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Romi Mahajan
CMRO Quantarium, President KKM Group, Technology Investor
[email protected]

In Business and Technology, punditry and hyperbole are commonplace. We see technology fads come and go like fidget-spinners. We also see certain businesses get hyped massively only to be proven bloodless (think Theranos.) We also witness exaggeration being the taproot of media frenzies and their gold- clicks, clicks, clicks.

One such exaggeration that made the rounds in polite business company was that “digital” would replace “traditional” methods of customer connection. Physical media was going to die as were physical events. In this new-think, as long as content and “interaction” was available online, people would no longer take the time, spend the resources, or go through the “hassle” of traveling to events; in addition, organizations would no longer think of events as relevant to their growth strategies.

Well as we start 2020, we realize that such thinking turned out to be false -- events, conclaves and other “physical meets” continue to play an important role in the business landscape.

So, too, in the technology business.

Research shows that while some things have changed, other things haven’t. In the world of IT, practitioners still yearn to interact and learn from their peers. IT Professionals- at all organizational levels- seek community and content-in-context. Imbibing information alone, in an atomic fashion is de-contextualized and theoretical, while absorbing it in an interactive, peer-filled environment constitutes useful, practical education that can be applied “back at the ranch.”

Community matters. Sure, the term has been bandied about endlessly but its importance persists. Precisely because of the breakneck speed of change in technology, time to confer and fraternize with peers and even aspirants to the C-level is necessary. IT Professionals when polled refer to their normal business mien as “hair on fire” as they are forced often to lurch from reaction to reaction. Ambient time with others like them allows for empathy, idea-exchange, and ideation.

Finally, there is commerce, a core area of importance at events. Community and content are joined by this third factor as the three pillars for physical events, large and small. Here, it is not necessary for companies to transact right there and then but for the engines of economics to be stoked via conversations, camaraderie and collaboration.

As a long- time friend, attendee, and supporter of Interop, I gain great value from the event. The technical sessions bring a practitioner’s view of both success and tribulation, the panel discussion offer thought-provoking discourses on subjects surrounding IT (Data, AI, Governance, Security, Ethics), and the people arrayed are intensely interested in elevating their profession. I tend to divide my time at sessions, in private discussions with interesting interlocutors, and meeting vendors and customers. I also think of Interop as a conclave where I meet people, who I might not meet the rest of the year, but who are leaders in their own fields and, ultimately, friends.

Community, Content, and Commerce are the gifts this event give us. This year, I understand that the program is shaping up to include a healthy mix of IT, Business, and cross-over content; ultimately IT and Business are converging to a singularity and Interop is a singular part of my 2020 journey.