This week, I will participate as a first-time delegate for Networking Field Day 14. I’m excited, honored, and a bit intimidated by this great opportunity.
At Tech Field Day, industry vendors present intensely technical product information to network practitioners. The presentations are live-streamed, complete with unscripted question and answer sessions, and later archived over at the Tech Field Day web site. Delegates ask probing questions in a public forum and are often able to separate marketing from reality in ways that were impossible before social media.
Many of the #NFD14 delegates I’ve known through Twitter and have met at Cisco Live. I’ve listened to, and benefited from, Greg Ferro’s Packet Pushers podcast for years. Others will be new faces for me.
The Best Community Ever
Tech Field Day represents the best of the IT community. But I must say the networking community rises above any other, professional or non-professional, community which I’ve endeavored to be a part. They’re welcoming, inclusive, and downright helpful.
In many instances, I’ve reached out to a subject matter expert on Twitter to discuss a particular challenge I’ve faced. In one instance, I exchanged several emails about the benefits and downsides of ASA clustering – when to use it and when to implement a standard HA pair instead. In other cases, I’ve used the networking community to fact-check vendors. For example, Vendor A says Vendor B’s hardware falls down in high-load scenarios. Is that really true? The community has helped clarify.
Beyond these great traits, members of the networking community fulfill and break the stereotype of the “IT Guy” at the same time. Most of them fly their geek fly high — without apology. But at the same time, they’re witty, snarky, funny and more diverse than any stereotype would indicate. In my experience, their snark is lighthearted and rarely directed at one another. Vendors, executive leadership, corporate processes, and horrible applications bear the brunt of community criticism –- and in many instances rightfully so. Anyone, at any skill level, with a legitimate desire to learn their craft and grow as a network practitioner, will be welcomed.
So, if you tune into the live stream of Networking Field Day 14 and have a question, reach out! Use the #NFD14 hash tag or mention one of us in your tweets. I’ve done it in the past. Through the delegates, you’ll have direct access to vendors in ways you may not otherwise enjoy. Take advantage of it. We’re one big community with the same problems and challenges. If you have a question, I’m sure others do too. I hope you’ll join us for the live stream sessions next week. I’ll blog as I’m able but for instant (and often stream-of-consciousness) comments, watch my Twitter stream. We’ll enjoy experiencing networking awesomeness together!
This post wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to those in the network community who have reached out to me personally, helped me be a part, and encouraged my participation even when I felt clueless and bumbling. Follow these folks on Twitter, you won’t regret it.
And, check out the Network Field Day 14 delegate page to follow all the #NFD14 delegates.