This is a rather unusual week as far as industry events go. In fact, I can't recall any time in my 15-year career as a high tech journalist where two major conferences were taking place side by side with each other at the same time in the same conference center. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo kicks start today in one part of the Moscone Center and JavaOne starts tomorrow in another part. The closest thing to two or more major conferences being so close to each other that I can recall is when, for three week in a row, there were three major events in three separate cites. Back in 1991, Interop took place in San Jose, followed by Networld in Dallas, and then Comdex in Las Vegas. I was working for PC Week at the time and left on the Friday before Interop started and didn't return to the office until three and half weeks later. Here, at least both events are in the same place at the same time.
I'll be flipping back and forth between the two venues to catch certain highlights. I'm not the only one though. Jonathan Schwartz who will no doubt be on stage tomorrow for JavaOne's opening festivities takes the stage in the Symposium part of Symposium/ITxpo for what Gartner calls a "mastermind session." That's where Gartner's analysts look to put some industry executive on the hot seat and grill him or her with supposedly challenging questions. While some questions do yield thought provoking questions, most turn out to be softballs.