Next Week’s Cloud Computing “Unpanel” Gives the Pulpit to the People

For Xconomy’s Cloud3 Forum on the nuts and bolts of cloud computing on December 10, we’re pulling in experts from major, global cloud players like Akamai, EMC, Iron Mountain, and Microsoft, as well as up-and-coming local companies like Allurent, Cloudswitch, Litl, Sonian, and Pixily. But no matter how great the speakers, we know that listening to one talk after another can get…tedious. That’s why we’re also trying something new at Cloud3: an one-hour “unpanel” driven by you, the participants.

We hatched the idea for the unpanel, scheduled for 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., after attending successful “unconferences” in the area, such as MassTLC’s Innovation Unconference in October. At unconferences, the attendees shape the agenda, which means everyone has a chance to share their passions and air their burning questions. Our unpanel will start with a general theme: the practical realities of cloud computing, with an emphasis on the various types of cloud services available today, who’s offering them, how to use them in your business, and maybe how to grow your own cloud services company. But the specific questions will be up to the audience.

To keep the discussion moving, we’ve recruited a master facilitator, Sim Simeonov. Sim advises technology entrepreneurs and executives through his consulting firm FastIgnite and is a former partner at Polaris Venture Partners, and he knows this field inside and out. He’ll be roaming the room, Phil Donahue style, to make sure everyone with an insight or a question gets to contribute.

To ensure that people are on hand to address all the questions and ideas that come up, we’ve recruited a special group of experts we’re calling “Cloud Seeders.” Think of them as unpanelists. Their job isn’t to monopolize the conversation, but to jump in when they do have the answers, and to offer their own viewpoints on the cloud phenomenon. In addition to the company presenters who have agreed to stick around for the unpanel—including John Considine from Cloudswitch, John Chuang from Litl, Anand Rajaram from Pixily, and Greg Arnette from Sonian—our Cloud Seeder group will include:

  • David Cancel, CEO, Performable
  • Philip Jacob, Founder and CEO, Stylefeeder
  • Nitin Kapoor, Vice President of Engineering, OpenMile
  • John Landry, Founder, Lead Dog Ventures
  • Matt Stevens, Chief Technology Officer, Apparent Networks
  • Devdutt Yellurkar, Partner, Charles River Ventures

Whatever questions you have, one of these industry veterans is likely to have some helpful information. But nobody has all the answers—cloud computing is still young, and we’re all trying to figure out what it’s really good for. Indeed, that’s the whole point of the unpanel, and of the Cloud3 Forum in general. So start thinking up some questions—and if you haven’t registered for the event yet, do it now. (The saver rate expires at midnight on Monday, December 7!)

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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