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E2 Wednesday: The Toaster-Killing Cloud, E2 Clusterfage, You Give Good Boothage, There’s Such a Thing as Too Much Stuphs, Great Party

By peter | Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

It’s Wednesday afternoon at Enterprise 2.0. In spite of a few frustrating failures in infrastructure, it’s been a really great two days here at E2 for Trampoline.

Right now I’m sitting in the EMC booth stealing their hardline because WiFi is down (again) and our hardline is down (again). Evidently Enterprise 2.0 still doesn’t mean reliable internet connections or badge readers which, like, read badges.

Ironically even the toasters on the breakfast bar this morning were teh fail and I had to steal one and jack it into a power strip inside one of the breakout rooms to toast my bagel. (Which, by the way, was artfully sliced to look like the victim of a drunken accident with a chainsaw. Not that I am in the least bit picky about my toasting. Oh no, not me.)

The deepest irony about the toasters was that during the “Evening in the Cloud” event several speakers likened cloud computing to needing to be as predictable, reliable and standards-driven as our electricity supply, clearly tempting fate and cursing the event and my breakfast toasting.

New England is in the middle of one of the weirdest early June weather fronts in history with temperatures in the high 90’s and huge thunder-storms and even tornado warnings, and really, there’s only one company on the planet to blame all of this on…

I blame google, of course.

I hereby declare that cloud computing evangelists are no longer to be taken seriously if they liken their services to electricity. In fact you should probably immediately take proactive de-cursing actions lest you find yourself suddenly in a region-wide freak weather phenom, total blackout or starring in a real-life version of I Am Legend.

Adrian, Steve Ardire and I worked the booth yesterday (with occasional support from Rebecca and Jules, who had lots to do on the party and so were constantly jetting about the hotel alternatively solving herculean problems and looking wistfully out the window at the sailboats).

The booth experience was very, very interesting. As always Adrian was the companies greatest low-key evangelist and gave great demo while Steve managed little micro-demos on his mac off on the side. (The people Steve talked to all left with a very pleased but somewhat dazed look in their eyes.) We were 2 or 3 rows deep for most of the day, even when all we had was Rebecca’s awesome slide deck because our hardline to the internet was dead (as were most booths) Tuesday morning.

The people who have visited us at the booth have been uniformly smart and enthusiastic and ask really great questions. While some folks are clearly still just looking and thinking (which is fine) the interest level at this show in real solutions to current enterprise problems is very high. So ++ on SONAR Server, Dashboard and Flightdeck.

When I joined Trampoline we were still supporting a product called “Collaboration Engine” which dated back to the earliest days of the company. It did what our customers wanted it to and it was also decent revenue, however when I looked at the product, talked with the team about it and then looked around at the marketplace and compared it to where other folks seemed to be headed, I recommended that we should cut it completely.

Why? Because I thought then that everybody would be doing “collaboration software” and it would become increasingly difficult to clearly differentiate our collaboration offering from others in this space. Collaboration in an enterprise means getting many many things right and it means potentially competing with experienced and/or entrenched competitors. There are clearly vendors here who are doing this well (IBM Connections is looking very slick, while Jive is here as well) and others who are highly entrenched (MS is here with SharePoint).

Most of the people I’ve spoken with told me “wow. Everyone else showing here is doing the same thing as eachother except for you. Your stuff is cool!” This was a really important bit of feedback and was very rewarding to hear. It’s nice to be told that you don’t look exactly the same as everybody else and to be appreciate for what you think you are doing well. People seem to really appreciate that we don’t build wiki, group, IM, email, workspace and blogging software but that we do make it much easier to build profiles to find people, skills and interests across large groups of people, and to visualize networks in interesting and engaging ways.

Wikis are clearly hot and there are lots of wiki companies here doing some neat stuff and again, glad they are doing it and doing it well, also very glad to not be “another wiki company”.

I don’t think that anyone one else at this show is eating email and automagically producing and maintaining user profiles of themes and connections, and lots of potential customers are noticing that this is what we do and they like it. It’s really refreshing.

Many of the vendors here at the show have come by and asked us about our upcoming API as they see what we are doing as very complimentary to their offerings. We can make collaboration tools like email and wikis work better. All cool.

The party last night was very good. Massive props to Rebecca; she kept her cool and created a really nice event. It was probably the nicest conference drinking event I’ve ever been to (and really, I’ve been to LOTS. Like, way more than 100), and that’s in spite of having to “work it” in the sense that we paid for it and so it was clearly soft marketing for us. It was really chill and fun and intimate and the music was good and people really seemed to be having a good time. Charles did a neat presentation on St. Agnes that was as interesting and low-key as the rest of the party.

As near as I can tell folks had lots of fun, and when Boston’s finest came they didn’t see the burned furniture or the donkey, so it was all good. (Okay, just kidding about some of that.)

Note to conference party planners – more money and more drinking and famous bands don’t always make for a better party. Try for intimate and fun and get fun smart people to show up. Think of the best non-work parties you’ve ever been to – they probably were way less over the top than the next conference party you are planning.

So – despite the hiccups it’s been a great event. I’m really glad we are here.

We’ve all been on our feet all day again, but for the booth at least we are in the home stretch – just one more session on the demo floor for of boothy goodness! W007!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 at 8:19 pm and is filed under Events, Organisations & Technology, SONAR, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “E2 Wednesday: The Toaster-Killing Cloud, E2 Clusterfage, You Give Good Boothage, There’s Such a Thing as Too Much Stuphs, Great Party”

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  1. Chase says:

    The party was indeed a great event. The theme was intriguing, the photography was original, the presentation on St. Agnes was thoughtful and the pitch was low key. The animated demos contributed to the vibe and were not seen as intrusive. Thanks for coming all this way and bringing some color and fun along with you.

    - Chase

  2. Nate Nash says:

    Great party and great product at E2. Having been mildly assaulted by almost every vendor there, you guys were truly unique.

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