Second day in The Second City

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

I’d like to point out that Chicago “The Second City” has not been been windy at all – I’m told that it’s really only windy in the winter time. These first two conference days, my wake-up call included a brief overview of the weather. Each time it called for Thundershowers, yet there was no rain on either day save for a brief 1 hour downpour late last night.Good food from a local Chicago Deli

The conference really started to gear up on Tuesday. The booths opened, and it seemed that more people arrived. I again had breakfast at a local deli and then walked to the first session by Troy Augustine President & CEO of iNet Interactive. The future of hosted services survey Presentation by Troy was very informative and interesting. Of particular note was the growing consumer demand for hosted social networking applications. This is particularly interesting to phpFoX as we provide a way to help hosting companies support the software and reach out to those who want to differentiate, improve revenue per customer, and standardize on an integration that does not cause extra support or maintenance load. Troy also summed up the market well from the the perspective of service providers and the need gaps between providers and consumers is particularly interesting. I have signed up to receive more detailed information about the survey which I hope to digest further.

I met up with Nicole Hutzul from WebVisible and we spoke about integration opportunities with their service. I can see a great fit with new phpFoX sites who want to jump-start their member base and grow their communities rapidly from the onset. Nicole was very warm and friendly and I look forward to doing further business with WebVisible.A view from the grandballroom at the Navy Pier

(caution, the following paragraph is very long and could be very boring if I did not meet you and talk to you today. If I did meet you and you are not listed, it’s just a time constraint and is totally random)
Once the booths opened, I made great progress in meeting new people and reaching out to new contacts. In all, I have a huge stack of business cards some of whom, I’ll mention here (remember something we talked about): Kelly Kleiner of iNet Interactive, along with Troy Augustine, we talked about some new changes with iNet Interactive as well as doing some new business with phpFoX. Kelly will connect me with Eric Gilley to work on some business development. I spoke briefly with Juliet Morris from enom regarding some fits with phpFoX and Pluck. I look forward to working with enom & Pluck. I met a fellow Canadian Christopher Niedojadli of Carat Networks and was fortunate to also meet Christopher that evening at the W hotel’s Wave lounge. I hope to meet Christopher again. Dave Parish from Hivelocity stood a solid few feet taller than me, had suggested the strategic parters program with regards to a phpFoX integration. Dave or an associate had heard of phpFoX before and I look forward to working with them in the future. Tom from soholaunch has a well refined product pitch and description. I can tell that he has spent much time using and talking about his product. I hope to attend one of his product webinars and build a great integration with their product. Richard Jones, a fellow Canadian from with which I look forward to doing business with. I had a nice friendly chat with Sam Fleitman and others from Softlayer and look forward speaking with them in more in the future. Hostoptia’s Donald Bishop will be connecting me with Brookes and I see great potential with a phpFoX fit – Donald was very receptive to this potential arrangement and I look forwards to working out the details with Brookes. MarcBollinger of was quite generous in giving away a shirt, usb drive and a beer that their booth. Marc really knows his stuff well and I look forward to making great business with him after the conference. I spoke with Dan Garon of AIHSP and Press Advance about their new Association internet and hosting service providers. I like the concept and look forward to following up with Dan on the progress. Daniel Dent of OmegaSphere and Mailchannels gave me a Nerf toy gun for filling out a survey. I will definitely need to visit Mailchannels if I’m in the Vancouver area in the future.
The Grand ball room Navy Pier
There is still a stack of cards left, but I would be here all day if I tried to list them all and recount the details.

The Luncheon today was a chicken and fish buffet with some good dessets. (I usually don’t eat dessert, but this one was good) I sat down with Charles Bird and Tony Valenti of PowerDNN and we chatted at length about various hosting related topics, Omaha weather, and where we see ourselves in 5 years. I also saw Charles again throughout the day as well as at the W later that night. I look forward to keeping in touch with Charles and Tony.

I met with marketing expert Amy Armitage of Lunarpages after lunch and was glad to have done so. I look forward to chatting with Amy in the future.

I attended an interesting conference session from AWS regarding Amazon’s S3 could service. It’s an interesting platform and has potential to be very useful for a large number of resource intensive operations.

The final session of the day was a marketing talk with panelists from the Search engine Optimization and Marketing industry. My good friend Hamlet Batista showcased his Ranksense software. One of the other panelists, Guillaume Bouchard of Interactive Strategy began speaking French and I felt like I was the only one in the room who understood. I may have been the lone audience participant of his initial joke in French.
Mark Rogers of Microsoft
I had dinner at Riva on the Navy pier with Hamlet, and later that night went to the W hotel for a HostingCon themed party. I met up with the gentlemen from UbiquityHosting and had great time. We later ordered some authentic Chicago style pizza. Great experience! Thanks for the good times!

My stomach is currently rumbling so I must run and get something to eat. I hope to expand further on this day’s activities in great detail at a later time.

Magnificent Chicago

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I’m settling down after a long pleasant day in Chicago. While I visited the Sears tower yesterday, today I spent much time at the Navy Pier for HostingCon.

Chicago DeliThis morning I had a healthy meal at a local Chicago deli and then walked a few blocks to the Navy Pier. Walking the length of the Navy Pier itself is a solid 10 to 15 minute walk. If I had more time I would certainly check out the attractions or even bring the family for a vacation.

After getting my badge and swag from the registration desk, I attended the “Marketing Round Table” moderated by Brett Tabke. The information was nothing new to me but, I found the insightful angles from the panelists (all respected professionals in their field) to be of notable value. I joked with Michael Muise of Rconnection (of about the uptime track record for twitter, before running to my next destination.

I met with Rob Ninow and Chris Finken from OrangeSoda to discuss some business development topics and get warmed up to the conference itself. Who knows, maybe soon phpFoX will be a suggested offering in the OrangeSoda promotion package? ;)

I arrived late to the next session titled “How to Measure Recurring Revenue and Increase Profits by Design”. While I did not gather as much useful information as I had hoped, I think the e-onlinedata Dashboard platform has a solid potential to be an important piece of software for any business decision maker. I hope to talk directly with the speaker Marci Gagnon more in the future.

For the Conference Luncheon, I randomly met up with Rodney Giles from Eleven2 as well as a cadre of similarly minded individuals with which we talked about some challenges facing webhosts as well as various solutions and opportunities in the space. Rodney, as it turns out was on my train in from Midway Airport. I hope to talk with Rodney & friends more throughout the conference.

Mike walks through the secure zoneAfter lunch Corey and Mike from Ubiquity Hosting, brought me to their new state of the art Oak Brook IL data center. Biometrics, shiny surfaces and decorative lights really gave the center a clean, polished and futuristic appeal. I will be spending some more time with Corey and Mike this week.

The Conference networking reception was a relaxed atmosphere and very friendly all around. I met with some conference goers to talk about various web hosting related items: Richard Powell from Hostpond, Ryan M. Gyure from Fusionxhost, Martin J. Horan from ftpToday, Chris Merriman, Maha Kashani of GramTel, Rob Moore of Demo Wolf, Someone from GoDaddy’s security team, Ed Baker and Troy Augustine of iNet Interactive. (Not to mention several others which I did not record their names nor exchange cards – whom I have remembered their faces and I will see them tomorrow at their booths – I do hope the two jet lagged gentlemen from Ireland get some solid sleep for tomorrow!)

Chicago in the late afternoonI’m very happy with the conference thus far. I look forward to touring the booths tomorrow, meeting more contacts and making new acquaintances.

edit: fixed the glorious spelling error in the post title!

Going to the Windy City

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Chicago at night
I’m looking forward to meeting several contacts in Chicago. Plane leaves in about 2 hours and Melissa has me fully packed and ready in record time (as usual). If anyone wants to get in touch in Chicago, please call me at 519-496-7873 (leave a message) or email me. I look forward to an exciting time with all my contacts (new & old).

See you soon!

Quick Chicago facts:

  • Metro Population: Almost 10 Million (almost 3 million in the city proper)
  • Settled: 1770
  • Home to many supertall buildings including the Famous Sears Tower.
  • Chicago means “wild leek” (after a few rough translations. The original meaning and intention is likely lost to time)