Overbooked and Jaded in Detroit

Overbooked applies to our PROFINET one-day training event in Detroit not the flight there.  Airlines have a proprietary algorithm for predicting how many passengers will actually appear to occupy seats on their flight.  I have an unsophisticated formula to predict how many will attend our PROFINET one-day training events.  Mine is the more difficult calculation since all our seats are free.  But I got it wrong this time; more attendees appeared than I predicted.  Fortunately, we were able to add two additional rows of chairs at the back of the meeting room.  Try that on an airplane!

We had a pretty diverse group this time including many users and a few device manufacturers.  I was very happy to see a few folks from IT present in addition to the predominantly control engineer crowd.  All but one user and SI present already used a fieldbus.  (How do I know all this?  I do a quick survey at the beginning so we can tailor the presentations to the audience.)  The questions were many and varied and added to the discussion although breaking the flow a bit.

Because of all the questions, we trimmed and shortened some of the sections.  Knowing everyone already used a fieldbus, we skimmed through the “Why use a fieldbus” section very quickly.  Unfortunately, I also rushed through the PROFIsafe section and the course evaluations indicated that many attendees wanted to hear more on that topic.  There were also requests for more depth on security.  And more on diagnostics was requested.  Hopefully our upcoming webinar will fill some of that need.  It’s tough to balance all this with the couple attendees who said the class was “too long.”

One thing we cover is how competing technologies approach the problems that PROFINET solves.  One of the course evaluations pointed out that at times we were biased in our approach to the competition, “neglecting or misleading certain features.”  What can I say?  Of course we are biased; it’s unavoidable.  But (and this is a big “but”) we really strive for accuracy in these comparisons.  We research the other technologies using the organizations’ websites and published information.  We have even taken classes in the other technologies.  If someone points out a factual error, we will definitely research the issue and verify our facts.  So, if you’ve attended one of our classes and saw an error, please email me the details.  This particular course evaluator went on to say that all in all PROFINET seemed to be superior.  This is all the more reason why we want to be factual about the competition; we don’t want the comparison to detract from PROFINET’s superiority!

Jaded in this post’s title does not refer to the jade jewelry available in the markets of Beijing.  Speaking of those markets, anyone needing sales or negotiation training would be well advised to visit Beijing’s Pearl Market or Silk Market.  There are some really aggressive sales staffers there who have negotiation down to an art.  Today “jaded” refers to the tendency of those of us conducting the class to become complacent.  The correcting factors for that in Detroit were the size of the crowd certainly, but also talking to people who left at 3:30 in the morning to drive to the class.  And the occasional attendee flies in from a great distance to take advantage of these free classes.  You should take advantage of these classes, too.  We still have more coming in Richmond, New York, and Silicon Valley.  And that’s just the PROFINET ones; we have more PROFIBUS and PROFIBUS in Process coming as well.  Click here for the schedule.  (While I was in Detroit, Mike A was in London (ON) for a process class that was also well-attended.)

In Detroit we also discovered a lot of interest in the PROFINET Certified Network Engineer class we are planning for January in Detroit.  We don’t have a date yet, but watch the website for news.  (Better yet, subscribe to the RSS news feed from the website.)