If you go to tech conferences, tech demos, free seminars, etc. and they are put on by consultants or vendors (not the manufacturer), they are in it to make money. Simple as that. What do I mean? Let’s say you go to a tech briefing about updates to a security appliance that monitors your network. In that event, you are told about new updates to your product and the potential benefits the updates will provide and that you should update immediately. By leaving a few key questions unanswered, that vendor will often get first crack at those questions and potential consultant work afterwords – usually for a fee. Not all vendors do this but they are out there and it irritates the heck out of me when I sit in one of these things and listen while others get lured in. Depending on the product, consultants and vendors know for example that for a certain product/presentation that if they put on an event and they have 30 attendees, they can expect work from one of the attendees. Think about it, if there is no financial benefit for putting on the event, they wouldn’t do it. Again, simple as that. The donuts and coffee sitting in the back of the rented room aren’t free and that doesn’t include your time away from your workplace which isn’t free either despite the fact that the event is advertised as free.
So, what can you do to get your questions answered? Know what questions you want and need answered before you even attend the event. How can you do that? Read and learn as much as you can about specific items that are of interest to you or your situation and then if your questions are not covered in the presentation, ask questions! Lots of them. Vendors and consultants will gladly answer your questions during an event and if they don’t know they will often ask to take your name and email to get that question answered for you.
Again, not all vendors leave out important points to generate questions (…revenues) after the fact. Sometimes, the presentation takes on a life of it’s own and goes a different direction than the presenter intended so they don’t get to address all the points they had planned. The old catch phrase “buyer beware” applies to these types of events. Information is shared freely at the event and the cost doesn’t kick in until after the event is over when you realize what questions you should have asked.