• United States
IDG Enterprise Consulting Director

Network with the Beantown crowd

Mar 26, 20044 mins
Data Center

People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk. Stephen King

People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.Stephen King

Dear Vorticians,

I love that quote. It perfectly captures King, who has described himself as the “literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries.” That’s an apt metaphor, as his annual revenue rivals that of McDonald’s. I’d like to think that I’m the literary equivalent of beef Wellington, but that’s for you and history to decide.

A couple quick notes before I get into the meat of this edition. First, I’ll be hosting the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council’s annual awards ceremony next week – March 31, to be specific – in Cambridge, Mass. This is my second year emceeing this event, which is a great place to meet the best and the brightest in the Beantown networking crowd. If you’re in the neighborhood, swing by and say hello. To register, go to (more information below). I’ll attempt to be entertaining, but your enjoyment results may vary. My humor is an acquired taste that some, sadly, have never acquired. But at the very least, you can rub elbows with some very well-connected people – no pun intended.

Also, I couldn’t pass up mention of a truly amazing achievement – one that even those without a smidge of geekiness in their hearts must find fascinating. Toshiba has earned a Guinness world record for creating the smallest disk drive – a postage stamp-sized (less than an inch) drive that can store up to 4G bytes of data.

Reading about the device, which will be used eventually in cell phones and other consumer devices, got me feeling pretty darned old. I thought back to my first PC, an IBM AT clone that boasted a 20M-byte drive – pretty fancy stuff at the time. How could I possibly use all that space, I wondered?

Now, when applications gobble up a gig apiece, I can start telling kids those old-timer stories, the tech equivalent of “I walked 60 miles to school each way – all uphill.” Why, when I was your age, sonny, we had 16K modems and we’d LIKED ’em!

Here’s the link to CNN’s coverage of the Toshiba drive, if you’re inclined to read more.

Now, to the crux of this week’s discussion, which is an update on the VORTEX 2004 conference. (You, of course, have the 10/4-6 dates for VORTEX 2004 already in your calendar by now.) I wanted to fill you in on the progress that Geoffrey Moore and I are making in building the program for VORTEX. As I’ve told you earlier, VORTEX 2004 will be the forum for leading tech companies and their customers to explore the future of the enterprise IT industry.

To date, we’ve signed on very senior executives from IBM, Cisco, HP and SAP, and we’re confirming the participation of EMC, Intel, Microsoft and other major players, along with the CIOs of some of America’s top companies. We’ll be announcing our preliminary speaker list very soon.

We’ve also created an outstanding advisory board that is helping to shape this event. The advisory board includes:

* Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of

* Jeff Blumenfeld, partner, Gray Cary

* Lise Buyer, director of business optimization, Google

* Alan Cohn, partner, Washington Investment Partners

* Robert Galey, CIO, Amtrak

* Mitchell Kertzmann, partner, Hummer Winblad

* David Kirkpatrick, senior editor, Fortune magazine

* John Gantz, chief research officer, IDC

* Bill Nguyen, CEO, SEVEN

* Ron Ricci, VP, corporate positioning, Cisco

* David Swartz, CIO, George Washington University

* Alan Webber, founding editor, Fast Company

Geoff and I are scoping out the key buyers, innovators, investors and others who will help shape the discussions about the future of enterprise IT at VORTEX 2004, which will be held in Santa Barbara, CA. The response to what we’re building has been enthusiastic and encouraging. We’d love to hear your ideas on potential speakers and themes.

To find out more about VORTEX, go to To share your thoughts, drop me a note at

That’s it from this old-timer. Bye for now.