Spiceworks at Interop: Then and Now

What a difference two years make!  Two years ago Spiceworks was only two years old.  While we were growing rapidly, people — IT pros and marketers alike — weren’t quite sure what to make of us.  Would we be the ‘interesting’ company that disappeared with the impending ad bust?  (For context, in May of ’08 you could just sort of feel something was amiss in the Vegas hoopla.) Could an IT pro bet his career on using our software?

In 2008, our reception was muted but encouraging.  I gave a presentation to 20 or so people marginally interested folks while they noshed away on turkey croissant sandwiches.  Our ‘booth’ consisted of a bar table, two bar stools and a plant that we borrowed from various spots around the conference floor.  Our ‘sign’ was Velcro’d to curtain at an angle.  And we borrowed power from our booth neighbors who provided it begrudgingly.

Even then I was struck by the number of Spiceworks users who went out of their way to find our booth and say hi.  Several stick out in my mind including the IT Director from the St. Louis Zoo and a couple of Network Admins from one of the Fox business units.  They all offered plenty of ‘thanks’ and ideas for what features we needed.  At the time we were at Spiceworks v2.1, our 8th release.  Our sales team of two worked the floor trying to get advertisers fired up about what Spiceworks had to offer.  (Fortunately a few bit!) We valiantly invited advertisers and IT pros to happy hour but it seemed most had plenty of other better offers.

Fast forward to Interop 2010.  It’s hard to even think of it as the same venue for Spiceworks.  I sat down for a quick pizza slice in the Mandalay Hotel conference center cafeteria and within a couple of minutes the guy at the next table says, “So, you with Spiceworks?”  Yes, the logo polo shirts are a good hint!  Turns out he is a small MSP from Australia.  The conversation continues and I find out he is just getting back into Spiceworks after trying 1.5 and he is blown away by how far Spiceworks 4.7 has come (it’s our 18th release).  After answering a few more questions he says goodbye and “Wow, this just made the whole trip worthwhile.  Thank You!”  I fired off a quick email to Spiceworks HQ saying the same.  You can never get enough of those conversations!

I didn’t really know what to expect for my 2:15 session on “Managing IT in a Hybrid On-Premise and Cloud World… for free!” but when I saw the line forming at 1:50 I figured there

IT Pros Lining Up for Spiceworks Talk on Managing the Hybrid Cloud/On-Premise World for Free

might be some interest.  We ended up packing the house with nearly 200 people for an overview of how SMBs are adopting cloud services.  I covered what we had just announced with Rackspace for hosted Rackspace Email and Exchange integration and where we are going with Spiceworks 5.0 this summer and beyond.

IT Pros at the Spiceworks Booth

The booth was a step up though still not quite up to snuff with our CeBIT (Europe’s big show) masterpiece.  That said, we had a non-stop stream of 8-10 interested IT pros at a time at our booth.  Roughly 1 in 5 was a current SpiceHead.  Interestingly, this maps perfectly to our overall market share as nearly 1 million of the world’s 5 million IT pros are registered users of Spiceworks.  As we entered Day 2 and our staff booth of 8 (marketing, development and sales all banding together) started to lose their voices we had reinforcements from a number of SpiceHeads — including some literal SpiceHeads!

SpiceHeads Show the Spiceworks Spirit at Interop 2010

Over the three days, easily 1,000 people spent time at the Spiceworks booth … and it could even been higher.  We don’t scan their badges since we don’t need to bother them afterwards with sales calls so I don’t have the exact count.  Of course that pales in comparison to the 1,300 to 1,500 we add in a single day now.  So why do we do it?  Because there is nothing that beats the one-on-one connection, comments and requests we get in person!

And the parties don’t suck either!  We threw a short get together Wednesday night at the House of Blues.

Party! SpiceHeads and Advertisers Mingle at the House of Blues

Over 110 SpiceHeads and advertisers showed up… and our tab was toast in one hour.  When we spread the word that it was a cash bar nobody complained… they just said “no worries, you’ve already done so much for us!”  After all, how do you beat free software AND free beer?!

Interop 2010 was a blast.  If this continues I can only imagine what Interop 2011 will be like.  And I just heard SpiceWorld 2010 is nearly 50% sold out already.  Sign up if you haven’t done so already.

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Posted May 20, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    How do you get to go and staff the booth? I would have gone 😦

    • Posted May 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      There were SpiceHeads who lived in Vegas or were already going to the show. Sorry, we didn’t pay for anyone to attend. Just need to get your boss to send you to Interop next year. Good news is that flights to Vegas are usually pretty cheap. Also, we’ll be hitting some more IT shows later this year in ’11 so there should be more opportunities.


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] at Interop: Then and Now Read more on the SpiceBlog […]

  2. […] Spiceworks at Interop: Then and Now – Spiceworks comparing their first attendance at Interop in 2008 with the latest one in 2010 AKPC_IDS += "1839,";Popularity: unranked [?] Share and Enjoy: […]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*

%d bloggers like this: