Sorry for not posting lately, but I've been travelling this week.
I seem to go back and forth between despising travel, and welcoming the variety and exposure to other perspectives.
I'll need to catch up as quickly as I can -- a lot happened this week that deserves commentary.
A Fun Week
I spent the first part of the week at EMC's Velocity Partner Council, held in Athens. The centerpiece of this event are several workshops where we put an issue or a plan on the table and invite our partners to debate it.
Most people who are new to these events are a bit reluctant at first to wade in and share their thoughts, but -- with a little encouragement -- just about everyone starts to let it rip after a few minutes.
If you're running one of these "feedback" sessions, maintaining the balance and the energy of the sessions can be tiring -- but fun! -- work. In addition to doing one of the keynotes, I worked with the team to put together a session on EMC's overall strategy for partners in the VMware space.
Prior to this session there was a bit of "conventional wisdom" floating around that VMware maybe wasn't that big in Europe, or that our partners wouldn't be that interested, or -- if there was any interest -- it certainly would be the largest partners.
Wrong, wrong and wrong. I guess that's one of the reasons you do these sessions -- mostly to prove what you think you know isn't so.
Helping our partners help their customers get to virtualization successfully was the #1 topic at the session.
Generally speaking, it was a very positive and enthusiastic gathering. Of course, it didn't hurt that -- generally speaking -- most of our partners are seeing their business grow dramatically with EMC, which tends to put a positive spin on most people.
I know EMC got a lot out of this session, and I think our partners did as well.
And, if any of you are reading this, thanks from myself and EMC for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.
Trust me, we're listening.
The rest of the week I was having "cloud" discussions with a few very interesting partners.
I've started to see that many players in the industry are realizing that a fundamental shift in the IT industry is underway, and -- with EMC's recent announcements -- they're interested in what we're doing, and how we see things unfolding.
The pace is picking up, though.
I think I'll be having many more "cloud" discussions in the near future.
But something interesting stood out -- most of the discussions were about business strategies, and not technology per se. Sure, the technology infrastructure is a key concern for any cloud model. But, at the same time, anyone considering delivering cloud services to others is taking even more time to debate their business models.
And, when you have several of these discussions back-to-back, the technology discussion tends to be roughly similar, but the business model discussion is very individualized as -- of course -- everyone's business is different.
No recap of a European trip would be complete without some commentary on exchange rates. The impact of these exchange rates really don't hit you until you go out and try and buy something ordinary.
Last night in the hotel, I enjoyed a $35 cheeseburger, which of course needed a $12 beer to wash it down. This morning, it was a visit to the local Starbucks, and the experience of shelling out the equivalent of $10 for a fancy cup of coffee can be breathtaking as well.
Any currency shift has pros and cons for all involved on both sides. One nice side effect is that -- for most of the world -- US technology is pretty much "on sale" as it's denominated in US dollars. If something cost 1,000 euros last year, and the same kind of thing now costs 600 euros, well, that's a pretty good deal if you're a euro-based company. I'm sure it's helping EMC's business to some extent.
Remembering back to all my macroeconomic classes, I tend to believe that currency exchange rates move for good reasons. Just as we're a bit shocked now with $1.50 to the euro, we'd be just as shocked (for different reasons) if the opposite was true.
What I really enjoy about these trips is being exposed to perspectives that I can't easily find in the US.
Europeans, in general, tend to have a different take on things than most Americans. And they back up their views with some pretty compelling logic.
So, as I find my way back to the US, I'm tired, and -- of course -- looking forward to going home. But, at the same time, I've got a lot to think about in the next few weeks ... and a lot to catch up on!