SFD5: Full Disclosure

To continue my tradition of attempting full disclosure of all the things that may influence my writing, here is a list of all the gifts, hospitality, and other things of value I received as a delegate at Storage Field Day 5.

I encourage you to determine how (not if, how) my opinions may be swayed by gifts. If anyone wants to send me a bottle of ’59 Grange, feel free, but it’ll end up on a page like this.


  • My airfare from MEL to SFO, return, were paid for by Tech Field Day, organisers of SFD5. I drove myself to and from MEL airport, and my company (PivotNine) paid for my parking.
  • A private car picked me up from SFO and drove me down the 101 to the San Jose Airport Hotel. Another one drove me (and @SFoskett) back to SFO. Both were paid for by Tech Field Day.

Food and Drink

  • I bought myself lunch at the hotel on the Monday I arrived. It was honestly the best club sandwich I’ve ever had. I’m as surprised as you are. Also unsweetened iced-tea is a thing that needs to happen in Melbourne, though possibly not in winter.
  • Dinner on Monday night was the delegate welcome dinner at the hotel, paid for by Tech Field Day, which was hotel buffet style out of bain-marie. Following that was #StorageBeers at the hotel bar, which was out of our own pockets, though various people bought rounds for groups, and it’s one of those things that work out in the end.
  • Breakfast on Tuesday was a bagel and cream-cheese and some of that American ‘coffee’ at the SDDC venue. I resisted the siren song of the donuts.
  • Tuesday lunch was catered as part of the event; the usual bain-marie stuff. I found out what it costs to cater these events in private conversation, and it’s not value for money. I also had a Dr Pepper mid-afternoon. It’s becoming a bit of a thing for me.
  • Drinks before dinner was out of our own pockets at the hotel bar next to the SDDC venue. Dinner on Tuesday was with the SFD5 delegates and crew at the hotel restaurant next to the SDDC venue, again paid for by Tech Field Day. Dinner was Italian themed, there was lovely antipasta plate to start, and I had a delicious angel-hair pasta main. Dessert was tiramisu, because how could I not? Yes, I was put on short rations when I got home, and the gym has been seeing a lot of me.
  • Wednesday breakfast was buffet style at the hotel. Scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon for me.
  • Wednesday lunch was supplied by PernixData: I had a sandwich and some salad, a welcome light meal. They had Dr Pepper. Yum.
  • Scale Computing gave us shot glasses (more on schwag below) and had beers, snacks and some hard liquor. I had a bottle of water, and a single shot of some local single-malt scotch, sipped gently once my mind had been overwhelmed by the detail of their expert-system. It wasn’t as good as Glenlivet (my preferred tipple) or Laphroaig.
  • Wednesday dinner was at Auto Vino, paid for by Tech Field Day. Mostly finger-food, the meatballs were tasty, though the vegetarian meatballs were odd. The goulash thing was good. I mostly got distracted talking to loads of people and didn’t eat much. I had a glass of local chardonnay, which was actually pretty good. The cabernet wasn’t to my taste, though it took me two glasses to decide for sure.
  • Thursday breakfast was supplied by EMC, a buffet selection that was quite nice. Scrambled eggs and bacon for me, with a small yoghurt and muesli thing in a shot glass. And coffee from a machine that was not too bad.
  • Thursday lunch was also supplied by EMC. Again, bain-marie buffet style with some sandwiches and salad. I had salad and a little bit of gnocchi.
  • Mid-afternoon was at Solidfire, and I had a Coke Zero (I checked the video, not a Dr Pepper as I first thought).
  • Late-afternoon was at Sandisk, and I indulged in another Dr Pepper. It’s a sickness. I also had a really tasty cookie.
  • Tech Field Day supplied some beer in the limo on the way to dinner, because the venue is alcohol-free. I had an odd lemon flavoured shandy thing (by Samuel Adams, from memory) that wasn’t awful, but I wouldn’t want a second one.
  • Thursday dinner was at a vegetarian place that both Stephen and Claire from Tech Field Day were really keen to take us to (and paid for by Tech Field Day). It was shared plates, family style, of some yummy Asian curries and soups and noodles. I eat this sort of stuff all the time at home, and putting faux-meat things into it seems pointless to me. Vegetarian food is plenty tasty all by itself when you do it right. They even fetched us some birds-eye chillies to add for those of us into extra spice. Phoummala wins for her superior rice-paper rolling ability.
  • After-dinner drinks was another bizarre beer in the limo back to the hotel. I don’t remember what it was, and I didn’t finish it. I then had a couple of margheritas in the hotel bar, paid for by Tech Field Day, partly to remove the taste of the weird beer, and partly because margheritas in The America just taste better for some reason.
  • Friday breakfast was at the hotel again, paid for by Tech Field Day.
  • Friday lunch was buffet style mexican in the hotel bar, paid for by Tech Field Day.
  • Friday dinner was at Faultline Brewing Company with a subset of SFD5 delegates. I had some lovely ribs, a large beer, and a small beer, after some initial confusion about how much 16oz is in real money. Tech Field Day once again kindly picked up the tab.


Here’s the list of trinkets and assorted giftlike things I received from the vendors during the week. I’m not sure if it’s the complete list, because I didn’t take notes at the time, and probably should have. I’ll update the list as people remind me of things I’ve forgotten.

SDDC Conference

The same little bag of stuff that everyone got, basically:

  • A bottle of water.
  • A granola bar, which I didn’t eat or bring back.
  • Some little mints in a SimpliVity branded aluminium case.
  • A GridStore branded inverted hourglass thing made of plastic and filled drops of a floaty dark liquid suspended in water. It flows upwards instead of downwards. It’s probably a metaphor.
  • There was some other glossy marketing collateral that I didn’t read.
  • A calligraphy set, as a thank you gift from GestaltIT for being on a panel. I left it behind at the hotel, but Robert Novak is kindly forwarding it on to me (at my expense).


  • None that I recall.


  • A faux-leather bound diary, about A5 size, a bit like a Moleskine. Embossed with the PernixData brand on the front.
  • A ballpoint pen with PernixData brand on it.
  • A couple of PernixData vinyl stickers.

Scale Computing

  • A flip-top sealing plastic water bottle (BPA free, apparently) with US liquid ounce gradations on it. Scale Computing branded.
  • A Scale Computing branded shot glass. It’s pretty solid and heavy.
  • A Scale Computing branded ballpoint pen.
  • A Scale Computing logo vinyl sticker.
  • An 8GB USB stick shaped like an F1 car with marketing collateral on it. I also got a 4GB one because apparently they were from a previous run and might have had old collateral on them.


  • An Executive Briefing Center/EMC branded diary, slightly bigger than A5 size, 2014 edition. Most of the pages don’t have dates on them though, so it might end up being useful.
  • An EMC branded ballpoint pen.
  • An XtremIO branded Powertrip by Powerstick.com. It’s a solar rechargable USB battery pack with the usual USB connector for recharging from mains power. 5700 mAh capacity. Could come in handy.


  • A Google Chromecast.
  • A Solidfire t-shirt, in some sort of enormous US Large size.
  • A Solidfire branded rubber band, used to keep the above t-shirt rolled up.


  • The schwag bags were labelled individually with a SanDisk branded red aluminium plate thing. On the non-brand side it says “Storage Field Day 5 Delegate, April 24, 2014, Justin Warren”. A nice touch.
  • A little USB rechargeable speaker doodad, for plugging into smartphones (or similar) with a cable from the headphone jack to give slightly better sound than the internal tinny speakers. It does actually work.
  • A Sandisk branded ‘smart wallet’ thing. It’s a silicone rubber credit card holder (for a single card) that sticks to the back of your mobile phone, apparently.
  • A SanDisk branded long-sleeve shirt with button-down collar.
  • A SanDisk Connect wireless flash drive. It came with a 32GB micro-SD card.
  • A SanDisk branded ballpoint pen with a clear swirly bit that flashes (see what I did there?) when you press a button.


  • A Veeam branded golf/polo shirt, embroidered with “Storage Field Day 5”.

Diablo Technologies

  • A Diablo Technologies branded 8GB USB stick with a little red laser pointer in the cover/connection protector bit. It has marketing collateral on it.
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  1. Pingback: SFD5: Full Disclosure

  2. Amen to ubiquitous unsweetened iced tea!

  3. That SanDisk branded red aluminium plate thing – is a luggage tag.

  4. Luggage tag! That makes sense. Handy!

  5. I immediately put the SanDisk luggage tag on my carry-on. My wife tried to claim it when she saw it on the gift bag. I guess it’s noteworthy that the schwag bag was re-usable.

  6. I stumbled upon this article from a Stephen Tweet. I’m more curious though, do you find writing these lists interesting to reflect on?

  7. I do. I’m mindful of the effects of even small amounts of corporate hospitality on my state of mind or feeling about a company’s products. Having an exhaustive list helps me to keep in mind just how much a given company may be trying to influence my opinion, and why.

    It doesn’t completely counter all the cognitive biases one is susceptible to, but it helps.

  8. Thanks for your reply. I think I’m still chuffed that you’ve taken a step back (again) to see the situation for what it is.

    Cheers to you, for an awesome article.

  9. Pingback: penguinpunk.net » Storage Field Day 6 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

  10. Pingback: penguinpunk.net » Storage Field Day 7 – (Fairly) Full Disclosure

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