I’ve been lucky enough to have attended NetApp Insight nearly a dozen times over the last eight years. I’ve seen the conference grow and evolve from a niche technology conference into the massive event it is today, and I can tell you that the value for me as a professional has grown every year. In particular, these last three years spent as a member of the NetApp A-Team have made Insight the most important event of the year both professionally and in the personal relationships I’ve developed while attending the conference.
From my perspective as a partner, NetApp Insight has been instrumental in helping me grow my career. Of course, the knowledge that I gain about the products and solutions I use every day is well worth the price of admission, but for me, the networking aspect of Insight is what is truly invaluable. In my current role where most of my time is spent having business conversations networking at Insight and meeting executives and business leaders from around the industry helps me hone my skills and builds confidence in my ability to translate technical information into business value. That’s something you can’t read in a book or learn in a course, you’ve got to do it in person, and Insight is the main opportunity I have to do that each year.
I understand that when some people hear networking, they generally think drinks at the bar and going out for dinner. I’m not saying this isn’t the case. I’ve had many a good conversation over a pint or two, but it’s so much more. I believe it’s the most important thing you can get out of an event like Insight.
Insight has many quality opportunities for you to meet people that you otherwise would never have had the chance to. Of course there are all the scheduled events like the Tech Elite Meet and the Customer Appreciation event, but the impromptu conversations in elevators and hallways (and yes, perhaps at the bar) are just as important.
When I first started going to Insight all those years ago, I was having conversations with people that I had previously only ever followed on social media. I got the chance to meet NetApp’s experts and the people behind the solutions I was building for my customers, with no filter or pretense, just to talk “nuts and bolts.” Over time, those conversations evolved into relationships that I carried with me outside of the conference, many of which I maintain to this day. Nowhere is that more evident than with the A-Team. We may only see each other face to face a few times a year, but we’re constantly interacting, whether it’s online in Slack, over email, or just a casual conversation or meetup when we’re in the same time zone. My friendships with A-Team members are grown and nurtured at Insight each year.
These relationships are invaluable, and I would encourage anyone that wants to get serious about their career in this industry to get out there and start meeting new people. There’s no better place to do it than at NetApp Insight.