IBM’s Think 2019 event was made to do just that – make you think. Unlike many vendors, whose events can be like giant market stalls, Think was more more like a visit to your old college; and that's not a pejorative, it’s a compliment.
Sure, it could get a tad calculated or even over-earnest at times, but overall it was a refreshing take – stopping and thinking...though in San Francisco last week it was advisable to undertake your contemplations inside the Moscone Center, as it poured with rain on the main mid-week days! Weather aside, the move from Vegas to San Francisco was a good one.
My colleagues Jon Oltsik, Christophe Bertrand, and I snuck out from under our umbrellas to make this summary video with commentary in the areas we cover:
Now, of course, despite everything i said, IBM remains a technology vendor and so there were announcements – “Watson Anywhere” was likely the catchiest headline, but there was plenty of AI and Hybrid Cloud too (with IBM Hyper Connect as an uber-flexible IT/Apps optimizing lynchpin and consumption-lubricant). There were also myriad reminders of the value of the mainframe too (when will we re-badge it as the first Cloud!?). But the overarching impact at Think was just as much concerned with such things as corporate responsibility, R&D - not just the big breakthrough stuff like Project Debator but the everyday local customized iterations supported by things like the IBM Garage)...and trust; surely no bad thing when you are sitting on a $50BN global services business!?
I attend myriad vendor events knowing that I will be under a barrage of PowerPoint, competing sessions, and running around - IBM was no different in a general sense; but the distinction was that all that running to sessions was often to hear about views more than news. I have to say I liked it.