The trackd team just wrapped up its first conference sponsorship/booth presence at this year’s FutureCon show outside of Chicago this week, and although we’re not yet sporting a two-story booth with a conference room and a jazz pianist, I think we held our own.
Some non-cliche’ (I hope), and perhaps a little controversial (so be it) observations:
- They make stuff out here. We East Coasters tend to think everyone works for pharmaceutical, telecommunications, software companies, and investment banks, and we forget that someone actually makes the widgets that surround us. We spoke with companies that make the sturdy plastic seats for our entertainment venues, magnets for Tesla door locks, baby formula, the boxes our high tech gear comes in, and the cups from which we consume our Starbucks mocha lattes.
- There’s a new IT generation emerging in the manufacturing world. We had a few conversations with young IT professionals eagerly anticipating the imminent retirement of legacy IT leadership that lived in a world where IT and security were necessary evils, chronically underfunded, and an afterthought. This new breed of young professionals see IT and security as an integral part of the company’s success and growth, and are anxious to embrace innovation.
- For better or worse, IT and cybersecurity leaders in large organizations are placing a great deal of emphasis on bureaucracy and box-checking. I don’t mean for that to sound pejorative (OK, maybe I do). We had several conversations with IT Auditors, and professionals in cybersecurity that did more “overseeing” and “checking” than practicing. I realize this approach is often driven by compliance requirements that are, in turn, dictated by customers or government agencies, and perhaps the folks doing the hard work don’t have the time to come to a show for a day, but it did make me wonder if Elvis was onto something when he wrote “a little less conversation, a little more action, please.”
- Cybersecurity is multi-faceted, and often siloed. We’re building a new patch management platform, but the majority of cybersecurity professionals we spoke with had nothing to do with what one would think is a seminal element of security (locking the doors)…not to mention one or two who wanted absolutely nothing to do with vulnerability remediation after having been there before.
- I’ve spent more than half of my life in New Jersey, and although I came to enjoy the strangely appealing acerbic directness of that culture (and miss it at times now that I’ve moved a little south), it is refreshing to spend some time in the Midwest. The polite honesty, genuine conversation and welcoming ethos is refreshing and always makes for an enjoyable couple days.
Finally, this was my first FutureCon show since before the pandemic, and it remains a top-notch operation. The structure is highly conducive to quality conversations. It strikes just the right balance between size and reach, giving everyone plenty of opportunity to hold meaningful conversations, creating new opportunities for vendors, and exposing attendees to the newest technologies and product trends. The FurtureCon team is always helpful, flexible, and a pleasure to work with.