. Yes, geek is not just part of my job title:
That's a NetApp.
Rack of Nexus. Many Nexus.
ASA and ISR. So calming!
Something new Cisco announced during their keynote.
And on my last morning before checking out, I saw this thing here.
If I ever return to Vegas, I need to get into this restaurant just to see how the machine picks a wine bottle for me:
Anyway, on my way back, I got upgraded to business class and felt I totally deserved it.
It made a big difference on another 11-hour flight.
Back home in Berlin, there was another nice surprise.
For the first time ever, I was on the cover of a print magazine.
I guess I don’t have to translate my tag line, and I’d guess you agree with me:
And of course, I brought additional badges for the collection:
All the traveling comes with a few perks like this:
I’ll reach platinum by autumn, and this is just my main hotel brand.
But let me tell you, there’s a lot you don’t see in all these pictures.
Business travel can be very, very exhausting.
In many cases, all you see is the airport, the hotel, the venue, and the airport again.
You might see a restaurant in between if you’re lucky.
Depending on whom you travel with or whom you meet, people often want to take you out for dinner or for sightseeing. And though it’s nice, it means a lack of sleep, which accumulates.
This happened to me in Vegas—the team went out for nice food and a city tour, but I dropped out and instead was in bed by 10 p.m.
The next few weeks, I’ll stay home and spend some time with this little fella here:
And new toys!
But don’t worry; in autumn, the conference season starts again, and I’m looking forward to the next batch of shows to join.
Take care, everyone. See you sometime, somewhere on the planet!
Deutsche Version - https://www.giese.cloud/2022/07/14/hallo-welt/