I have been tracking Long View Systems from Calgary since 2001.
Dave Walsh, then of Ingram Micro Canada, told me to keep an eye on Long View. Walsh said that this 30 person solution provider was doing things right during a period of time that was simply awful for the channel and the whole industry for that matter because of the tech bubble.
Doing things right is exactly what Long View has done for the past seven years. The company now has 575 employees in seven locations in Canada and the U.S. and with its first-ever I Technology event held in Calgary this past Monday they have set a new standard for channel partners.
I have attended many conferences and events in my time and I Technology for a first-ever show was a home run.
Putting on an event of any kind is a nerve racking experience. People’s anxiety levels are at an all time high. And, show organizers and staff are always fearful of holding an event that no one is interested in.
Trust me on this. I know. CDN puts on two events every year and each time the team here goes through these sets of emotions plus others. The biggest compliment I can give Long View and its show organizer Souzan Basmahjian is that they were able to floor a show. That is the toughest thing to do.
The I Technology event had great vendor booths from Net App, Google, Axia, Akorri and others. The conference keynote speakers NetApp vice-chairman Tom Mendozza, Gartner Fellow Ken McGee, and former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey were superb.
But what must not be overlooked is the attendance. In a city the size of Calgary attracting 100 people for this event would have been great. Long View managed an attendance of more than 1,100 people. That is simply off-the-charts fantastic.
To give you some perspective, the one-day VM World conference that I attended in Toronto last month had 1,500 attendees, which was also very good. But Toronto is three times the size of Calgary.
I was asked during the event by many Long View executives to compare I Technology with other events in the IT industry and I am simply unable to do it. I Technology is a special case because it comes from a channel partner. I have attended other reseller events and those have all been great, but they are almost always small gatherings and they are not that strategic in nature. They are more like seminars than conferences.
Channel partners as a whole do not put on events. In Canada I only know of two who do. The distributors do a great job of putting on strategic events. And, not that I want to blow my own horn, but CDN’s Top 100 Solution Providers and Channel Elite Awards events are on everyone’s calendar.
For a one day event, I Technology delivered a lot of value for attendees. Most of the booths had local executives that could give attendees real world examples of their technology.
Mendozza’s keynote was nothing short of spectacular.
McGee gave great insight and market analysis from a Canadian perspective. Hrudey told great stories even though he was feeling under the weather.
The VIP reception afterwards was again, top notch.
It takes dedicated, hard working people to put on a show like I Technology and it also takes the same kind of people to make a show successful. If there is anything I’ve learned from attending this event, it’s that Long View has great people who are committed to their customers, the industry, and the city of Calgary.
One of the reasons why Long View put on this show was that they wanted to get their name out in the public. I think they did this and more. Congratulations.