Initially I was trying to figure out where to post this as I manage a few blogs. While I sometimes think of Madison and Milwaukee as an extension of Chicago – does a post about the TDS Blogger Event I attended in Madison really count as Successful In Chicago? I am going to go with yes since the parent company is headquartered here.
I was invited to attend the first TDS Blogger Event (sponsored by TDS Telecommunications Corp.). I was impressed with the way they designed the event from start to finish. We were treated like honored quests, and quite frankly, spoiled rotten. I could definitely get used to that!
We spent the day exploring the topic of The Future of the Digital Workplace. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have very deliberately created a virtual business so that I could be effective from anywhere – and I tested my technology a lot by working remotely for four months this year. And my previous corporate position allowed me to work remotely, when appropriate, so I have had that experience as well.
The event was held in the office of ROACH (formerly John Roach Projects), a terrific space, and the guy whose name is on the door is as excited by the vision of a virtual workplace as I am. John Roach said that he had been waiting 20 years for this day several times. His passion about the future of how we will work came through in his presentation, and I wish we had been able to explore that topic for more time and more deeply.
I was blown away by the fact that the CEO of TDS Telecommunications, Dave Wittwer, spent the entire day with us and was fully engaged in the presentations and discussions. In fact, all the TDS employees who attended were. And one of my takeaways was Dave’s example of great leadership. It was clear that the TDS folks liked and respected each other.
One of the main reasons we were invited was to see a presentation and demonstration of the new managedIP product, including hosted voice and data in a single network. I use a similar VoIP phone technology that is scaled down for individual users so I was already familiar with some of the benefits of that technology. Therefore, I then was able to consider the efficiencies and benefits a larger company could receive from a full-featured product.
We tend to dismiss telephone technology as a commodity. But what if it could work for and support the employees and organization? What if there weren’t big upfront capital costs for the handsets and other equipment? What if the handset provider was one of the best in the business – Polycom? Partnering with them was an excellent business decision in my opinion. I have done consulting projects at big organizations where I have literally gone from conference room to conference room looking for a Polycom speakerphone because they are head-and-shoulders better.
We also got a tour of a Tier 3 data center. This field trip definitely fed my inner geek. Not only did the place look like it should be used as a set for a Sci-Fi movie, actually seeing someone use retinal scanning technology to get into a room is way cool.
The great conversations didn’t stop at the end of the business day. We were treated to a fantastic dinner at L’Etiole. I am still thinking about my appetizer because it was one of the best things I have ever eaten. (Like I said, we bloggers were treated very well.)
Why host a blogger event? Gossip Genie thinks there is power and reach in having one. After attending, I think I agree.
It was an honor to spend the day with great bloggers, TDS senior management and employees, and Roach staff. Thank you so much for including me.