Home > An Ode to THWACKcamp

An Ode to THWACKcamp

It all started on October 10, 2012. This was the date of the very first THWACKcamp. In this, the inaugural piece of awesomeness, SolarWinds presented 15 30-minute sessions, showing the world how great a totally free, community-driven, virtual conference can be. Tackling subjects from the then-new bring your own device (BYOD) trend to mobile device management (MDM) and covering a preview of the upcoming version release of SolarWinds® Network Performance Monitor (NPM), THWACKcamp hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since.  Back then—and for most of the years since—I’ve been as you’ve been, glued to the screen, watching as SolarWinds staffers and expert panelists alike shared news and the benefit of their experience in tech. In 2015, I had the honor of being added to the role of THWACK® MVPs, and I’m equally proud to have retained this status every year since. This made me even more invested in SolarWinds as a company and THWACK as an entity, and I’ve done my best with what little time I have available to me to get stuck in and help the community when I can.  Anyway, enough about me—back to THWACKcamp!  Led by the Head Geeks and key personnel—such as the Queen of THWACK, @danielleh, and our very own THWAmbassador, @kmsigma—every THWACKcamp since has been entertaining and informative.  For the last THWACKcamp, I was bestowed with my greatest professional honor to date. The crazy fools crew asked me to help them with my own segment!   Now, this was by no means my first time in front of a camera. But most of the time, I’m in my element, in my home office, in front of my own cameras, and so on. But being at SolarWinds HQ in front of the same camera and crew that have shot the Head Geeks… I found it very unnerving.   I remember well the sheer terror of staring down the lens of the 4K camera. Like the Eye of Sauron, it robbed me of my usual flair, and I ended up flubbing my lines... frequently. But the crew members were all consummate professionals, helping me get over my nerves and offering me tips and advice. The patience they showed is something I’ll never forget (really guys, thanks!).  In the end, a session on Orion® Platform scalability was complete, and my tiny piece of THWACKcamp legacy was made. However, this was just the raw material. The editing hadn’t been done yet. That’s where the real magic of THWACK happens!  Led by the indomitable Rene Lego, the SolarWinds video team members are the real superheroes of THWACKcamp. They’re miracle workers at the art of editing and can make even amateur presenters look good! For example, in my session, the questions at the end weren’t put to me live by members of my audience. No—I know this may come as a shock, but these were all played by none other than our very own Kevin and were added a long time AFTER I’d gotten on the plane back to Blighty. Sure, I recorded my responses while I was there, but the way it was cut together?   <gif>chef’s kiss</gif>  During my time at SolarWinds HQ, I got to see first-hand just how much work everyone puts into THWACKcamp and just how good they all are at what they do. It really cannot be understated just how much effort goes into it. The scheduling alone is incredible. All the guest speakers must have travel and accommodation arranged. Schedules are adjusted to ensure the most can be gotten out of each visitor’s time.   In addition to filming, I spoke with the UX team. We talked about various upcoming features, and they asked me my opinion of them. I petitioned for #DarkTheme. I also participated in a recording for a TechPod episode, which was great fun. I enjoyed every minute of my time there.  All in all, I remain in awe at what SolarWinds does each and every year. The effort, the time spent, and the sheer COST of putting this together really shows why, in my view, SolarWinds is unlike any other vendor. It also reinforces why THWACK is a unique community, and though their have been attempts to emulate it, it will never be beaten.  If you haven’t signed up for THWACKcamp 2022, what are you waiting for? Next year, you might just find yourself penning your very own ode.  
Jez Marsh
Jez is the Founder of Silverback Systems Services Ltd, a U.K. business specialized in helping SolarWinds customers get the best out of their investment. A…
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