This is one of my regular disclosure posts. You can read more of them here. This one is about Spiceworks Spiceworld 2018.
This was my first Spiceworld, and it felt like a very different conference to the ones I normally go to, which are big-enterprise datacentre and cloud related, for the most part.
Spiceworld felt more like a big group of friends or extended family, a lot like the community of virtualisation people I’m part of, but broader. Spiceworks have done a great job of curating this community and making it a major part of what the company means to its customers. People really connected as people, not just sales prospects, which was refreshing.
Earnestness is the new ironic, and this bandwagon is a lot more fun.
Flights and Accommodation
Spiceworks paid for my flights (economy class on Qantas) and accommodation in Austin, TX at the brand new Fairmont hotel next to the conference centre. It’s quite fancy, though it still has some teething problems, such as the room wifi that started dropping out every ~4 minutes on my laptop, which made it hard to get work done. I ended up tethering to my mobile a lot of the time.
The Spiceworks PR firm had also set up a promo code with Lyft to pay for airport transfers, but I managed to find a weird corner case with my Lyft account as a result of changing phones and then trying to reconnect my account using a new phone-number. Everything looked like it would work until I tried to book a ride, and then I’d get a “maintenance mode” screen.
There’s no phone number you can call for support, so I had to email Lyft. They sorted it out, but by then I’d gone back to taxis and a credit card.
Always have a plan B.
I believe the PR firm will still pick up the taxi costs, but that’ll be an expenses reimbursement process that I’ll deal with when I get back home after this trip. Who doesn’t love doing expenses?
Food, Drink, Etc.
Sunday 7 October 2018
I had breakfast at the airport in the Qantas fancy lounge at MEL, as per usual.
Lunch/Dinner was on the plane, and I had fruit for breakfast at 4am or whatever ungodly hour I woke up before landing. Second breakfast was after a shower at the Qantas lounge at LAX, and then I did some work in the lounge before my flight to Austin. I ate a hearty breakfast because I’d be skipping lunch, as I flew economy to Austin.
Dinner in Austin was at the hotel bar (paid for by my company): A couple of glasses of Thirsty Planet “Thirsty Goat” amber ale, and a meat plate called _Meat We’re Making_ which was a terrine, paté, and a rillette. It was tasty enough, but I was really after a club sandwich.
Then I collapsed into bed and tried to reset into the right timezone.
Monday 8 October 2018
Monday was mostly a work day for me on PivotNine client work. I skipped breakfast in favour of a sleep-in, due to waking up every couple of hours through the night.
Lunch was a club sandwich from room-service (my company expenses) and half the side of fries they came with.
At registration late afternoon they had some cold drinks out, so I had a diet Dr Pepper. It’s a small indulgence I enjoy in the southern US states where it’s plentiful, since I don’t really drink soft drink/soda most of the time. This was probably a mistake because the caffeine, while useful for staying awake when you’re not quite in the right timezone, that late in the day means it’s likely the cause of my not wanting to go to sleep until quite late later that night. You’d think I’d have learned by now.
Dinner was half of a house-special gin martini and a selection of hastily scoffed small plate things at the pre-conference press and analyst mixer held at Swift’s Attic before I jumped on a consulting call with a client. At first I moonlighted as a door-opener and greeter in the alcove outside the front of Swift’s Attic, but then a jazz band started playing at the club downstairs and I retreated outside to huddle under an awning to stay out of the rain.
International consulting. So glamorous.
I made it back upstairs to grab another few bites before things wound up, and then a few of us continued talking at Fareground, a kind of up-market food hall. Bob Plankers bought me a beer, and Peter Tsai from Spiceworks also bought me one.
Then Bob and I caught up for a nightcap of cheese plate and beer at the front bar of the Fairmont (I had the barman’s recommended red wine instead of beer), which I paid for. It was a later-than-planned night, but I hadn’t really had a chance to talk to Bob in ages, so it was nice to catch up and just enjoy each other’s company for a while.
Tuesday 9 October 2018
Breakfast was at the conference. I stuck to coffee in an effort to combat lack of sleep. Entirely self-inflicted, and I regret nothing, because Bob is worth it.
Lunch was the conference bain-marie offerings, chicken and salad for me.
I was supposed to catch up with some local friends for dinner, but tiredness got the better of me, so I just grabbed a burger from Burger Bar on Congress (my company paid) which I ate back in my hotel room before turning in around 9pm.
Wednesday 10 October 2018
Breakfast was again at the conference, which was coffee and fresh fruit. They also had a selection of muffins and slices of icing-coated banana bread, but I’m not really a fan of cake for breakfast.
Lunch was Texas BBQ in the press room shipped in from somewhere I forget the name of. It was really quite good, and I wanted to eat a lot more of it than I did, just because it smelled so good.
Dinner was a two-part affair, with the first round on board the Scale Computing boat cruise, which I am lead to understand is a tradition at Spiceworks. I’ve known the folks at Scale for quite a few years now. I had a couple of cans of local beer and more Texas BBQ, this time from a place called It’s All Good, and everything I tried was indeed good.
Part two was at Cooper’s BBQ on Congress, and I just had a beer and some jalapeño-and-bacon mac-n-cheese, and some beans, because I was well full of BBQ. It was pretty good mac-n-cheese, though!
Thursday 11 October 2018
I grabbed a ham and cheese on kaiser roll and a coffee from the hotel coffee shop called Good Things (my company paid) and spent most of the day working on client projects.
Lunch was a sandwich from Good Things and another coffee, and back to work.
For dinner I headed over to Faregrounds again and had a beer and a couple of tacos before heading back to the hotel to finish a couple of things before bedtime.
Friday 12 October 2018
Friday morning I went to the gym, which hurt because it’d been a little while. Then I headed to the airport after checking out at 11am so I could work from the airline lounge before my flight at 5pm.
My flight to San Francisco was paid for by GitHub as part of my upcoming attendance at GitHub Universe, but I’ll cover the rest of that in my Universe-specific disclosure.
- The Spiceworks 2018 conference bag.
- A Spiceworks 2018 conference t-shirt (size S).
- A press welcome pack containing lightly jalapeño-spiced popcorn, a minibar sized bottle of Tito’s vodka, a packet of Bloody Mary mix, and a Spiceworks branded YETI thermos mug. I had to eat the popcorn because quarantine regulations wouldn’t have let me bring it back into Australia. I had one sip of the vodka before knocking over the bottle while reaching for my phone and spilling 97% of what was left all over my pile of dirty t-shirts on Thursday night. At least vodka doesn’t stain and washes out/evaporates easily.
- A PDFElement branded stress ball.