IBM PureFlex Anniversary – Thoughts From The Demo Guy

Exactly one year ago today…

I am in the heart of New York City participating in the biggest product launch of my career. I am back stage surrounded by video and stage production equipment of all kinds and have carved out my own ‘nest’ filled with computing equipment that I’ll be using today.

On stage are two of our leaders announcing the capabilities of PureFlex. I am responsible for the live demonstration during the announce so while I won’t be on stage today, my work will be.

From the FOH speakers I hear “Now I would like to show you the value of PureFlex”.

Here we go!

For the next four minutes we perform a technology-filled 3 person dance: the live demo appears on the stage-right jumbo-tron, the ‘behind the scenes’ animation appears on the stage-left jumbo-tron. Me? I’m playing ‘OZ’ behind the curtain. Leader #1 picks up the iPad that I’ve configured to show the demo to the world. It is connected to our SmartCloud Entry software through a private WIFI to show how easy it is to deploy new workloads into PureFlex systems. “4 clicks” he usually says. But not today. The software was design to run nicely on iPad so today he says “4 taps”.

Leader #2 talks about ‘what happens behind the scenes’ during those four taps…from image deployment with built in expertise…to optimizing resources based on workload needs and real-time performance.

I am monitoring the live demo…and running a redundant live demo on a completely separate iPad and system. AND, I’ve got a backup recording running…ready to switch to either backup instantly in case there’s a problem on stage. I’ve been gigging for years so I know that in a live situation you always need a spare guitar (or demo system) or two as backup.

In the middle of the demo I hear “Oops”. My heart stops. I am about to switch to live backup demo when I hear “Ah…there it is”. My heart is still stopped but a smile of relief appears on my face as the live demo continues to run perfectly.

Before I can breathe the demo is done. I hear applause. Our announce of PureFlex is a success! I mingle with the VIPs and enjoy a small portion of the 35 cases of vodka. The audience files out and after some souvenir pictures I help strike the set.


Today is a day to remember and has exceeded all expectations! I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

From that day to today I’ve traveled around the world (literally) and performed dozens of pressure-filled live demonstrations showing all that PureFlex offers…from SmartCloud Entry deploying multiple images across multiple hypervisors to a single PureFlex system…to showcasing our latest Flex System Manager user experience on our desktop UI and mobile app. The response? Enthusiastic applause, requests for more, and stories of how our user experience is truly having an impact on customers and partners alike.

It’s been quite a year and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

Travel Tip #237: Share The Power

An airport is really a kingdom of its own…unique in its inhabitants, food, culture, and currency.

The most valuable currency at an airport is…


Yep, the glorious 3-holed wonder that gives your devices the chance to charge before you take off in a metal tube to your world-wide destination. Sure, you can hope for a seat with power on long flights (or plan ahead with, but those are virtually nonexistent on domestic flights.

I, like most other travelers, regularly scour the airport for an open outlet…usually defeated since there are so few available…until 2 years ago when my seasoned travel buddy showed a magical currency-generating object…

The mini-power strip.


Now, with mini power strip in tow, I casually walk with my coffee looking for an outlet. When I find one, almost always fully used, I sit down, tap on the shoulder of an currency-rich member of this crazy kingdom and ask: Mind if we share the power?

“Sure!”, I usually hear back.

“Wow, what a great idea!”, I sometimes hear back.

“You must be a genius inventor!”, I never hear back.

The mini power strip not only reduces the stress of your travel, it lets others experience your resourcefulness and preparation since the mini power strip usually allows for not just you to share already-used power, but possibly one or two others nearby.

Oh, and it only adds an ounce or two to your bag.

Give it a try!

Question: What hidden gem do you bring when you travel that you find useful?

4 Ways to Kill Regret (and Enjoy an Adventure)

When it comes to traveling for business, I have two primary objectives: 1) Bring my A game for business, and 2) Find time to explore the city/country I’m in. To me, these are equally important. Even if I only have a few hours between business and the airport, I always try to find time to explore.

Why? I think this stems from my one regret I had during my year-long tour in Up With People (Cast D90 Rocks!)…

We were in our 2nd month of touring and we were performing all aross northern Italy. One afternoon in this delightful country, we gather and the cast director announced, “We just scheduled a side trip to Rome. The train leaves in 3 hours, we wont sleep much, we’ll soak in Rome for a day, and return 29 hours later…it will cost you $100. Who wants to come?”

At the time, as a 4th year college student, my instant reaction was, “$100? No way…that’s two months of utilities once I get home”.

That was 22 years ago, and I’ve never been to Rome. If I want to go now, it’ll cost a good $5000. Imagine if I could have gone back in time to whisper, “Idiot, do it now, or the next time will cost 50x more”.

Ever since, I take time to explore a city, experience the culture, even sign up for a local adventure…I may never get the chance again.

For me, here’s what I’ve learned:

Sleep When You’re Home
You may only get one chance to see that New York jazz club (The Iridium…Monday nights…get a front table and order the bread pudding), or wander through Budapest. Don’t miss out because you’re tired.Yes, you have to bring your A game for business, but you’d be surprised how energizing a walk across the Danube or hot spiced red wine outside the Louvre can be.

Explore To Purge Jetlag
When I went to Sydney, I arrived at my hotel at 8:30am after a 23 hour journey. Instead of trying to rest, I walked. All day. Until 4pm. I saw amazing things, and by 8pm, I had no problems getting to sleep and slept 12 hours!

Spend Your Own Money
I’ll never forget my NYC helicopter ride, my Eiffel tower elevator ride, nor my South African safari ride. Yes, they cost me money, but dang, were they worth it!

Get Out of the Hotel District
Many cities cater to travelers around the hotels. I hate that. I want to explore the city as the locals live it. I find a city map and make a bee-line for a local market (like Bangkok, Prague, Trieste, Singapore’s ‘little India’…) and see what the locals sell, but especially…buy and eat! (Just be careful about eating everything they do…you may not live to tell of your adventure 🙂   )

There ya go. Don’t regret missing out on an experience…it’s just outside your hotel door.

Question: How do you sneak away from work to explore your travel destination?


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