Day 2: 5 things that blew my mind from the floor of IBM Think
Welcome to day two! Read all about my first day here.
Last night was wild; hundreds of people came through the booth when it opened at 5:00pm. Cue chaos. People were grabbing heart-shaped sunglasses by the handful, taking heart-shaped pens by the dozen; people were literally asking me for my shirt (which to be fair, is suuuuuper cute and oh-so-soft, so I get it. But it’s something that was made just for us this year—sorry!) When the whole thing wrapped up, even though I was exhausted, I realized I did have fun. But today, day two, I didn’t have any booth-duty, so I was able to wander and explore the expo hall.
There is so much to see here at Think, but there are a few things that really stood out to me! Here are my top 5.
This hanging sculpture lives above one of the main corridors connecting the Moscone South and Moscone North buildings. It’s also the very first thing I saw when I arrived at Think yesterday. I suppose it’s not technically a feature of the expo hall exactly, but this is my flippin’ blog post, and I can do what I want. I thought it was so cool how each section was individually suspended to create this entity that was both disconnected yet unified all at once. I’d love to know who designed and built it, so if anyone knows please leave a comment or tweet it at me! (@BethanyRock)
#4. Redbull Racing simulator
As we were walking back from the “IBM Z: To open source…and beyond!” session, my coworker Sarah and I came across this team. I mean, to be honest my brain went straight to “Oo, games!” and I didn’t really think beyond that when I asked to play. Turns out they create realistic simulations for racecar drivers to practice on (in?). Racing games are by far my worst genre (and I’m gonna blame my horrible score on being forced to use my left foot on the brake pedal) but it was a neat immersive experience.
#3. An honest-to-goodness mainframe
Ok, so this one will definitely seem weird to most of you, but before today I have never seen an actual mainframe in person. I work in marketing for Rocket Software, how have I NEVER seen a mainframe before?? I’ve seen plenty of photos, obviously, but up on the third floor of my office, there isn’t exactly a mainframe close by to look at and admire. Anyway, seeing all this hardware opened up finally put it in perspective.
#2. The origami installation
Now this one really caught my attention. With all the craziness and movement going on around it, this peaceful booth was an oasis. There was a table set up with origami papers and several sheets of laminated step-by-step instructions describing how to fold paper birds (doves, cranes, penguins, etc.). A nice woman stood by to help if needed. After a few clumsy minutes, I finished my blue dove and added it to this wire installation nearby.
I found this whole concept extremely romantic, if I’m being honest, and I’d love to do something similar one day. There were probably two dozen birds already clipped to the display when Sarah and I added ours to it. I think it’s awesome to see such a concrete, creative piece touched by so many different people. It made me feel connected. By the end of the week, I know it’s going to be filled.
#1. Ashley & Jared (Bachelor in Paradise)
I may be totally biased, but the last thing that really blew my mind today at Think were the guest appearances of Ashley Iaconetti and her fiancé Jared Haibon at the Rocket booth. (Quick background: they were both contestants on ABC Network’s The Bachelor but got together later on the spinoff show, Bachelor in Paradise. The big “thing” the shows do is award roses to contestants who move through the rounds.)
I’m not one for reality TV, personally, so I really couldn’t guess what the reaction of Think attendees would be to these stars stopping in. BUT, BOY, WAS IT SOMETHIN’. People were so. damn. excited. But way more importantly, Ashley and Jared were just genuinely nice people!! They connected with everyone who posed with them, even appearing in several facetime calls, recorded little videos, and spoke with every guest.
At the very end, we (the Rocket team) got our own photos taken with them, and it ended with Jared offering to take a group shot of us all! All in all, a truly fun experience. I wish them a happy future together~
But that’s all I have for now! I am so exhausted, but have booth-duty first thing tomorrow morning (stop by and say hello!) Cheers to a great second day; onward to day three! As always, keep an eye on our social media for live updates from Think.