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Re: Beer and Gear surprise

  • From: Howard C. Berkowitz
  • Date: Thu Feb 22 13:59:02 2001

First, I think underwear is entirely topical to NANOG. As network operators, we provide the infrastructure, the lower layers, for that which is presented to the end user. If underwear isn't a lower layer, what is?

Second, let me speak from a personal, not an official perspective. I work for a vendor. When I've been asked, I have told the folk responsible for the exhibiting, who may or may not listen to me:

-- if you bring equipment, have it DO something. Show some interesting
interconnections, give some opportunities for people to try unusual
displays and command interfaces.
-- bring equipment for static display only if there's something
interesting about the form factor or other packaging. And yes --
I've seen vendor gear at NANOG where I did a doubletake that
you managed to fit WHAT into one rack unit?
-- trinkets can be fun, but don't push them on people and don't
let them get in the way of discussion.

An interesting point is the interaction you can have with other vendors, including direct competitors. On several occasions, I've learned about
products with promise for our OEM use. There also can be benefit to have
technical and technical sales people from competitors talking at some level --
it can waste everyone's time, including our customers, when we don't
understand what the industry is offering. While I've never had booth duty
at NANOG (and am not volunteering, although I'll continue to contribute to the program), I'd have absolutely no problem spending a bit of time with a competitor for mutual education in our product lines. Let's compete on products that actually compete with one another, and understand what the differentiators are. Let's not get swamped by counter-selling about product irrelevancies that nontechnical sales glommed onto. No vendor has a product line that has the best solution for every aspect of a customer's needs. In working for several vendors, I've built better relationships by saying we can give you an excellent overall solution, and we want to--but with what you want to do, you may want to use a competitor's products for XXX niche function.

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