Tech Field Day Culture and Values

I am in Austin (Texas) this week to be a delegate at Tech Field Day 16, this is my fourteenth Tech Field Day (TFD) event. I want to spend a few moments talking about what I think the events are and share some of “The Rules” that we talk about for the event. My list of rules is by no means definitive. In fact, I hope to have corrections and additions to this list over time. Naturally, this post is covered by my TFD disclaimer post.

What is Tech Field Day?

At its core, TFD is a group of highly technical people talking about IT, how it works and how to use it. Some of the people work for vendors of technology, they are the sponsors and presenters. Some of the people don’t work for vendors but spend a lot of time communicating about the products, these are the delegates. Some of the people make the whole thing happen, they are the event staff. One thing to notice is that the important part is the conversation between these people in the room. TFD is not a simple presentation forum where sponsors pitch their product. It is an opportunity for discussion and questions to give an understanding that marketing materials seldom achieve.

You (we) cannot all be there

This conversation is live streamed and recorded for the benefit of people who are not in the room, but the live stream is not the purpose of the event. The vendors usually have their own videos for their product pitch, you might want to watch those first. I watch TFD videos covering products that I want to learn about, they are a great way to understand the technology of a product. You can also watch live and play along, the delegates will watch Twitter & if you ask a question on Twitter we will often ask that question in the room. Make sure to use the event hashtag so we notice the question & expect some delay as there is latency in Twitter updates and the live stream.

The Rules


  1. Don’t upset the French girl
    1. Don’t be late
    2. No pictures of the French girl
  2. Don’t be a dick
  3. Don’t turn off your mic
  4. No crunchy food or crinkly packaging during the presentation
  5. No throwing things
  6. Devices to silent
  7. The camera sees all, including your screen
  8. Ask your question, especially if you are a newbie
  9. Shut up XXX is always in order if one delegate is dominating


  1. Avoid the TFD Squirrels (distractions)
    1. Gartner Magic Quadrant after the introduction
    2. Single Pane of Glass, we already have several
    3. If you say “on-premise” you must first define the premise (you probably mean on-premises)
  2. Answer the question, now or very soon
  3. These things win
    1. Presenters who know tech
    2. Whiteboards
    3. Live demos
    4. Showing something we have never seen before
  4. Delegates already know what our problems are, get to the solution fast
  5. Delegates probably know who your competitors are, talk about your own product
  6. Talk to delegates at the social activities
  7. Words mean things, don’t misuse industry terms



© 2018, Alastair. All rights reserved.

About Alastair

I am a professional geek, working in IT Infrastructure. Mostly I help to communicate and educate around the use of current technology and the direction of future technologies.
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