No Doubt, IBM Insight Will Be Exciting Underneath It All

Please forgive me if I’m a little extra excited about IBM Insight next week.
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Last year when I attended IBM Information on Demand (IOD) 2013, the predecessor to this year’s re-christened IBM Insight, IBM had just named us a Global Training Provider. IBM IOD was the first IBM conference I attended after that announcement. I soon found IBMers are very social media savvy. I thought only Cisco Live! and VMworld attendees were that active. I had found my people!

IBM IOD was a great show, and I’ve been looking forward to the revamped IBM Insight ever since. I guess it doesn’t hurt that No Doubt and Gwen Stefani are performing as well! But there’s so much more going on.

Stop Hunger Now
IBM has teamed up with international hunger-relief nonprofit Stop Hunger Now to package an ambitious, if not amazing, goal of more than 125,000 meals during the show to help feed malnourished schoolchildren in developing nations. To volunteer, visit the Stop Hunger Now website to sign up for one of 52 half-hour shifts available during the week to package meals. I want to do my part.

IBM Big Data and Analytics App Throwdown
Don’t you just love the sound of it? The IBM Big Data and Analytics App Throwdown is a challenge for developers and startups to demonstrate their solutions utilizing the IBM Big Data and Analytics portfolio. There was quite a buzz on Twitter this week about the four finalists: Findability Sciences, Qumu, Mer and Verint. The company that gets the most tweets wins. I love social democracy in action. Follow the challenge all week on Twitter at #IBMInsightApp.

InsightGO with Veronica Belmont
So I’m trying not to geek out or go all fanboy crazy over the fact that IBM has chosen Veronica Belmont to host InsightGO. You folks not able to attend the show couldn’t ask for a better host for the virtual feed.

When your twitter handle is simply @Veronica, you’re going to get my attention. It doesn’t hurt that she also has just under 1.7 million Twitter followers. Plus, she hosted BBC America’s “Doctor Who 50th Anniversary” show and is co-host of “Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers.”

Described as the “girl who eats tech for breakfast,” Veronica is an avid gamer, social-networking fanatic and writer based out of San Francisco. Veronica interned at CNET, and her mom used to be vice president of Coleco, maker of the ColecoVision gaming console. Also, her husband is former Engadget editor Ryan Block.

During IBM Insight, Veronica will be taking viewers from the floor of the Solution Center to behind the scenes with breaking news, product demos, moderated chats and live interviews with thought leaders and influencers. To say the least, Veronica is my kind of woman. I just hope if I see her close up, she’ll be cool posing for a selfie.

Don’t Forget the Keynotes
I love a good keynote. IBM Insight really stacked the deck when it assembled this outstanding set of keynote speakers with Travelocity founder Terry Jones, Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara, actor Kevin Spacey, and Captain Richard Phillips. Yes, that Captain Phillips.

On Monday morning, former Mythbusters host Grant Imahara kicks things off with his keynote “Bust Common Myths and Unlock Your Information Potential.” I like where he’s going with this. After all, Imahara is the guy who gave the Energizer Bunny his beat as well as worked on special effects for the Matrix and Star Wars sequels. Fans of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson will be interested to know Imahara created the show’s rude but irreverent animatronic human skeleton sidekick Geoff Peterson. While I don’t think big data is under publicized by any means, I do think it lacks understanding. Along with IBM’s General Manager of Information Management Beth Smith, Imahara will attempt to sort through big data myths and how best to evolve existing information infrastructures while taking full advantage of the immediate availability cloud computing offers.

On Tuesday morning, Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and chairman of Kayak.com, will speak during the keynote entitled “Seize This Moment – Transform Your Industry.” IBM chose well for this keynote. Jones also heads up Essential Ideas, a company he founded to help companies transition to the digital economy. With the transformative nature of big data, more and more businesses are heading back to the drawing board to successfully transform their infrastructures more efficiently with new technologies.
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IBM Insight’s last keynote of the week is on Wednesday morning. “Seize This Moment – Chart Your Journey” will wow attendees with both Spacey and Phillips. I heard Spacey speak at IBM Impact earlier this year, and then I heard him repeat some of the good stuff from his keynote on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Even if it’s the same spiel, I’m not about to miss seeing the man who brought Frank Underwood to life in the original Netflix series “House of Cards.” Spacey effortlessly related his experiences in Hollywood back to disruptive technologies, new business models and evolving platforms. The man knows how to engage an audience.
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I haven’t seen “Captain Phillips,” the film based on Captain Richard Phillips’ book, “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea,” that chronicles his experiences when Somali pirates hijacked his ship in the Indian Ocean. But any man whose experiences generate $217 million at the box office and six Academy Award nominations must be worth a listen. It almost makes you not wish it was Tom Hanks instead.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on at IBM Insight next week. I’ve seen my share of customer concerts from Train and Jon Bon Jovi to Weezer and Imagine Dragons, but I have to say I am also pretty psyched to see Gwen Stefani and No Doubt perform Tuesday night. I don’t think I could have planned a more entertaining week myself!

If you’re attending IBM Insight, stop by to see us in Booth 306 in the Solution Center at Mandalay Bay. We’re also going to be at the Hands-On Labs and Product Certification Testing sections. If you can’t make it, be sure to follow us at @GKonIBM for updates from IBM Insight 2014.

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