After watching the Tech Field Day (TFD) events for a while, I decided to fill out the form and apply to be a delegate. With the events being based in the USA, me being based in the UK and my status not being at the power blogger level of the likes of Ethan Banks, Greg Ferro or Ivan Pepelnjak, the perceived chances of actually being selected to go were negligible to none. So how surprised was I when I received an email with an invite? You could have blown me over with a feather, so much so, the whole side of the train carriage I was sitting in at the time all heard the “whoop whoop” I decided to share!
So for any new delegates or those that want to know how it plays out, your travel, accommodation and pretty much all arrangements are taken care of by Gestalt IT and the TFD team. You just have to worry about getting to and from your chosen airport to depart and return.
The week that the event takes place in is northing short of hectic and by my experience was superbly executed by Steve Foskett and Tom Hollingsworth. You can pretty much assume the few days will absolutely crammed end to end. Not only is there a car that takes you to and from each location, you have somewhere between 5-15 minutes to get ready for each company that presents, which for me was a case of getting my MBP setup and a sound recorder with external mic. The event is covered completely a pro AV crew so there isn’t really a requirement to do this, but for my own thoughts I like to record events such as these.
Each of the sessions were interesting and they were tightly controlled by the the TFD team so the information flowed in a coherent story like manner. Each of the vendor sessions was of a two hour duration but split into chunks for the likes of YouTube and Vimeo. This meant the presenters having to remember to restart the introductions and keep control of their presentations! The result was a professional set of videos from each event with questioning from the delegate team, which in itself was something special to be a part of.
If you’re a new delegate, here are some pointers for what to pack and how to deal with the travel:
- Take a case with smart/casual clothing and some comfy wear. You don’t get much free time, but you might want to slob out.
- Take a rucksack big enough for your laptop and any devices/stuff that you want with you during each day.
- Make sure there is plenty of room in your case for the return journey. Whilst you don’t get mountains of swag, I received enough where I completely struggled for space on my return trip.
- Make as many notes in clear English as you can. Whilst I take part in these kind of sessions in the UK for my employer, you haven’t experienced being mentally bombarded until you go on an NFD event. Avoid making cryptic references and elaborate at every opportunity, you will thank me for this after.
- Prepare your loved ones, friends and employer/s for a communication blackout. This is an intense week where you need to concentrate on the matter at hand. I was extremely fortunate in this area so a personal thank you to those who read this! You know who you are.
Would I go again? You betcha (if they would have me back!). In addition to the technical side of things, it was also a great social opportunity where specifically for me, I managed to meet lots of people who I’ve only Tweeted and emailed up to this point.
To the NFD team and amazing delegates, I thank you.
p.s. I’m the guy on the far left hand side who broke continuity of the shot! Cross hands when it should have been arms down!