TFD9: Full Disclosure

This post catalogues the extent of the corporate largesse directed at me during TFD9, in the interests of full disclosure.

All journalism is biased, but you’re at least supposed to educate your reader about your biases so they can take them into account. You can try for objectivity, sure, but it’s unlikely. Similarly, mental biases exist, and while you can try to account for them, to compensate for them, much of it in unconscious, and “false balance” goes too far, in my opinion.

I’ve written mostly positive pieces about the companies at TFD9 because none of the companies are deliberately trying to suck or to be evil. If they fall short of the mark, it’s because running a successful business is hard, and no one gets it right 100% of the time.

All software sucks, all hardware sucks. But the point I’ve been trying to make in more recent times is that companies need to make hardware and software that is an appropriate fit to their target market. If you’re going after Windows people, making Linux compatible software is a stupid waste of time and money. Trying to be all things to all people is a fast way to go bankrupt.


  • My airfare (from Melbourne, Australia to Austin, TX, return) and accommodation were paid for by Tech Field Day. I drove myself to MEL airport and paid for sundries en-route.
  • I bought my own dinner the first evening in Austin. Technically my company did, because this was a work trip, so I have to deal with the intersection of Fringe Benefits Tax and living away from home allowances. Yay.
  • All meals while in Austin were paid for by Tech Field Day, including an extra breakfast at each end because I bumped into Stephen. Have I mentioned how generous he is? He’s super-generous. And handsome!
  • Lunch on day 1 was provided by Dell, and lunch on day 3 was courtesy of Solarwinds. Day 2 was in the hotel, so I guess that was paid for by Tech Field Day.
  • Dell provided a bunch of snacks and drinks as a buffet, and I think I had a cookie. Mostly I just drank water.
  • Solarwinds provided snacks and drinks too, so I treated myself to a Dr Pepper. Yes, I’m one of those freaks who likes Dr Pepper.
  • Drinks after dinner were our own thing, so I owe @plankers a margarita or three.


The companies gave us quite a bit of schwag, because giving people gifts works to sway opinion. It probably worked on me, though the correlation between gifts and what I wrote isn’t linear as far as I can tell.

Carting all this stuff back on an international flight can be a pain, what with baggage limits and all.

Personally, I don’t need shirts, water-bottles, or another coffee thermos. I’m a fan of stickers and buttons. Less is more.

USB sticks with your slides pre-loaded are handy for me to reference when writing things up.


  • 1 x Dell branded 8GB USB stick preloaded with slides.
  • 1 x Dell Techcenter Community button.
  • 1 x metal Texas belt buckle.


  • 1 x donut with Infinio-blue icing.


  • 1 x Veeam branded Adidas golf/polo shirt, black, with custom Tech Field Day 9 embroidering under the Veeam logo, and my twitter handle embroidered on the left sleeve. Personalisation of merch: clever.


  • 1 x screw-top spun-aluminium water-bottle with Neverfail brand on it.
  • 1 x Neverfail branded baseball cap.


  • 1 x large t-shirt (black) with some sort of Simpana slogan on the front. Too big, I’ll never wear it, but I’ll try to find something to do with it other than consign it to landfill.
  • 1 x order of the biggest donuts I’ve ever seen. I didn’t eat any lest I go into a sugar-coma and die.
  • 1 x Verbatim 4GB USB stick pre-loaded with their presentation slides.


  • 1 x (very nice) Nutanix branded Timbuk2 messenger style laptop bag, embroidered with my twitter handle. Personalisation of merch: clever.
  • 1 x Nutanix branded Nike golf/polo shirt, black.
  • 1 x BPA free hard plastic water-bottle to add to my collection of water-bottles.


  • 1 x belt custom-made in my size with the Solarwinds logo on the buckle. It’s quite subtle, so I may actually wear it with jeans if I buy some with belt loops big enough. Personalisation of merch: clever.
  • A load of Solarwinds stickers with various slogans on them.
  • 1 x Solarwinds “I have root and I’m not afraid to use it” button.
  • 1 x handkerchief, orange pattern, that the belt was wrapped in.

I think that’s everything. I may have missed one or two items (I think someone gave me a shot glass), as I should have written this post immediately after getting back while I was unpacking. Let me know if you know what they were.

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