How to Make an Enterprise IT Keynote “Sexy”

13 Jun How to Make an Enterprise IT Keynote “Sexy”

Currently, I am embedded with Red Hat’s communications team, helping support the company’s annual user and partner conference: Red Hat Summit.  Beyond being the absolute leader in the open source world, Red Hat also runs an incredibly effective program when it comes to interacting with not only their end users and partners, but also the technology community at large.

Perhaps the best example from Summit is CEO Jim Whitehurst’s keynote, which he gave Tuesday evening.  Coming out onstage to raucous applause and a killer soundtrack, the keynote had more in common with a concert headliner than a technology conference opener.  It wasn’t, however, the trappings that hammered home Red Hat’s influence on the tech world, but what Jim actually said.

Jim didn’t waste this stage on simply introducing a slew of new products – instead, he used this platform to hammer home how Red Hat and their partners are answering serious problems in the enterprise IT world, from cloud lock-in to fostering innovation.  There wasn’t a boring drone about technical specifications or endless slides highlighting use cases – in fact, the “slides” were barely slides at all.

But despite this almost de-emphasis on Red Hat itself, the company’s message came across strongly and with more clarity than any number-filled PowerPoint could ever do. Even if open source doesn’t relate to your industry, I would urge you to listen to Jim’s keynote for an example of just how poignant an enterprise technology keynote can be with a minimum of self-promotion.

–John Terrill

John Terrill
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