Open-Source Debate

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Open-Source Debate

What I really love about ITEXPO events is the networking opportunities and how much I can learn in a few minutes of relaxed conversations with colleagues. I had a chance to hang out with close friends and new ones in the industry last night. I got to see Mark Lyons from Vonage for example and noted he is one of the most passionate people in VoIP. He is the VP of Sales -- VAR Channel and was sharing stories of meetings he has had in China and more. If you want a good laugh , ask him about China. Vonage came up a few times at the show and the "word on the street," is that the company will have one million customers by the middle of the year. They have outgrown their NJ facility and are moving soon. Tom Boone of NETXUSA invited a group of us to dinner and I met him for the first time last night. He could win the most down-to-earth person in VoIP award.

When you get a group of passionate people from the industry together and start drinking some wine you learn a great deal about everyone's view of the market. Mark Spencer of Digium was there as was Christian Stredicke of SNOM.

It is interesting to put people from the open source community together with those in more traditional commercial businesses. You get heated and passionate discussions as the business models are so vastly different.

If there is one thing I learned it is that you don't want to debate Mark Spencer or play him in pool for that matter. He is eloquent, to the point, very knowledgeable and almost cleaned the table on a single turn last night. (Thankfully he was on my team as I think I sank one ball in two games!)

I am actually debating Mark myself today on-stage at 10:15. We'll be discussing open-source Vs. closed systems and we know who is taking which side already. Mark can distill complex technology into English rapidly and is very likable so this will be the toughest debate I have ever had.

I figure the best way to do this debate is a "Hardball" style format where we debate each point. I may open it up to the audience to see if they have some questions to ask as well. It will be a highly educational day today. We have the best speakers we have ever had at ITEXPO and many people told me last night how happy they are with the conferences. Keynotes start at 9:00 AM and I am looking forward to seeing you all there.

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