This is one of my regular disclosure posts. You can read more of them here.
Travel and Accommodation
I live in Melbourne, so I stayed at home and caught a cab to and from the venue each day. Cisco’s PR company sent me four Cabcharge vouchers to cover taxis to and from the conference centre each day.
Ordinarily I’d have caught public transport, but the power was out on the first day to the train line I’d normally take so going via taxi ended up being the right choice in terms of arriving in time for the opening keynote.
I had a quite interesting chat with the taxi driver on the way in that started off as about Millenials/Uber/Lyft versus taxis and public transport and ended up being about systems of structural and economic inequality. I learned a few things about the perspective of a (quite successful) veteran of the taxi industry and his perspective of the changes happening around him. I like to think that I opened his eyes a bit to why there are plenty of simple and obvious solutions to the challenges that are also wrong, and how it’s all kinda connected.
Not quite what I was expecting on day one, but good to learn nonetheless.
Food, Drink, Etc.
Wednesday 6 March 2019
I grabbed an espresso from the DXC sponsored stand on the way to the press room, and used a re-usable DXC branded cup. I assume you could probably keep the cup, but I already have a couple of reusable cups at home and no space for more mugs as it is, so I left the mug to be collected, cleaned, and reused.
I’m a bit scarred by the DXC brand, to be honest, because their ads have been on high-rotation on Qantas planes for the past year or so (along with a pearl company I won’t name). It shows that repetition/frequency works for marketing, at least for recall. I remember their tagline is Thrive On Change but I’d deliberately avoid using them for anything because I hate their ads.
This is at least partly Qantas’ fault because they show these ads before Every. Single. Movie or TV show you try to watch. Yes, even in business class. Mercifully you can still fast-forward through them, but the interface to do so isn’t as friendly as your home TV or DVR. There’s no “skip forward 30 seconds” it’s “set fast forward to +2x on each press and then try to time pressing play exactly right so you don’t have to rewind because you missed the first part of the thing you actually wanted to watch.”
As an aside, the RM Williams ads that have been on lately are quite well done, by comparison.
There was convention centre catering outside the press room with tureens of drip coffee that I only subjected myself to once. For morning tea after the keynote they had little mini-lamingtons (that were very tasty, I had exactly one) and some kind of coconut ball thing (that was not, so I didn’t finish it).
For lunch I had a chicken and mayonnaise wrap thing and a small bowl of Japanese style salad that was really good.
Pre-dinner I caught up with a mate from Pure Storage for a beer (he paid), then I caught the bus to dinner from the hotel where the out-of-town press and analysts were staying.
Dinner was at Ezard with all the press and analysts and a bunch of Cisco execs. It was very fancy. I hadn’t been to Ezard since my previous consulting company held our Christmas dinner there about a decade ago, but it’s nice to see that it’s still great.
I had a glass of champagne on arrival, and then a couple of glasses of red wine with dinner. We had a set menu of modern Asian flavours, and the PR and analyst folks at my end of the table swapped notes on great food in Hong Kong and Singapore. There were three courses with a starter of some kind of example hors d’oeuvres. I had a couple of small dumplings in a light broth for entree, and my main (they alternated) was a fillet of cod in an amazing spicy broth featuring star anise. Dessert was a sliver of chocolate mud cake. The portions aren’t large at Ezard, but they are exquisite.
Like I said, it was very fancy.
Thursday 7 March 2019
I arrived early so I bought myself a proper coffee from one of the places in the convention centre.
Breakfast was on the show floor before a press tour of the major bits Cisco wanted to show us. There was a Nespresso pod machine to make coffee, and some little plastic bowls of breakfast stuff. I had a square of some egg frittata thing and one of what I thought was fruit crumble with yoghurt but the yoghurt turned out to be cream so it was a bit more of a dessert than I had planned on for breakfast. Ah well.
Lunch was rice with a chopped vegetable salad and a chicken skewer and a chicken wrap. There were also some spinach and ricotta filled sausage-roll type pastries and they were pretty good.
Mid-afternoon there were some little party pie things that had actual steak chunks in them, so pretty fancy. I had two.
- A Cisco Live! branded backpack that I gave to my wife as a gym bag to replace her old one that had a broken strap.
- An Optus branded insulated water-bottle that my son immediately claimed. It has a press-button pop-up seal thing that he thought was fancy.
I gave out some Humans Ruin Everything stickers as well, and I have new stock of them, so if you’d like one, ask me about them when we meet somewhere. I sometimes forget I have them with me, so remind me.