I should qualify this by saying I’d be lying if I told you the keynotes were why I attend NetApp Insight every year. For me, it’s definitely the networking and relationship building that make Insight worth my time. Regardless of which stage of your career you’re in, it is a worthwhile experience for anybody looking to build their network in this industry. Networking aside however, I do find value in the keynotes. NetApp does a great job choosing keynote speakers that help bring everything together and show you interesting ways that people are using data—ways that you may not otherwise know about. As technologists, we spend a lot of our time in the trenches. These keynotes help give a broader perspective and show how NetApp technology is being used to do transformative things with data.
I really enjoyed last year’s keynotes, in particular, Kenneth Cukier’s presentation on data. Kenneth is the senior editor, data and digital, for The Economist, and he gave some interesting insights on how data is the new currency. We say all the time that data is the world’s most valuable resource, but hearing it from someone outside of our industry was important. NetApp has become a data management company, not just a storage company, and Kenneth’s keynote last year reinforced that NetApp is on the right track.
This year, the keynotes sound just as interesting, including one by Gerd Leonard. Gerd is the CEO of a company called TheFuturesAgency, and he’s a prolific writer and speaker on all things future. He wrote a book about a decade ago called The Future of Music, which talked about the state of the music industry at the time and the impact of digital music. He said that the future of music would depend on data “flowing like water,” and that’s exactly how NetApp views data (and, incidentally, what has happened in the music industry). The Data Fabric and the technology that NetApp has built enable customers and partners like me to move data to wherever it will provide the most value, no matter if it’s on-premises or in the cloud. The future is definitely “data-driven,” and I’m looking forward to hearing what Gerd has to say about it.
If you’re planning on attending NetApp Insight 2018 either in Las Vegas or Barcelona, make sure you build time into your schedule to attend Gerd’s keynote, along with all the other presentations that NetApp has to offer. You’ll hear from all of NetApp’s key cloud and data executives, with an inside look at what’s coming down the pipe in NetApp’s portfolio. These keynotes not only tie everything together at Insight, they are also helpful in sparking conversations with your peers at the conference and with your customers when you get home.